The Appinio Hype Train has entered the game: exploring the UK gaming industry
The gaming industry has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a simple pastime for children and young adults.
Today, it has evolved into a massive industry that generates billions of pounds in revenue each year.
With the advent of advanced technology and the internet, the gaming industry has expanded to include a wide range of platforms, from consoles and PCs to mobile devices and virtual reality headsets.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the UK gaming industry and explore some of the latest trends and developments in the field thanks to the data collected in the Appinio Hype Train Report.
As part of our research, we surveyed a sample of 1000 UK respondents, aged between 16 and 65 years old16- and 65 years-old, asking about about their gaming habits, gaming spendings, esports and testing we tested their awareness of the newest gaming trends.
We'll dive into some interesting gaming statistics that shed light on the current state of gaming in the UK, and explore what the future might hold for this dynamic and exciting industry.
So sit back, grab your controller, and let's delve into the world of gaming!
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Overview of the UK gaming industry
Gaming, or video gaming, refers to the practice of playing electronic games on various platforms such as consoles, computers, or mobile devices. People who play video games are called gamers.
It involves engaging with a game's rules and objectives, often in a competitive or immersive context, to achieve a particular goal or level of success within the game.
Gaming can take many forms, including single-player or multiplayer, casual or professional, and may include various genres such as action, adventure, role-playing, sports, and more.
Overall, gaming has become a significant form of entertainment and cultural activity enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds and it has become a massive industry encompassing a wide range of gaming-related activities, including game development, hardware manufacturing, and esports.
In the UK alone, the gaming industry was estimated to be worth £4.7bn in 2022, with millions of gamers across the country.
The rise of mobile gaming has made games more accessible than ever, and the development of virtual reality technology promises to revolutionise the way we play games in the future.
The projected revenue in the video games segment in the UK is estimated to reach £6.83bn in 2023 and is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 4.43%, resulting in a projected market volume of £8.12bn by 2027.
Importance of gaming in today's culture
Gaming has become an essential aspect of modern culture, offering a form of entertainment that engages millions of people worldwide.
The industry has become a cultural phenomenon, influencing music, movies, and television shows (e.g. “Arcane”, “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” or “The Last of Us”), and inspiring countless fans to pursue careers in game development and design or become esports athletes (parents all over the world, brace yourselves!).
Playing video games should not be seen as a simple (and sometimes useless) hobby, but instead, taps directly into those very human needs to play, explore, and engage in creative expression.
Games offer a unique platform for people to experiment with different personas, from heroes and villains to sports stars and celebrities.
They shape how people speak and think, influencing everything from slang and idioms to the evolution of meme culture.
The gamer aesthetic or gamercore has also become a distinct cultural phenomenon, with fashion, music, and art inspired by gaming and its associated subcultures - think of a bedroom lit only by blue and pink neon lights, multiple screens and this headset.
Gaming has even impacted the way we communicate
Gamers have developed their own language and jargon to describe game mechanics and strategies. These expressions made their way into common language.
How many times have we used the expression “levelling up” to mean in improving or advancing?
Moreover, gaming has become an essential social activity, bringing people together from all walks of life to collaborate, compete, and socialise. Online gaming communities provide a sense of belonging and camaraderie, connecting players from around the world in shared experiences.
In recent years, gaming has also been shown to have cognitive, motivational, emotional and social benefits.
As the gaming industry continues to evolve, it is likely to have an even more significant impact on culture and society, shaping the way we interact, learn and express ourselves.
“I am not a player, I am a gamer”:
the British gamer profile
According to the Appinio Hype Train Report, the majority (89%) of Brits play games at least occasionally.
But who are these people who play video games?
Let’s start with the basics.
A gamer is a person who regularly plays video games as a hobby or profession.
They can play games on various platforms, including consoles, computers, and mobile devices.
Gamers can range from casual players who enjoy playing games in their free time to competitive players who participate in organised tournaments and events.
Stereotypes and uninformed assumptions have created a particular image of gamers:
- They are predominantly male
- They are young
- They are lazy and have nothing better to do
However, the Appinio Hype Train Report paints a different picture:
There are no significant differences between men and women, both have an equal likelihood to play video games.
Naturally, Gen Z and Millennials are the biggest players at 96%, but surprisingly 96% of 35-44 years-olds are also heavily invested in gaming.
Moreover, 89% of 45-54 years-olds play video games, and even 68% of Boomers do so.
Students are the most likely to play video games at 96%, but so are self-employed Brits (96%), part-time workers (92%) and full-time employees (90%).
The Appinio Hype Train Report has even more interesting data on the typical UK gamer profile: UK respondents with children are more likely than those without kids to play video games (92% vs. 84%).
So, what video games do British gamers play?
Puzzles and party games are the most play by Brits (43%), followed by action-adventure games (34%) and simulation games (32%).
Puzzle and party games seem to be more popular with Baby Boomers (62%), while action-adventure games are more popular among Gen Z (46%).
“Eat. Sleep. Game. Repeat.”:
how much do Brits play?
