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Tipping Point: 58% of UK Players Subscribe to a Video Game Service

Plus, 60% of UK adults and 91% of three to 15-year-olds play video games on either consoles, PC or mobile.

UK communications regulator Ofcom has released its 2022 Online Nation report revealing that 58% of UK players were subscribed to a games subscription service during in Q4 2021.

More than half of gamers now prefer to ‘stream’ or ‘rent’ their games rather than own them.

The most popular paid-for subscription service in the UK, PlayStation Plus has amassed over 3.2 million subscribers in late 2021, followed by Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass which has at 2.6 million subscribers while Xbox Live Gold and Nintendo Switch Online has 1.5 million and 1.49 million respectively. 

Millions of gamers prefer subs

More than 2.1 million people were also subscribing to cloud gaming services at the end of 2021 with Sony once again clinching the top spot with PlayStation Now. The report notes that “this figure increases to 2.9 million users when including those who access the free GeForce Now and Google Stadia tiers.”

In terms of subscription services that aren’t linked to a specific platform, Amazon Prime Gaming service was the highest reaching subscription service during Q4 2021. Ofcom also conducted a separate survey about video-on-demand where it was noted that only 54% of recent Netflix users were aware the streaming platform offered games and only 8% of them have actually played a Netflix game. 

Also in the report, Ofcom stated that 39% of UK adults above the age of 16 play online games, compared to the 56% of kids aged between three and 15. Overall, 60% of UK adults and 91% of three to 15-year-olds play video games on either consoles, PC or mobile. 

The same report delves deeper into the various platforms with mobile remaining the No.1 gaming platform in the UK, having 37% of players. Consoles came second with 30% while tablets have 19% of players. 

 (see graph below for a full breakdown).

In Q4 2021, gamers in the UK spent an average of 7 hours and 33 minutes playing games. For mobile, the most played game is Candy Crush as despite being released over 9 years ago, it’s still being enjoyed by 1.2 million UK adults on a daily basis. 

In February 2022, up to 2.5 million people played Candy Crush in the UK, followed by Niantic’s acclaimed Pokemon Go which was played by 1.6 million people and Roblox at 1.5 million. 

Meanwhile Josh Wardle’s web-based word game Wordle has become an unexpected hit when it amassed 8.4 million visitors in February 2022 with 1.8 million users visiting the site daily. 

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He enjoys reading philosophy, autobiographies and staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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