Message from the President

Even before the internet, video games have played a role in entertaining people, connecting family and friends and introducing us to fantastic worlds transporting us beyond reality. COVID-19 has forced a global shift in how we connect, build community and stay healthy. Canadians are turning to video games even more now as a way to safely connect with their friends and family and escape what can seem like a never-ending cycle of bad news.

This year, we at Entertainment Software Association of Canada are releasing our Real Canadian Gamer – Essential Facts 2020 data during unprecedented times -Canadians are spending more time at home for leisure, remote work and for their health as they support physical distancing health measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Video games have always played an important role in our society and with the pandemic, we are learning that gaming can be so much more than an entertaining form of play; it is a key nexus point for social interaction, creativity and mental health. From business executives to service employees, from students to retirees, Canadians of all ages and professional backgrounds enjoy the power of video games. Twenty-three million Canadians play video games and during the pandemic, fifty-eight percent of adult gamers and eighty percent of teen gamers are playing more, with sixty-five percent of adult gamers and seventy-eight percent of teen gamers finding that gaming while home makes them feel better.

More than forty percent of parent gamers are spending more time playing video games with their children during the pandemic; sixty-nine percent of parents with kids (6 to 12) played video games with their children; sixty percent of parent gamers with teens (13 to 17) played video games with their teens. Ninety-six percent of parents of gamers (ages 6 to 12) find the ESRB rating system especially helpful in choosing video games that are appropriate for their children.

Purchasing behaviour of gamers also continues to evolve. Canadians are increasingly turning toward digital download with thirty-three percent of adult gamers and forty-two percent of teen gamers downloading full games. These numbers are up three percentage points and seven percentage points respectively over 2018 and continue a trend of growing digital game acquisition by players.

Mobile devices continue to be the primary device of play among adults while kids and teens prefer to play using consoles. Our Real Canadian Gamer data supports that Canadians view gaming as an important mainstream form of entertainment that supports social connectivity, a sense of wellbeing and mental health. Now more than ever, video games are a meaningful and powerful outlet for Canadians and the world.

As we all do our best to navigate these difficult times, we can all continue to enjoy the many positive benefits available to us through the power of play.

Jayson Hilchie

President & CEO

Entertainment Software Association of Canada