With Gaming on the Rise, What’s Motivating Players?

March 4, 2022

While it’s long been a part of daily life for some, video gaming has surged in the past couple of years, and has secured a place of relevance in popular culture. A recent report [download page] from dentsu provides some insight into the gaming industry today.

Video gaming has amassed popularity among every age group. Indeed, dentsu found that only 13% of adults are not gaming at all, and that a plurality of active gamers play regularly. Of those gamers, 6 in 10 (57%) say their gameplay increased in 2021, with 45% of gamers playing daily. Added to that, more than one-third (37%) believe their gameplay will increase this year. 

While people are gaming on various devices, mobile is by far the most popular. More than half (55%) of gamers play on either a mobile phone or tablet. It’s particularly popular with Gen X (64%), Baby Boomers (62%) and women (66%) gamers.

Why Are Gamers Gaming?

Gamers engage in this activity for many reasons, but it appears entertainment is the main motivator. About one-quarter (73%) play video games for stress relief or escapism – with gaming being cited for this reason by more respondents than movies and TV (55%) and social media (35%). Meanwhile, many others are gaming just to fill spare time (72%). Gaming also offers a sense of accomplishment to many players, with 73% saying they play to compete with others and have a sense of achievement. 

Additionally, playing games offers a social element for gamers, with sizable portions saying gaming allows them to be creative and express themselves (50%), belong to a community (40%) and socialize (35%) – motivations that are otherwise the realms of social media (52%, 57% and 72%, respectively).

The most popular game genre, puzzles and trivia, provides elements of all these motivations, with players saying they play these games to fill time, relieve stress, compete with others and socialize. This genre of games has a strong following among Baby Boomers, with 86% of gamers of this generation playing them.

Spending on Gaming Increases

Last year, three-quarters of gamers spent money on gaming. Many also say their spending will increase (31%) or at least stay the same (56%) in the coming years. 

As spending on video games grows among consumers, investment in games is growing among advertisers, with video game advertising spending expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2025. And, players seem open to in-game advertising. Two-thirds (66%) of gamers have positive feelings about companies or brands after interacting with them in-game, especially if the integration makes sense or unlocks benefits. 

These ads are benefiting the brands, as well. Many gamers report that they have clicked on an ad in-game, searched for a brand after seeing an in-game ad, and/or interacted with branded integrated content. Furthermore, 4 in 10 (44%) say they have purchased from a brand after seeing or interacting with it in-game.

Read the full report here

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,000 US ages 18 and older.

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