Gaming has become an integral part of the daily routine for many Brits, with nearly half of all UK gamers playing games almost every single day.
According to the Appinio Hype Train report, 45% of Brits are frequent gamers, with over half of 35-44 year-olds playing games daily (54%).
With such a high proportion of the population indulging in gaming on a regular basis, it's clear that the gaming industry is a significant part of UK culture and entertainment.
From casual mobile games to immersive console experiences, there's a game for everyone, and it's no wonder that so many people are drawn to the world of gaming.
“The gaming zone”: where do Brits play?
When it comes to gaming, Brits have a wide range of platforms to choose from each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses.
At the high end of the spectrum are gaming PCs, which offer unparalleled performance and graphics capabilities.
However, PCs can be expensive and require regular upgrades to keep up with the latest games.
On the other hand, consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox are a popular choice for gamers who want a more streamlined and accessible gaming experience. Console games are typically optimised for the specific hardware of the console, which can lead to smoother performance and more immersive gameplay.
But, consoles are also more limited in terms of customisation and hardware upgrades.
Another popular option for gaming is mobile devices, which offer a convenient and portable way to play games on the go. Mobile games are often free or low-cost, and can be downloaded and played instantly.
However, mobile games are typically simpler and less graphically intensive than their PC and console counterparts.
Additionally, the touch screen controls can be less precise and immersive than a physical controller or mouse and keyboard.
According to the recent Appinio data, the majority of UK gamers (66%) prefer to play games on their smartphones, making mobile gaming the most popular option in the country. Data also shows that the older the gamers, the more likely they are to be playing on a smartphone.
In second place is the PlayStation, with 39% of gamers using this console to play their favourite titles.
Men are substantially more likely to be playing on a PlayStation than women (48% vs. 29%).
Furthermore, gamers with kids are more likely to play video games on this device than gamers without kids (42% vs. 31%).
And with the rise of online gaming and esports, it's no surprise that PC and laptops are also popular choices, with 34% of Brits using these devices to play games.
Again, men are almost twice as likely as women to be playing on a PC, 44% vs. 23%.
Whether they're on the go or at home, there's always a way to get their gaming fix, and with so many platforms to choose from, gamers in the UK are spoilt for choice.
“You can’t pause online multiplayer”: Streamers and Gaming Communities
The gaming community has experienced a surge in popularity thanks to the rise of online gaming and the emergence of gaming streamers.
Gamers can now connect with other players from around the world and discuss their favourite games and strategies, while also following their favourite streamers on social media.
Gaming streamers have become key players in the gaming community, providing valuable insights and entertainment through their gameplay and commentary.
A gaming streamer is a content creator who broadcasts their video gameplay live via streaming platforms such as Twitch or YouTube.
Gaming streamers typically have a large following of fans who enjoy watching them play their favourite games, and often engage with their viewers through chat or other interactive features. They may also create pre-recorded video content and share it on their own channels or social media platforms.
Gaming streamers can be professional or amateur players, and some have even built successful careers as influencers or esports athletes.
They have the ability to steer the gaming community, influencing which games are popular and shaping the discourse around them.
The Appinio Hype Train Report reveals that 37% of British gamers follow a gaming streamer.
Men are more likely than women to follow a streamer, 42% vs. 31%.
Unsurprisingly, the younger the respondents, the more likely they are to be following streamers only, with Millennials being at the forefront, with more than one in two (55%) following gaming personalities online.
Furthermore, the majority of UK gamers (68%) follow streamers mostly on YouTube, then on Instagram (50%), and thirdly on Twitch (49%).
Some of the most mentioned gaming streamers by British gamers are:
- Mr. Beast (2%)
Whether it's through YouTube or Twitch, these platforms provide a space for gamers to come together and share their love for gaming.
The Appinio Hype Train Report reveals that one in three (33%) British gamers are part of a gaming community online.
Men are more likely than women to be part of a community (39% vs. 27%).
Unsurprisingly, younger age brackets are more likely to be part of a gaming online community, with Millennials being the most likely to do so at 48%.
These online communities provide a sense of belonging and friendship for gamers who might not have had access to such connections before, making gaming not only an enjoyable pastime but also a way to socialise and build relationships.
Brits’ gaming spending
With so many different platforms and games to choose from, it's no surprise that gamers are willing to spend a significant amount of money on their hobby.
In this section, we'll take a closer look at gaming spending in the UK, exploring how much money gamers are spending, where they're spending it, and what they're spending it on.
The majority of Brits' gaming budget goes into video games, with two thirds spending less than £200 in video games in the last 6 months and 14% spending more than £200.
The percentage spent on gaming set-ups, micro-transactions and merchandise is lower but still significant, with
58% spend less than £200 on set-ups,
53% spend the same amount on in-game purchases and
52% dedicate that budget to gaming-related merchandise.
In line with other data reported throughout the Appinio Hype Train report, respondents with kids are more likely than respondents without kids to invest in the aforementioned categories, especially video gaming-related merchandise.
