Video games are now more popular in Australia than free TV


If it wasn’t already clear from studies of years past, Australians love video games. This was only confirmed by Bond University’s regular Digital Australia report, which found that 17 million Australians play video games in one form or another.

The figure comes from the latest Digital Australia study, conducted by Bond University every two years. The studies were conducted by Professor Jeff Brand, the Australian professor who has contextualized for over a decade not only how many Australians play video games, but when they play them and Why.

This year’s Digital Australia Report is the first comprehensive report on Australia’s gaming habits throughout the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the report focuses heavily on play as a social bond throughout the COVID crisis, with 76% of parents surveyed playing some form of video games with their children throughout. About 3,152 Australians from 1,204 households were surveyed for the report, with respondents randomly selected from the Nielsen Your Voice panel in March 2020.

But the most important figure are the macro statistics on how Australians are connected to video games. The average age of Australian video player now 35 years old, having steadily grown as the generation that grew up with the Game Boy, NES, SNES, PlayStation 1, and early PCs become adults and parents themselves. (Click on the image below to see it in full.)

About 17 million Australians play video games in a form, with 5.5 million households with at least two devices dedicated to video games. 92 percent of Australian households now own at least one device that can play video games, although given the proliferation of smartphones and Australia’s historic appetite for technology as early adopters, this is not the most surprising.

Perhaps the most interesting element, however, is the social aspect: 36% of respondents made friends through video games, while three-quarters play video games purely as a social activity. .

Another interesting nugget here is the time spent playing among working adults: it has fallen by a fraction to 82 minutes / day, a minute below what it was before the pandemic. It would have been normal to see Australians spending Following time with video games because of the pandemic, especially with other social activities prohibited during lockdown.

What is equally likely here is that both scenarios are true: Regular gamers have spent more time with video games over the past two years, but the growth in Australia’s video game population has attracted more. people who play much less on average, which would reduce the average length of sessions.

The Digital Australia 2022 report contains more detailed data on how video games are played in people’s homes and where they rank as an overall activity. According to Bond University’s metric, video games are now the second most common household activity after TV / movie streaming services, overtaking free-to-air TV, YouTube, listening to music, books, radio, podcasts or magazines.

Australia digital 2022
Image: IGEA / Bond University

Consoles also remain the most popular video game device, with 68% of households owning one and 53% of households owning a PC. 48% of households surveyed had a subscription to some form of gaming service (Game Pass, PlayStation Plus, etc.), while only 6% of households had a VR headset.

australian video games
Image: IGEA / Bond University

Video games were most popular among 15-24 year olds, followed by 5-14 year olds, 25-34 year olds, then 35-44 year olds. Interestingly, video games are becoming more and more popular among older Australians – the Bond University survey finds a decline in interest in video games among 75-84 year olds, but it goes back within the crowd of 85-94 year olds.

australia video games
Image: IGEA / Bond University

Men tend to gamble more than women (94 to 70 minutes per day), while adults of retirement age tend to gamble just over an hour a day. Children play much longer at 106 minutes per day on average, and the The average daily total play time for all Australians is 83 minutes per day. That figure has increased by two minutes since the last pre-pandemic figures, with an increase in play time among children and a slight increase in Australians at retirement age accounting for the increase.

The impact of the pandemic, naturally, has been at the center of much of Bond’s research this time around. The key figure was the friendship gained, with a third of parents turning to video games as a virtual escape or sightseeing, and 36% of those polled saying they made new friends through video games.

“A third of those who play video games said they expected to play more after the pandemic,” the report adds. The classic gamer stereotype is also debunked: only 25% of those who play video games do so on their own, without any other form of social or virtual connection.

When asked why they play video games, the majority of Australians across all demographic groups responded that it was just for fun. Australians of all ages also rated video games as a great way to keep the mind active, while younger Australians were more likely to play video games to relieve boredom or “feel the excitement.” . Surprisingly, the 35 to 64 and 65 and over age groups were more likely than young Australians to play video games to ‘be challenged’, which might be an interesting insight into what the Australian population at large expects from their video game experience.

australian video games
Image: IGEA / Bond University

Casual games are the most popular in Australia, although it is probably more accurate to say that action and adventure are the most popular genres given that casual games often incorporate elements of these two ( and usually at the same time). First-person shooters tied for 4th with online games, while simulators and RPGs were miles down the list at 9th and 10th.

australian video games
Image: IGEA / Bond University

Games are also more commonly used in school these days. 60% of parents surveyed said their children played games during part of their school curriculum, while 36% said their children developed games as part of their learning. 36% also said the games were used for extracurricular activities.

Image: IGEA / Bond University

More and more adults will now turn to YouTube and the Internet for help with playing video games as well. 68% of adult game players surveyed said they read or watch walkthroughs online, 56% watched the game on YouTube, and 46% watched live broadcasts in some form.

More people surveyed watch gameplay live streams than esports – 46% to 45% – while only 42% of adult game players used forums.

Image: IGEA / Bond University

The full Bond University study will be published on IGEA website later today, although a summary of the report is available now here.


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