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Almost two thirds of UK adults turned to gaming during lockdown, says Ofcom

In case the surge of interest in gaming during lockdown had still somehow passed you by, Ofcom has revealed that almost two thirds of adults in the UK turned to gaming during the pandemic.

That comes from Ofcom’s latest Online Nation report, which reveals that 62% of adults overall, and 92% of 16 to 24 year olds said that they played games on an electronic device, and over half of all gamers said that games helped them through the pandemic. However, only 30% of the over 64s said that they played games during lockdown.

Also, Ofcom cites research from Opinium, which shows that that the overall UK gaming population increased by 63% during the spring 2020 lockdown.

Consoles and PC games were being widely played among young adults in particular, though unsurprisingly mobile games were the most commonly played across all age groups – including 39% of all UK adults.

Gaming was an equally popular pastime for both men and women, though Ofcom notes that mobile gaming was more popular among women (43% of women) while PC and console gaming was more popular with men (29%/32% of males respectively).

Playing online games was also more popular with young people, and with male gamers, with 67% of 16-24 year olds saying they played games online against other people. 37% of men played games competitively online, compared to 27% of women.

Half of all 16-64 year old gamers surveyed by Ampere in Q2 2021 either agreed or agreed strongly with the statement “I only play free-to-play games.” Just over a third of gamers had spent any money on in-game items or battle passes in the 30 days before the survey.

The report points to Among Us in particular as driving this success, with over 11 million downloads in the UK in the last four months of 2020, with a quarter of a billion downloads globally in 2020. Among Us was the e top-reaching games app among UK adults, more than half of whom (1.2 million) were aged 18-24.

PlayStation Plus meanwhile was the gaming subscription in the UK, with 3 million subscribers by the end of 2020. Xbox Live Gold meanwhile had 1.9 million, Game Pass had 1.7 million (all versions) and Nintendo Switch Online had 1.3 million.

Online gaming revenue grew 11%% overall year-on-year in the UK, to £4.6 billion. 46% of all online gaming revenues were generated by mobile and tablet games, followed by console (32%) and PC (22%).


About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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