More than half of UK adults (51%) are playing online games including board games with COVID-19 lockdowns leading to the numbers more than doubling, new research* from digital board game group Marmalade Game Studio shows.
Its nationwide study found 28% of adults downloaded games for the first time during the crisis as they looked for new ways to entertain themselves and their families while forced to stay at home during lockdowns.
Over the period of the lockdowns Marmalade Game Studio estimates downloads of its family friendly games with multiplayer features that can be played by family and friends remotely have increased 144% in total over the previous 18 months.
Its research shows the average person is playing around three games but 18% are playing five or more games. The research found the numbers of people switching on to online games will continue to rise – more than 720,000 people questioned say they plan to start online gaming for the first-time next year.
Playing online games had major benefits during the crisis, the research found. Around a quarter (24%) of people playing games say it helped greatly with their mental health while nearly half (47%) say it helped slightly.
However, the key reason for the surge in online gaming was that people had more time on their hands and were bored during lockdowns – around 29% of those who started playing games during the crisis said it was down to boredom while 27% say they had more time on their hands and 25% say games helped distract them from worries.
Over the period of the lockdowns Marmalade Game Studio, the UK’s leading digital board game publisher estimates downloads of its games have increased 144% in total over the previous 18 months.
The research found around 26% of adults have been playing online games for three or more years and that women are more likely to play online games than men. Around 53% of women currently play games compared with 47% of men. Around 27% of women who play online games say they started doing so within the past year compared to 17% of men who started in the past year.