Even as Pandemic Wanes, Time Spent Gaming Still on the Rise

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If you found yourself playing more video games this year—even as offices, restaurants, and shops re-opened—you aren’t alone. 

US residents who game now do so on average for 16.5 hours per week, according to a survey from research firm NPD Group. That marks an increase from 14.8 hours during the initial peak of the pandemic in 2020, and 12.7 hours in 2019. 

The August survey also found a surprising demographic is driving the increase: Americans aged 45 to 64. “In 2019, 65% of consumers in this age group played games for approximately 9 hours per week. This jumped considerably in 2020 to 69% playing for approximately 12 hours per week, and 75% this year playing for approximately 16 hours per week,” NPD Group says.

The research firm attributes the increase to how games, especially online PC titles, can let you play with friends and family no matter the location. “We had a number of lapsed gamers in the 45-64 age group re-enter the market last year, not only for entertainment, but to stay connected with family and friends,” says NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella. 

“Clearly, gaming is not a segment relegated to kids and teens; it is a segment that is appealing to gamers of all ages,” he added. 

A year ago, NPD Group found that all Americans across age groups had been gaming more during the pandemic. The latest survey shows the time spent gaming is only growing, although the total percentage of people gaming in the US has taken a slight dip. The poll, which was conducted online, found 76% of the survey-takers play video games, a three-percentage-point drop from a year ago. 

“Although we have seen a slight reduction in the percentage of Americans that play video games, we are still well ahead of the 73% we saw in 2019,” Piscatella says.

NPD Group conducted the survey by polling 5,000 people in the US, including children.

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