COVID-19 has driven engagement for an already thriving gaming industry

A few days after releasing new figures for the month of June, NPD is offering up some broader trends for the gaming industry at large. It likely won’t surprise you to hear that the industry continues to thrive in 2020, and COVID-19-driven stay-at-home orders have only further contributed to gaming adoption here in the U.S.

According to the report, three out of four people in the U.S. play some amount of video games. That’s 244 million people — up by 32 million from 2018. Among those who play, 39% are light gamers, playing less than five hours a week; 32% are classified as moderate, at five to 15 hours, and 20% play more than 15 hours a week, putting them in the heavy camp. On average, gamers surveyed play around 14 hours a week, up from the 12 hours reported in 2018.

The novel coronavirus has driven adoption, as gaming sales have suggested for several months now. Of those surveyed, 35% say they’re playing more than they were prior to pandemic restrictions. Though most are simply playing on non-gaming-specific devices they already owned — primarily things like smartphones, tablets and computers.

Only 6% of respondents say they began gaming on a new platform. The relatively low figure seems to reflect some of the dire economics of the last several months. Few were purchasing new consoles. In the case of the Switch, Nintendo ran into some serious supply issues that have found the console out of stock in many online stores. Microsoft and Sony, meanwhile, are launching new systems before the end of the year, meaning current systems will be outdated in the not so distant future.