There’s no denying the ever-growing interest in gaming in the UK. In 2016, the industry was worth a record £4.33 billion – a notable 1.2% growth from 2015. What’s more, the industry is estimated to grow by a massive 7.8% by the end of 2017.
With no question about the enduring popularity of gaming, Currys PC World took a closer look into the UK gaming scene. Using the YouGov Profiles tool, which gathers data on over 330,000 GB citizens, Google Trends data and a Twitter scrape, the retailer discovered some fascinating insights into the UK gaming industry.
Here are three of the biggest trends shaping the world of gaming in the UK.
- Female dominance is on the rise
Female gamers have had to contend with an inherent industry bias and controversies such as #GamerGate. It’s enough to discourage even the most dedicated of fans, but the determined demographic hasn’t been so easily swayed. Annual trends data shows female gamers continuing to dominate 33% of all tweets about gaming in the UK. While not quite at the 50:50 mark, the numbers have remained encouragingly steady over the past three years.
Data from YouGov also revealed an emerging demographic of older women that play on smartphones, tablets and Windows-based PCs. Discover more about this surprising subset of gamers, their favourite games and personality traits with the gamer profiles created by Currys PC World.
While these older gamers are passionate about gaming, it’s younger female gamers that are more prolific on social media and are driving the strong Twitter presence.
- Gaming is good for you
Squashing the myth that gamers are couch potatoes, the older gamers mentioned above are increasingly citing health benefits as one of the reasons they play games. This has been backed by a 2017 meta-analysis that looked into a number of studies about the benefits of gaming. The meta-analysis found that video games can improve memory, focus and attention, as well as increase spatial awareness and navigational skills.
Twitter reveals another possible benefit of gaming. A sentiment analysis of posts on the site found that gaming could be responsible for creating more positive, empathetic and happy people. The Twitter activity of avid gamers showed that users are overwhelmingly positive on the site, with only 19% of tweets having a negative tone.
- Retro returns in Mario Kart and Pac-Man
Pac-Man and Mario Kart are two games that have stood the test of time. In fact, Mario Kart’s biggest present-day audience weren’t even born when it was first released in 1992. The game’s largest user base on Twitter are aged 17 and below (34%), as young players newly discover the joys of the retro go-kart-style racing game 25 years after its first release.
Released in 1980, Pac-Man has the second highest number of Google searches out of the ten games, with 246,000* searches per month. Created specifically to cater to female gamers, it also has the third highest percentage of female tweeters.
With the gaming industry continuing to grow, we’re bound to see further diversity, more encouraging comebacks and increased evidence of benefits among both newbie gamers and hardcore fans.