Newzoo: American gamers play games more than any other leisure activity

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Newzoo today released a report with new insights on American gamers. Not only do Americans prefer games over any other leisure activity (though not by a large margin), they also prefer games with puzzle-solving mechanics.

One of the points of data in the new report is that gaming is the most popular leisure activity for American under the age of 50. The amount of American respondents aged 10 to 20 who responded that their favorite leisure activity is gaming is around 26%. For respondents aged 21 to 35, it’s 25%.

The number drops a bit for older Americans, as 21% of respondents aged 36 to 50 selected gaming, tying it with “watching broadcast TV.” For Americans aged 51+ the most popular leisure activity is watching broadcast TV, and by a large margin.

According to research by the Entertainment Software Association, the U.S. gained 13 million gamers of all ages during the pandemic. Newzoo has also predicted that gamers will remain engaged with games even after the pandemic abates.

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What are American gamers playing?

The report also included more information about what kinds of games Americans prefer to play. The respondents were asked what features of games appealed to them the most, with options ranging from “art style” to “theme or setting.”

American gamers responded that puzzle-solving is one of the most appealing features of games. 35% of American respondents picked this response, as opposed to 25% of global gamers. By contrast, “exploration and open worlds” and “strong narrative or story” didn’t rate as highly. 20% of American gamers selected that response, as opposed to 25% of global gamers.

Newzoo had previously reported that the majority of gamers this year did most of their gaming on mobile, with over 90% of gamers worldwide playing on mobile. Many popular mobile games are puzzle-based. Just look at Candy Crush and all of its clones.

What art and themes do American gamers prefer?

Conversely, when American gamers were asked what kind of art style and setting they prefer, an overwhelming 45% said they favored realistic art styles. The next most popular response was “No strong preference” with 25% of the vote. As for themes and settings, gamers seemed to enjoy fantasy (39%), mystery (33%), and science fiction (29%) for their games.

It’s probably not a surprise, given the responses above, that the top games preferred among American gamers are fairly diverse. A third of gamers said they played one of five franchises in the past six months: Candy Crush (39%), Call of Duty (36%), Mario (35%), Minecraft (32%), and Fortnite (32%).

Finally, the report included a response from American gamers about why they game. 60% of respondents said they play to relax and unwind. 40% said they play to escape everyday life. Given the number of gamers who began gaming during the pandemic, this is probably the least surprising statistic of all.

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