According to Millennials, gaming can be really addictive. The average millennial spends around 11.8 hours a week gaming on various devices, jumping to 13.8 hours among 12-24 year olds.

6 in 10 Millennials currently own a gaming device – the most popular being the Nintendo DS, followed by the Nintendo Wii and the PS3. However, in terms of the amount of interaction- Millennials are more likely to be found gaming on consoles or laptops than handheld devices, with the average gamer spending an average of 5.1 hours a week playing on these devices.

Competition and Connection

What do Millennials like most much the gaming experience? Well, it’s all about competition and connection. Although the majority of the time gamers are playing alone, 6 in 10 play multiplayer games online- allowing them to connect with friends through their console or PC. Additionally, 1 in 5 spends most of their time gaming with others online and the same proportion spends the most of their time gaming with others in person.

Online gaming is more popular than ever with Millennials playing an average of 4.8 hours of online games per week. The most popular device to use to do this is a Laptop, and usage peaks in the early evening- after school, university or work. Gaming across all devices peaks at this time, which is understandable as most see gaming as a way to relax, unwind, and experience a bit of escapism. The perfect way to get over a busy day.

Gaming is the #3 interest topic among Millennials, and friends are the #1 source for recommendation in terms of games, but most are unlikely to buy the same console as their friend just because they have it. Other than friends, adverts are also an important source of information for Millennials in regards to game and console choices while 4 in 10 have watched trailers online for games consoles.

Geeks and Neeks?

The pervasive image of a gamer being male and a geek is perhaps outdated- only ¼ of those surveyed actually thought this about gamers. Interestingly, those who gamed the most, were the most likely to think gamers were geeks! Boys are technically more intensive gamers than girls, but not by much, only totting up only 1.5 hours more than girls each week on average (12.5 Vs. 11.0). Girl gamers are now more present than ever in the gaming world, and they want to have their say on how the gaming industry is run.

The end of consoles?

The ownership and usage of smartphones has increased considerably in recent years and app game downloads has mirrored this trend. Millennials are now spending on average 4.4 hours a week playing on mobile phones. It’s typically used as a ‘time killer’ to stave off boredom and to fill in gaps in the day with something which is easily accessible – as no millennial is ever without their phone. With this in mind, its not surprising to see that smartphones deliver the most stable engagement across the day. However, laptops and consoles take over towards the end of the day, and dominate gaming in the afternoon and evening.

Although mobiles are enhanced by the price of games (apps are relatively cheap and can be free) and portability, fixed consoles such as the PS3 and Xbox offer a more ‘pure’ gaming experience with more in-depth immersive game-play. This is reflected in the amount of time gamers spend on consoles- 5.1 hours – more than any other devices. Millennials are more likely to switch-on to switch-off with fixed consoles, investing in extended periods of linear gaming rather than a quick 5 minute time killer.

With this in mind, it’s interesting to see that of those surveyed, 1 in in 3 said they are likely to buy a next generation console. There is clearly a thirst of this type of console based gaming- although it could be a more niche market than it has been previously. However Millennials are pragmatic, so the cost of the console and the quality of the games for that device are their top considerations before purchasing.

By Georgina Palmer, Research Analyst for Be Viacom International