Gaming, both as a pastime and as a sport, has never been more popular than right now.
Currently, there are 46.7 million gamers in Great Britain, with almost 40% playing games on their mobile. And the number of gamers is set to rise, getting video games revenue in the UK to over 7 billion US dollars by 2025.
Has this piqued your interest?
Let’s take a look below for more UK gaming statistics.
Top 10 Must-Know UK Gaming Statistics
- Globally, there were nearly 3.24 billion gamers in 2021.
- 62% of British adults played a video game in 2020.
- UK gamers spent an average of 7.17 hours a week on video games in January 2021.
- 39% of Britons like playing online games because they are free or cheap.
- 39% of British adults used a mobile phone for gaming.
- The UK video games market generated £7bn in 2020.
- Video games software sales reached £4.55 billion in 2020.
- FIFA 21 is the best-selling video game in the UK.
- 42.7 million games were bought in 2020.
- Games represent approximately 50% of all entertainment sales in the UK in 2020.
General UK Gaming Statistics
1. Globally, there were nearly 3.24 billion gamers in 2021.
Out of these, almost 1.48 billion were located in Asia, the biggest market for video gaming. 715 million came from Europe, where the UK had the largest number of gamers—46.7 million, preceding Germany (39.1 million) and France (36.5 million), 2021 video game usage statistics reveal.
2. 62% of British adults played a video game in 2020.
(The Guardian, This Is Fresh)
Playing video games in the UK became even more popular during the pandemic, with more than half of UK adults using video games to break the monotony of lockdowns. Those who started playing video games after the lockdowns now comprise 46% of 18 to 34 year Brits, while pre-existing gamers account for 36% of the same generation.
3. 63% of women in the UK stated that they ever played video games.
In terms of gamer demographics, a Statista survey reveals that the majority of UK gamers are aged between 16 and 24—92% of respondents in this age group stated that they had played video games. As expected, gaming UK penetration is the lowest among interviewees aged 65 and over, 30% of whom reported playing games.
4. UK gamers spent an average of 7.17 hours a week on video games in January 2021.
China takes first place with 12.39 hours —well over the global average of 8.45 hours. Vietnamese, Indian and Indonesian gamers spent 10.16, 8.61 and 8.54 hours a week, respectively, whereas video game players in the US spent an average of 7.71 hours weekly.
5. The UK has the highest rate of casual gamers.
69% of British gamers identify as casual players, much higher than the global average of 56.6%. Only 2.4% hope to make it as professionals, while 14.4% are experts and 14.2% are entirely new to gaming.
6. 39% of Britons like playing online games because they are free or cheap.
Another 38% of respondents in a Statista gamer survey answered they play video games because they can access them instantly, while 29% feel they are getting good value for money. Only 6% said they opt for online video games because they are available before physical copies are released.
7. 0.3% to 1% of people in the US, UK, Canada and Germany are considered to be video game addicts.
(DJS Research, UK Rehab, Healthy Gamer)
Gaming, like gambling, can easily lead to addiction. Actually, video game player stats and research reveal that:
- MMORPG is the most addictive games format, with 44% of surveyed World of Warcraft players considering themselves as addicts.
- 1% of the general population in the UK say they are under “significant distress” if they cannot play video games whenever they want.
- 30% of Brits skipped meals or showers to play video games during lockdown.
- Nearly six in 10 Britons stated that they lost sleep because of gaming.
8. 52% of Brits said they logged on to YouTube Gaming to stream video games.
Judging by Statista’s online gaming statistics, more than half of UK gamers use YouTube Gaming as opposed to 42% who use Twitch. On the other hand, 31% stated that they used Facebook Gaming, while 16% and 14% of respondents streamed games on Caffeine and Dailymotion Games.
9. Among Us! was the top-reaching game in the second half of 2020.
Peaking at 3.94 million in November 2020, Among Us! was one of the most popular apps among UK adults, holding its own against titles like Candy Crush Saga and Roblox.
Candy Crush, though, remains the leading free gaming app on Google Play Store in the UK, preceding Coin Master and game sharing platform Roblox. As of December 2021, hyper-casual Coloring Match is the most downloaded free gaming app on the App Store, followed by Slap And Run and mobile game Rocket League Sideswipe.
Types of Gaming Statistics
10. 39% of British adults used a mobile phone for gaming.
Smartphones are the most popular devices for gaming in the UK, used by nearly 40% of adults.
Other devices used by UK gamers include:
- Games consoles & TV, used by 26%
- Computer: 25%
- Tablet: 20%
- Handle gaming console: 11%
- Smart TV: 6%
- VR gaming headset: 3%
- Wearable device: 2%
11. With over one million units sold, PS5 is the fastest-selling PlayStation gaming console in UK history.
Only 39 weeks after it was launched, the PS5 sold over a million copies in the UK, preceding Nintendo Switch as the second best-selling console in August 2021 and the Xbox Series S and X at number three. As of August 2021, more than 151,500 games consoles were sold across the country.