The Appinio Hype Train Report found out that over one-third of British gamers will have the same spending patterns in 2023 for all the categories mentioned above.
While around one quarter of gamers will try to spend less this year, around one in six will increase their spending on video games and all gaming-related items.
Some dreams do indeed come true: The rise of esports
Ever thought about turning your passion into your job?
This is what some gamers have accomplished!
Esports, or competitive video gaming, has exploded in popularity in recent years and has become a major industry in its own right.
The growth of esports has had a significant impact on gaming culture, with many gamers now aspiring to become professional players themselves.
Esports is a fast-growing market within the world of gaming, mainly driven by the ongoing digitalisation and rising awareness of gaming.
Although China remains the biggest market, followed by the U.S. and Germany, the market is expected to witness a strong double-digit growth.
The rise of esports has also led to the development of new gaming technology and equipment designed specifically for competitive gaming, such as high-performance gaming mice, keyboards, and monitors.
But esports is not just about playing games; it's about the competition, strategy, and spectacle.
Esports tournaments are now among the biggest and most exciting events in the gaming calendar, with top players and teams competing for massive prize pools and the glory of being crowned champions.
Popular esports games include League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, among others. These games have become global phenomena, with millions of players competing online and thousands attending live events in person.
Among British gamers, one in three (31%) has watched an esports event and 23% have even attended to a live esports event.
As mentioned above, esports is a big business, and major brands and sponsors are investing heavily in the industry. Teams and players have become household names, with many of the top players earning salaries that rival those of professional athletes.
The rise of esports has created new opportunities for players, coaches, broadcasters, and event organisers, and has led to the creation of new jobs and industries.
However, according to the Appinio Hype Train Report, less than one in three (29%) British gamers supports an esports team.
And the most followed esports teams in the UK are
Team Liquid (5%) and
Why are esports still niche?
While esports have gained significant popularity in recent years, they are still considered a relatively niche activity compared to traditional sports.
The level of awareness of esports in the UK is growing but 16% of Brits (mostly women) have never heard of them, and one in four (25%) has indeed heard of them, but doesn’t understand what they actually are.
There are many possible reasons why esports have been struggling to become more mainstream.
Video games are still seen as a solitary activity
One possible explanation for this is that video games, and by extension esports, are often seen as a solitary or individual activity, whereas traditional sports have a strong emphasis on team play and physical activity.
There may be a generational divide, with older generations not understanding or appreciating the competitive aspect of video games in the same way younger generations do.
Lack of proper exposure
Another factor could be a lack of exposure, as esports events are often not as widely covered by mainstream media compared to traditional sports.
However, despite these challenges, the esports industry continues to grow steadily, attract new fans each year and shaping gaming culture.
Newest trends in the gaming industry
Gaming technology has come a long way since the early days of simple pixelated games.
Today, we are witnessing a rapid evolution in gaming technology, with advanced devices such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and artificial intelligence (AI) being introduced into the market.
These technologies are changing the way people experience games, providing more immersive, realistic, and interactive experiences than ever before.
With the introduction of these new technologies, the gaming industry is experiencing a significant shift, with new possibilities emerging for developers and players alike.
VR is transforming the way people play games, providing an entirely new level of immersion that was previously unimaginable. Almost one in two (46%) Brits has already tried playing video games in VR.
AR is being used to enhance the gaming experience by integrating the real world into the game environment.
AI is being employed to create more intelligent and sophisticated games that can adapt to players' choices and actions.
The latest gaming tech trends are also focusing on making gaming more accessible, convenient, and seamless.
For example, cloud gaming has gained popularity as it allows players to access games instantly, without needing to download or install anything. This technology is also making cross-platform gaming possible, allowing players to enjoy their favourite games on multiple devices seamlessly.
As technology continues to advance, the gaming industry is likely to see even more exciting innovations in the future. Our Hype Train Expert, Amelia-Eve Warden, who is also a Senior PR at Samsung Europe, Gaming Esporter, and Gaming and Technology Journalist, offers valuable insights into the latest trends and developments in the industry.
With over a decade of writing about future gaming innovations, new hardware’s, products and software, Amelia-Eve has dedicated her career to working with some of the world’s biggest brands to unlock some of the world’s greatest technologies.
Mobile gaming technology, cloud-based games, and subscription-based gaming models are the clear winners among UK consumers, reflecting a growing trend towards accessibility, convenience and affordability in the UK gaming industry. As the gaming industry continues to evolve, it's exciting to see the innovation and creativity that is driving these new trends and technologies
Curious to know how the hypes performed with other groups? Check the hype tracker on the Appinio Analyzer.
In conclusion, gaming has become an integral part of modern culture, with millions of people in the UK and around the world enjoying games on various platforms every day.
From PC and console gaming to mobile gaming and the rise of esports, the industry has come a long way.
The latest gaming technology, such as virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence, is also transforming the way we play and interact with games.
With new trends and advancements on the horizon, it is clear that the UK gaming industry will continue to evolve and shape our culture for years to come.
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