Revealed: Football Fever! Brits Rank Sports Games as All-Time Favorites

  • Over half of Brits (52%) identify as being ‘gamers’
  • The nation’s favorite games are FIFA, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto
  • A quarter of Brits own a PlayStation (25%), 21% own a gaming PC and 18% own an Xbox
  • The gaming industry in the UK alone is forecast to be worth £10 billion by 2023

As the UK enters a winter period most likely to be spent indoors, we are all on the hunt for ways to keep ourselves entertained, and gaming is just the tonic. Thanks to lifelike graphic designs, well-crafted storylines and varied character choice, gaming offers the perfect escape from the pressures of reality. A recent study by Currys PC World surveyed the British public to learn more about the nation’s gaming habits, from the most popular gaming device and games to who’s willing to splash the most cash on their gaming hobby. Here are some of the top highlights:

Nation of gamers: Who’s gaming the most and what on?

The cities of Britain are full of idiosyncrasies, but a love of gaming is what unites us. With over half of Brits stating that they play video games, we wanted to find out who spends the most time gaming the most and on what device. It turns out London is home to the most UK gamers of any city, with 57% stating that they game in their free time. This is closely followed by Brighton (56%) and Manchester (55%), who are also big gaming cities. At the other end of the scale, more than half of Sheffield residents (57%), Nottingham residents (51%) and Edinburgh locals (51%) admit to never playing video games and say they have no intention of picking up a controller.

  • PlayStation is the preferred console of choice in London (18%), Birmingham (18%) and Southampton (16%), as nearly one fifth of those residents own one
  • Brighton (23%), Bristol (16%) and Belfast (12%) are the biggest PC gamers
  • Plymouth (21%), Liverpool (17%) and Cardiff (14%) are home to Xbox gamers

How much money do Brits spend on gaming?

There’s no denying that the demand for new games and better devices has increased exponentially in recent times. So much so, that the gaming industry in the UK alone is forecast to be worth £10 billion by 2023[1]. Not only do gamers want to splash out on new games, but they’re also aware that the electronic equipment, headset and gaming chair all contribute to the ultimate gaming experience. And it turns out people are willing to fork out on their gaming hobby, with 1 in 10 Gen Z’s happy to spend up to £200 a year on the latest games and equipment.

  • 1 in 10 Brits are willing to spend over £100 a year on gaming
  • The combined retail price of the top 10 games is £444.15 and the average cost of each game is £44.41
  • Birmingham residents are most willing to spend up to £100 on gaming, with 19% reporting this, and Belfast the least (4%)

The most popular games and genres

From life-simulation to sandbox or first-person shooter, and everything in between, there are a variety of genres for gamers to lose themselves in. Each one has something different to offer, but it appears that the ‘sports’ genre has the nation’s vote as favourite, with 14% of respondents opting to try and score the winning goal. Hot on its heels are the ‘action’ and ‘strategy’ genres, each receiving 13% of the vote. While there are no stand-out genres as a favourite, but ‘sport’ is the most popular, comparatively.

With ‘sports’ being the most loved genre, it seems fitting that FIFA was voted the nation’s favourite game to play. The football game was closely followed by ‘action’ games Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. With the world in its precarious state, it’s not surprising to see people gravitating towards games that allows them the control as master of a virtual world.

  • Gen Z opt to play ‘strategy’ and ‘RPG’ (role-playing games) genres the most, with a respective 20% of 16-24-year-olds choosing the two genres
  • Over a quarter (26%) of millennials prefer the ‘action’ genre the most
  • 20% of women prefer the ‘casual’ genre the most, while 19% of men choose ‘sport’
  • ‘Platformer’ and ‘fighting’ games are the least popular genres with only 8% of the vote each

The nation’s favourite hobbies

With lockdown restrictions encouraging the nation to spend more time at home, we’ve found ourselves with more time on our hands than ever before. This has made hobbies gain in importance.

While binge-watching TV is the nation’s go-to form of entertainment (56% of the nation voted for it as their top pastime), gaming is hot on its heels with 52% of people opting to reach for a PC or a console. In fact, gaming beat other traditionally popular hobbies such as reading books (37%), listening to music (28%) and cooking or baking (25%). It turns out that even with the rise in popularity of baking and home workouts during lockdown, these can’t compete with the need to virtually build a house on Animal Crossing or beat Mario to the finish line.

Gaming has also risen in popularity over the last decade. So much so, that the study discovered it’s almost four times as popular as socialising with friends (14%). This isn’t just in real life, either. Even when gaming, it appears gamers really enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, with 39% of respondents opting for single-player mode rather than multiplayer.

  • Brits would rather game than browse social media (52% game in their free time vs 18% choosing social media)
  • Gaming is more popular as a pastime than gardening (25%), socializing with friends (14%), and making crafts (11%) combined
  • Only 18% of people would opt for multiplayer games over a single-player title
  • Londoners are the most sociable gamers, with a quarter opting for multiplayer mode
  • Belfast citizens are the most solitary gamers, with 46% stating they prefer single-player games

Matthew Harris

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