Published on October 19th, 2021 | by Adrian Gunning
Australians turned to video games for social connection during the pandemic
The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), in conjunction with Bond University, today released new research from its Digital Australia 2022 (DA22) report that found over 75 percent of Australians who played video games used them to connect with others during the pandemic. The report, now in its ninth iteration, explores the Australian video game players’ habits and the gaming landscape during the pandemic.
“Video games were not just a vital source of entertainment during the pandemic, but also a means for connection, communication, and social interaction between friends and family, as well as education and comfort for children,” said Bond University’s Professor Jeffrey Brand, who has run the Digital Australia series of research for 16 years.
“70 percent of the participants lived in an area that experienced lockdown during the pandemic, and over a third of those participants said they played more video games. Nearly a quarter said that they used in-game tools to communicate with others, all new findings included in this year’s report,” he continued.
IGEA’s CEO Ron Curry said the research demonstrated the social and mental benefits of video games. “DA22 found that, for the first time since we started the Digital Australia research series, Australians preferred playing video games over watching free-to-air TV, second only to streaming TV and movies.
“More Australians are turning to video games for social activities and mental health, changing video games from a hobby into a larger cultural touchstone enabling families and friends to remain connected. Video games inspire creativity. We see people connected to gaming culture whether that be making games themselves, creating mods, watching streamers, or even attending concerts in-game. Australians love and enjoy games on so many levels and we are seeing the local game development industry evolve accordingly,” said Curry
DA22 found that the average Australian gamer is now 35 years old, a year older compared to the previous two reports. They’ve been playing video games for around 12 years, and play an average of 83 minutes a day with most play occuring in the evening. Almost half of Australian video gamers are female, and nearly half use online services for gaming.
Highlights from IGEA’s DA22 report:
● 75 percent of players said they played video games with others during the pandemic
● 22 percent of players said they communicated through video games with others
● 77 percent said video games can help a person’s emotional wellbeing (up from 74 percent in DA20)
● 70 percent said video games can help social wellbeing
● Over a third of adults said they met friends through playing video games
● 74 percent said video games could help continue social connections and maintain relationships with friends and family
● 49 percent of parents play online games with their children, a six percent increase from DA20
● Playing video games to keep the mind active was the number one reason older Australians turned to gaming, and moved to the second highest reason Australians overall play video games during the pandemic
● Retirement age adults played for 61 minutes a day on average, a two-minute increase from DA20
● Video games rank second among all media choices in Australian game households, second only to streaming TV and movies, overtaking free-to-air TV during the pandemic
● Almost half of adult players have watched esports online, the main reason being for social connections