Report from the CTA explores gaming's post-pandemic popularity

Monday, September 26th, 2022 
Consumer Technology Association logo

Immersive, Accessible Experiences Drive Growth in U.S. Gaming Market

  • New report from CTA explores gaming’s post-pandemic popularity

ARLINGTON, Va. — The U.S. gaming population expanded by 3% from 2019 to 2022, as 9 million new gamers aged 13 to 64 entered the market, according to a new Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® study. The active gaming population in this age range now totals 164 million, representing 73% of 224 million U.S. adults and adolescents.

Chart of U.S. gaming population segmented by level of interest.

“Accessible and immersive experiences are the future of entertainment, especially in gaming,” said CTA Researcher Steven Hummel. “Gamers are on the cutting edge, and diverse gaming options meet the interests of ever-wider audiences. As we’ll see at CES 2023, game publishers, hardware manufacturers and retailers all have an opportunity to capitalize on a growing market.”

The survey measured enthusiasm for gaming and segmented respondents according to interest level. Across all platforms, gamers spend an average of 24 hours a week playing video games.

  • 40.9 million hardcore gamers (average 37 weekly hours)
  • 55.6 million core gamers (average 29 weekly hours)
  • 67.3 million casual gamers (average 13 weekly hours)

Market Background

Digital stores now have a clear lead over mass-merchant and specialty gaming stores: 55% of console and PC gamers report shopping in a digital store versus 40% for mass-merchant and 38% specialty gaming stores.

  • 69% of gamers spent money on games in the last six months
  • Hardcore gamers spend an average of $577 per year on both digital and physical games
  • AR/VR gamers spend $626 per year, and Metaverse Enthusiasts spend $593 annually
  • Core gamers spend an average of $426 per year

Chart of U.S. gaming spending segmented by level of interest and preferred device.

According to a CTA’s most recent Biannual U.S. Consumer Tech Sales Forecast, gaming revenue will increase by 1% to $51.7 billion in 2022, and $52.4 billion in 2023 (+1% YoY).

The Next Realm of Gaming

Hardcore gamers and young people are pushing gaming experiences to new platforms and realms of entertainment. There is a growing population of gamers interested in newer gaming technology, including AR/VR and a future metaverse.

Almost 38 million gamers self-identify as metaverse enthusiasts. Twenty-three million gamers have purchased AR/VR technology. Twenty-nine percent of gamers plan to buy a VR/AR headset, almost the same number who plan to buy a console or PC.

Chart of devices used by U.S. gamers compared to device purchase intent in next 12 months.

The proportion of gamers who mentioned AR/VR/metaverse to improve the gaming experience jumped from 8% in 2019 to 22%. Hardcore Gamers are more interested in VR gaming than Core and Casual gamers, while teenagers expect to play VR games more than adults. Hardcore Gamers average 2.1 hours per week on AR/VR games.

Hardcore Gamers are more interested in VR gaming than Core and Casual gamers, while teenagers expect to play VR games more than adults. Hardcore Gamers average 2.1 hours per week on AR/VR games.

Leveling-Up Accessories

Gamers have strong appetites for immersive hardware like 8K televisions and soundbars.

  • More than half (51%) of gamers already use a TV with 4K or higher quality for gaming
  • 36% say they plan to upgrade to an 8K TV in the next 12 months
  • 40% of gamers plan to purchase personal audio products, such as headphones or headsets with microphones, and 26% plan to buy home audio products, such as soundbars or surround sound speakers to improve their gaming experience in the next 12 months

Mobile and Cloud Gaming on the Rise

Mobile and on-demand platforms are fueling growth and increased accessibility.

  • Average time spent on mobile gaming is approaching 10 hours a week, eclipsing consoles’ 7.5 average weekly hours
  • 43% of gamers pay for a gaming subscription service

Gaming at CES 2023

Major gaming industry names including Microsoft, Sony, AMD, Razer, Intel, Qualcomm and HyperX will exhibit at CES® – the most influential tech event in the world.

Links: Consumer Technology Association