UK Gaming Industry Statistics
12. Revenue in the video games industry is expected to reach over £5 million in 2022.
Furthermore, according to Statista over the course of 2022-2026, revenue is expected to increase at an annualized rate of 8.66%, resulting in a market volume of over $10.5 million by 2026. In comparison, the most revenue is generated in China with a whooping $55,572 million.
13. Video games software sales reached £4.55 billion in 2020.
The majority of spending was on digital games, generating £3.9 billion compared to the £689 million spent on boxed games.
Within the digital sector, consoles noted the highest revenue (£1.7 billion or a 24.2% annual increase), followed by mobile (£1.5 billion) and PC (£669 million).
UK console sales also drove growth in the hardware sales market segment, making up £853 million of the £2.26 billion total, which incidentally is the biggest increase seen in this segment so far. PC game hardware generated slightly less (£823 million), while console game accessories (£823 million) and virtual reality headsets (£129 million) follow.
14. Spending on games culture products amounted to £199 million in 2020.
This segment witnessed a 32.6% growth from 2019, which is quite impressive given that spending on events and venues saw a 97.2% decline to just £249,000.
The movie and soundtrack sector (down by 22.2% to £22.9 million) and books and magazines (reduced by 24.5% to £10.5 million) also decreased, whereas the toys & merchandising grew by 22.4% to £119.6 million—the only segment to see an increase.
15. The video games industry in the UK contributed £2.9 billion in GVA in 2019.
(Creative Industries Council)
Live streaming of UK eSports alone created 72 jobs and contributed £7 million in GVA, 2019 studies show.
Another research by Nesta and Ukie reveals that there were 1,902 gaming companies in the UK, which employ around 9,2000 creative staff and indirectly support over 16,800 jobs. The games industry body, TIGA, on the other hand, estimates that 95% of games businesses in the country export at least some of their services, with almost 45% of their turnover coming from export of games.
Video Game Sales Statistics
16. FIFA 21 is the best-selling video game in the UK.
In terms of unit sales, FIFA 21 was the most popular game in the UK in 2020, selling over 2.18 million copies. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Grand Theft Auto V follow with around 1.4 million and 1.1 million units sold, respectively.
17. 42.7 million games were bought in 2020 (digital and physical).
This figure is an increase of 34% compared to the previous year. Most of these games, or 24.5 million, were downloaded, which is not surprising given the closure of high-street retailers due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Even so, gaming figures point to 18.2 million games being sold in boxes in 2020 (up by 2% from 2019), which, combined with sales of consoles and accessories, puts the value of the physical games market at just over £2.1 billion.
18. Sony’s DualShock 4 controller was the most popular games accessory in 2020.
In 2020, more than 9.6 million controllers, headsets and other hardware were sold, or an increase of 16.4% compared to 2019. Top-up and points cards also saw a rise of 5.5% going up to nine million sold throughout 2020. Xbox Live gift cards were the most popular in this category, followed by the PlayStation Store top-up cards.
19. Taking up 20.5% of all physical games sold, Nintendo was the most successful boxed games publisher.
The biggest digital games publisher of 2020 was Ubisoft, making up 18% of the gaming market share, although these numbers do not include Nintendo digital video games sales statistics. Both Nintendo and Ubisoft are followed by EA, which holds 12.4% of the physical and 15% of the digital games market.
20. 3+ games saw a considerable rise in sales in 2020.
Going up by 26.4%, 3+ games performed very well last year, primarily due to the success of titles like Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the latter selling more than 810,000 copies in 2020. Still, video game stats show that the majority of games bought in the UK last year, or 36%, were rated 18+.
In terms of genre, general action shooters were the most popular type of game, representing 28.5% of sales, followed by first-person shooter games, which took up 15.2% of total video game sales.
21. Games represented approximately 50% of all entertainment sales in the UK in 2020.
(GamesIndustry.biz, Esports News UK)
Consumers spent £4.4 million on video games, 2020 numbers show, which is a 17.7% increase from 2019. According to a survey of 1,001 UK adults, the average gamer in the UK spends around £298.20 on video games and in-game purchases every year, most of it going on Call of Duty, Super Mario, and Grand Theft Auto.
Uk Gaming Statistics in 2022
22. User penetration will be 68% in 2022.
As we mentioned above the user penetration in 2022 will be 68%, but it is forecasted that by 2026 the user penetration will be at 74%. Also, the number of users is expected to amount to 51.4 million by 2026.
23. Mobile games are the largest segment in 2022.
According to UK gaming facts in 2022, the mobile games market volume is at $4.285 million.
24. The ARPU in the video games segment will amount to over $160 million in 2022.
According to the most recent report by Statista, the average revenue per user is projected to be $162 million in 2022.
As the UK gaming statistics outlined above confirm, this sector, fueled by the rise of smartphone use and the accessibility of streaming platforms, is already one of the biggest entertainment industries out there. So, whether you have been into gaming your whole life or you turned to mobile games during the pandemic, you are part of a fast-growing industry that will only get bigger in the future.