About a year since the first major lockdowns in India, Indians are hooked to the screens, be it for binge-watching shows or for playing video games. A new report by Limelight’s State of Online Gaming shows that gamers across the world spent 8 hours 27 minutes playing games each week on average. For Indian gamers, that number stood at 8 hours 36 minutes.
The reason for gaming uptimes across the world in the pandemic-struck year is pretty obvious. Gamers new and old likely took to their favourite titles as well as new ones while being stuck at home. This can also be attributed to the rising popularity of online multiplayer/social games that became increasingly popular over the last few years.
The report adds that consumers playing time went up by 14 percent during the pandemic compared to the year before.
The report also suggests that many people found new connections via online gaming. Data shows that about 53 per cent of gamers said they made new friends online through gaming in the past year. About 36 percent of gamers also called the ability to interact with other players during gaming extremely important.
Rise of ‘binge gaming’ and new gamers
Binge gaming has emerged as a phenomenon, with over 60 percent of Indian gamers reportedly having spent over 3 hours consecutively playing games. From 2020 to 2021, the average for binge gaming in India has increased from 4.1 hours to 5.5 hours. The change is being attributed to the people staying home for longer during the pandemic.
The report also stated that binge-gaming reached an all-time high during the pandemic. The average gamer has played video games consecutively for five hours and six minutes, which is a 13 percent increase from last year. Further, young gamers ages 18 to 25 have binge-gamed for the longest at an average of nearly six hours. In India, gamers who spend anywhere between 5 to 15 hours binge-gaming account for a whopping 54 percent of gamers.
The report also suggests that the lack of social engagement through the pandemic also provided an opportunity for more people to get into gaming. About 64 percent of global gamers reportedly said they started playing video games in the past year.
Demand for faster speeds and next-gen consoles
The report also stated that gamers demanded faster performance. Better performance was extremely important to 47 percent of gamers. Further, over 94 percent of Indian gamers said the process of downloading games was frustrating.
Need for better performance also translated into more demand for next-gen consoles. About 74 percent of gamers were interested in purchasing a new console. 32 percent of these gamers wanted a new console wanted one for the updated hardware while 31 percent wanted faster gameplay.
Gaming now a popular spectator sport and the top entertainment choice
The Limelight report also states that over half (56 percent) of global gamers said they’ve started watching others play video games in the past year. The average gamer now reportedly spends two hours and 48 minutes each week watching others play video games online. Meanwhile, gamers in India spend the most time of any country surveyed, at five hours and 24 minutes on average every week.
Playing video games is now also the top entertainment choice for many people, suggests the report. Three in five (62 percent) gamers said they preferred playing video games over watching a movie or TV show. India leads the chart in this case, with over 75 percent preferring to play games over watching/streaming shows and movies on a TV or OTT platform.
Note that the “State of Online Gaming 2021” report is based on responses from 4,000 consumers in China, Germany, India, Indonesia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam, ages 18 and older who play video games.