Play on: Top trends shaping the UK gaming industry
Explore grandma gamers, tech-loving players and other top trends within the UK gaming industry.
The gaming industry has long been dominated by the idea that gaming is for boys.
According to journalist Tracey Lien, the video game crash of 1983 saw an industry that was once gender-neutral desperately try to find a safe and reliable market for their products.
They chose ‘the young male’, and female gamers were suddenly pushed into the background. Fortunately, female gamers are making a resurgence. A recent study estimates that women will be responsible for a third of all spending on video games and accessories in the next year – equivalent to £1.1 billion.
We wanted to find out more about the gaming scene in the UK today. Using data from Twitter and YouGov, we’ve uncovered fascinating insights into two major types of gamers in the UK, including their age, background, strengths and weaknesses, and favourite tech.
The female gamer stands strong
Since female gamers are gaining more prominence within the industry, we decided to look into this target group in more detail. This character card shows one of the most prominent types of female gamers.
Our YouGov research shows that older women over the age of 55 are a key demographic of female gamers. While this demographic enjoys using a Windows-based PC for desktop games, they are also likely to play on a smartphone or tablet.
This follows a general industry trend that has seen smartphone gaming move into the same realm as console or desktop games. Today’s players, like Nini the Gran’Master, love to play retro games like The Sims and Crash Bandicoot on their smartphones.
We also found that female gamers, particularly younger players, are ever-present on social media such as Twitter. Minecraft, which boasts a 38% female audience, did impressively well on Twitter when compared to the ten all-time most popular games. It had the third highest number of tweets (2.5 million) and the second-highest number of Twitter impressions (13.5 billion) over the past three years. The top game on Twitter? Fighting tournament game Tekken was the most tweeted game of 2017 with 1.9 million tweets.
The health benefits of gaming
Our research found that older people gain many health benefits from taking up gaming. As well as being a fun way to spend time with the grandkids, gaming can help with memory formation, reasoning skills and navigation, and even help reduce the risk of dementia.
Gaming can be beneficial across all age groups and genders. Our research also looked into gamers across all genres, including first-person shooter games, sports-based games and fantasy games. We found that these combined gamers have a more positive outlook on life, which comes through in their tweets. A sentiment analysis of Twitter showed that over 80% of all Tweets about gaming were positive or optimistic. Here’s a profile of this combined gamer.
We found that the typical gamer, like Zack the Compugent, is most likely to be between 18 and 44 years old (representing 62% of the overall userbase). This vast demographic prefers playing Nintendo, and enjoy games such as Fallout 4 and Grand Theft Auto IV.
They also have a major passion for tech, great processing speed and mechanical intelligence, and finely-honed hand-eye coordination.
How we collected our data
Our Twitter data was based on a list of the ten most popular video games, curated using a variety of sources. We added in keywords relating to seasons, themes and events, and ran a Twitter search for all languages and all regions from 1st January 2014 to 31st September 2017.
We also used the YouGov Profiles tool to explore the personalities of British gamers. YouGov Profiles contains data on 330,000 GB citizens to provide information that is statistically representative of the whole population.