Canada is a nation of video game lovers – despite worries of addiction and online insults

March 21, 2019

The video game industry has come a long way since the days of Pac-Man in the 1980s. According to new research from Mintel’s Attitudes Toward Gaming, Canada, February 2019 report, 65% of all Canadians play video games, with a remarkable 96% of young men aged 18-34 doing so – making it nearly universal in this category.

But men aren’t the only ones gaming, as Mintel reveals that 80% of young women in the same age category are joining in on the action too.

While Canada is a nation of video game lovers, there are some major concerns. A worrying one-third (34%) of video game players have been insulted while playing online, rising to a shocking 71% of male users aged 18-24.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of Canadians (89%) agree that video games can be addictive and over half (56%) of them agree that playing video games has a bad influence on young people’s behavior.

Scott Stewart, Senior Technology and Media Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Gaming overall is in a better market position than it ever has been, establishing itself as a mainstream entertainment industry and no longer a niche product. However, despite this growth, the industry needs to be aware of the evolving cultural issues it faces. And if these concerns continue to grow they will likely become increasingly significant barriers in the future, as potential consumers choose not to play video games in an attempt to avoid the possibility of addiction and verbal abuse.”

Watching is the new playing

Enjoying video games traditionally means playing, but watching video games has been an emerging trend in recent years. Today, as many as a quarter (23%) of players say they have gone online to watch others play, rising to 56% among 18-24-year-old men.

With the growing popularity of watching others play online combined with the naturally competitive nature of video games, it is no surprise that eSports have emerged as a major part of the video game industry. Mintel found as many as one in five (22%) Canadians thinks eSports are just as important as traditional sporting events.

“While hockey is Canada’s national sport, eSports are making big inroads – with a significant amount of Canadians regarding eSports as important as traditional sporting events. In August 2018 there was a tournament called The International 2018, an eSports tournament based on a game called Dota 2. It sold out the Rogers Arena, home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, almost immediately. The industry needs to anticipate that the gaming market of 2024 could look significantly different than how it looks today – even after all of its recent changes – meaning stakeholders in the industry need to continue to be innovative and strategically nimble,” adds Stewart.

Tapping into Chinese Canadian gamers

Playing video games is very appealing to Chinese Canadians. Four in five (80%) of them play video games, compared to just 65% of all Canadians. This group is also much more likely to think it’s ‘cool’ to be good at video games, with nearly seven in ten (69%) Chinese Canadians saying so, compared to just over half (52%) of all Canadians.

“Gaming is much more popular among Chinese Canadians than the rest of the population. As Canada continues to become more diverse, the gaming industry has an opportunity to capitalize on these trends, and develop video games that appeal more to these groups,” concludes Stewart.

Press copies of Attitudes Toward Gaming – Canada – February 2019 and interviews with Scott Stewart, Mintel Senior Technology and Media Analyst, are available on request from the press office.

Mintel News

For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel’s team of global category analysts.

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