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Gaming hours, spend, digital purchases up as COVID-19 keeps players inside

Nielsen: 29% of gamers in the US say they're playing online with friends more often

As more and more people are stuck inside due to the spread of COVID-19, those who already play video games actively are increasing their playing time, social play, and spend.

Nielsen has shared data from a survey of 3,000 active gamers, defined as those who had owned at least a PC, PS4, Xbox One, and/or Nintendo Switch, play games at least one hour per week on average, and had purchased at least one game in the last six months. The survey covered the US, France, the UK, and Germany.

Of those, at least 20% of active regular game players in each country are now playing games even more often specifically because of COVID-19.

This is especially true in the US, where 45% are playing more frequently, with 38% of gamers in France saying they were playing more, and the UK with 29%.

Understandably, there have also been increases in playing with friends online rather than in-person. 29% of those surveyed in the US are playing online with others more often because of COVID-19.

However, though gaming overall is up in France, only 5% said they were playing online with friends more often, while 9% said they were playing more often in-person -- possibly due to the lockdown conditions keeping families together.

Spend is also up, with 39% of respondents in the US saying they now spend more on games, and 42% saying they are spending more on digital content specifically. At least 23% of those surveyed in each country say they're spending more on digital games than physical.

Finally, nearly half of respondents in the US said they were watching more streamed gaming content as of last week, followed by 40% in France saying the same.

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Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.