REPORT: Who is the modern British gamer?

Ben Parfitt
REPORT: Who is the modern British gamer?

Over half of UK adults play video games and almost a third of them have purchased a game in the last year.

That’s one of the findings in Kantar Media’s new Playing the Gaming Market report, which says that 6.5m adults, or 13 per cent of the UK’s adult population, cite playing games as one of their favourite hobbies.

Overall, gaming adults are 43 per cent more likely to be aged under 24, and 40 per cent are 35 or younger. Parents of secondary school aged children are 23 per cent more likely to be gamers than the average adult, while primary school parents are 32 per cent more likely.

47 per cent of those who game do so on their smartphone, 41 per cent on a computer, 39 per cent on a console, 36 per cent on a tablet and 12 per cent on a handheld. Almost a million adults watch esports.

A third of those who play on consoles have spent £50+ on console games in the last year, while 48 per cent of mobile players have spent nothing.

Kantar’s report breaks down the gaming audience into six types – Absolute Gamers, Console Kings, Opinionated Fans, App Store Addicts, Mobile Casuals and Low Tech Puzzlers.

Absolute Gamers account for eight per cent of UK adults and 15 per cent of all gamers. They consume all types of games in large volumes. They are 27 per cent more likely than the average gaming adult to be male, and are 90 per cent more likely to be aged between 15-24. They are also 48 per cent more likely to believe that having a technologically up to date household is important and 49 per cent more likely to believe that others seek their opinion before making purchases.

They are also twice as likely to argue that in-game ads enhance realism, 64 per cent likely to buy products from companies who sponsor exhibitions and events and 54 per cent more likely to buy products that sponsor a TV show.

Consoles Kings, on the other hand, focus more on big triple-A console titles, and are likely to have interests outside of gaming. They account for nine per cent of the UK adult population and 16 per cent of gamers.

These are the most likely to be male – 43 per cent. There’s also a 35 per cent chance they’ll be under 30. They are a third more likely to wear designer clothes and to believe their car should deliberately catch people’s attention.

Opinionated Fans have strong feelings about games but don’t spend a huge amount on them – they account for seven per cent of UK adults and 13 per cent of gamers. They are very likely (44 per cent) to be under 30 and there’s a 43 per cent chance they live in Greater London.

The report says they are almost three times more likely to argue that “real men don’t cry” and over 2.5 times more likely to agree to the statement “a woman’s place is in the home”. They are also twice as likely to feel valued by companies that send them mail and are very likely to be heavy cinemagoers.

App Store Addicts, meanwhile, are unlikely to identify with gaming culture but do spend cash on games and in-app purchases. This group accounts for nine per cent of adults and 17 per cent of gamers.

This group has the highest chance of being female – 28 per cent, and are 39 per cent more likely to be parents of primary school aged children. They are 21 per cent more likely to say they couldn’t live without the internet on their phone and are 33 per cent more likely than the average gamer to have visited the mobile site of IGN.com in the last month.

Mobile Casuals are mobile-focused and tend to play mainly free games. They account for 10 per cent of adults and 19 per cent of gamers. They are 26 per cent more likely to be female and a fifth more likely than other gamers to be aged between 55-64. They are also 28 per cent more likely to have played Mobilityware’s Solitaire in the last month.

Low Tech Puzzlers, finally, have a low interest in games, and play mainly on PC. Interestingly, they are the largest gaming segment, accounting for 11 per cent of adults and 20 per cent of gamers. They are over three times as likely to be 65+ and 22 per cent more likely to say they would not change the newspaper they read.

They are also 21 per cent more likely to pay for everything with cash and 20 per cent more likely to believe that a car’s purpose is solely to get them from A to B. They are 21 per cent more likely to think advertising is a waste of time.

“The gaming landscape has changed immeasurably over the years,” Kantar Media UK CEO Richard Poustie told MCV. “The tired stereotype of a sulky, tech-obsessed teenager in their bedroom obsessively tapping away on their console controller is well and truly defunct, with over half of adults today taking part in gaming Thus the challenge for marketers is not one of ‘how do I reach gamers?’ but rather, ‘which gamers represent the most valuable target for me?’

“Understanding how different consumer groups engage with gaming, their relative values and how they can be targeted most effectively, is key for brands seeking to exploit the opportunities offered within this burgeoning market.”

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