How Canadians Play
While the overall incidence of gaming decreased from 64% in 2018 to 61% in 2020, the incidence of game play has increased for Canadians ages 18 to 34. Canadian gamers are playing more.
70% of adults are playing online
44% are playing online solo
58% of adults are playing offline
48% of adults are playing offline solo
First-person and Team-based games, action games, and sport games are more likely to played with others.
More Canadians are downloading digital copies of games instead of purchasing physical copies. This is a trend which aligns with what is happening globally, we are living in a digital world which means increased communication through digital means for everyday activities including play.
ESRB Video Game Ratings
As more families are playing together, we asked parents about whether or not they are using the ESRB ratings. We found that awareness of ESRB rating is trending downward; this may mean that parents are selecting games they are familiar with for their children. In any case, the rating system is a powerful tool for parents to stay engaged and aware of the type of content their children are consuming in video games. Parents of younger users continue to find the rating system most helpful.
ESRB ratings include six categories which are represented on the front of each game box or digitally by the following symbols: EC for Early Childhood, E for Everyone, E10+ for everyone 10 and older, T for Teen, M for Mature, and AO for Adults Only. The ratings recommend a particular age group for whom a game is most appropriate.
78% of adult gamers confirmed they are aware of the ratings (down 2 percentage points from 2018)
96% of parents of gamers find the rating system very helpful in buying and renting appropriate games for their children
86% of parents of gamers, ages 6 to 17, believe the ratings accurately describe the rated game’s content
82% of parents of gamers, ages 6 to 17, feel the rating on a game accurately reflects their views about the appropriateness of content for their child
We also learned that the sharing of personal information and user location in-game is the top concern, particularly parents of younger children; Canadians are concerned about their privacy and there are tools available to help them protect their information in-game.
On average, 78% of parents of gamers (ages 6 to 17) check the rating on a game Always or Sometimes, with 42% reporting that they always check and 36% reporting that they sometimes check. Parents of kid gamers aged 6 to12 check the ratings most often.
53% of parents of kid gamers (6 to 12) always check ESRB video game ratings
29% of parents of teen gamers (13 to 17) always check ESRB video game ratings
Overall console ownership declined over the past two years; however, we found that console gaming became more popular among younger males despite this decline in ownership. Mobile device ownership appears to have peaked. We saw a slight decrease in computer and gamer console ownership among females and Canadians ages 35 and up.
94% of Canadian adult gamers report owning and using mobile devices for video game play (remains the same as 2018)
88% of Canadian adult gamers report owning and using computers for video game play (1% less than in 2018)
56% of Canadian adult gamers report owning and using consoles for video game play (4% less than in 2018)
Note, our research found that device usage differs between adults, kids and teens. Kids and teens are evaluated as one cohort for this analysis.
Mobile devices continue to be the most popular gaming device used among adults.
48% of adult gamers most often use mobile devices to play video games (1 percentage over 2018)
23% of adult gamers most often use computers to play video games (2 percentage points less than in 2018)
29% of adult gamers most often use consoles to play video games (4 percentage points more than in 2018)
Kids and Teens
35% of kids and teens most often use mobile devices to play video games (6 percentage points less than in 2018)
20% of kids and teens most often use computers to play video games (3 percent points more than in 2018)