The UK gaming landscape showed signs of transformation in 2023. Britons are devoting less time to video games, with the exception of young teenagers – 13-15 year olds – who spend over 11 hours a week gaming. At the same time, virtual reality is on the rise, with growing interest in VR headsets.
The year saw a slight decrease in overall time spent gaming, a trend that perhaps reflects less-restrictive post-pandemic conditions, explains the Online Nation report from the UK communications regulator, Ofcom. On average, UK gamers spent seven hours and 11 minutes per week gaming in the second quarter of 2023, compared with eight hours and 16 minutes in the same period last year.
On average, 16-24 year-olds spent seven hours and 48 minutes a week gaming, down from eight hours and 57 minutes a year earlier. In 2022, 25-34 year-olds played for eight hours and 39 minutes a week, compared with six hours and 51 minutes in 2023. Teenagers, aged 13-15, continue to spend the most time gaming, at 11 hours and 40 minutes a week.
Men are the biggest gamers, playing for an average of eight hours and 32 minutes a week, compared with five hours and 40 minutes a week for women.
While teenagers remain the most assiduous gamers, a general decline in the amount of time devoted to gaming has been observed, particularly among young adults and adults. This trend could signal a change in leisure and entertainment consumption habits in the UK.
An appetite for VR
Some 39% of UK households have at least one games console, and 23% of households have a digital-only games console, Ofcom's Online Nation study reports. There's also a certain enthusiasm for virtual reality, with 34% of gamers using VR headsets, led by PlayStation VR, highlighting an appetite for immersive, interactive experiences.
Market dynamics are reflected in gaming applications too. Candy Crush Saga remains in the lead, closely followed by newcomer Royal Match. Among children, Roblox stands out, capturing the imagination of 8-12 year-olds with its interactive and creative worlds.
More striking, however, are the demographics of the players. Detailed analysis reveals that women dominate the field of gaming apps, with 9 of the 10 most popular apps attracting a predominantly female audience. For example, 71% of visitors to Candy Crush Soda Saga in May 2023 were women, a surprising trend that defies gender stereotypes in gaming.
When it comes to subscriptions to gaming services, men seem more inclined to sign up, with 12% versus 8% for women. Young adults (age 16-34) are also more likely to have at least one subscription, reflecting a willingness to embrace new forms of gaming consumption. – AFP Relaxnews