The most common video game platform is hidden in our pockets

The perception of video gaming has changed a lot throughout the years, but there are still many misconceptions about it. The research series of eNET, launched in 2016, provides an authentic view of Hungarians’ habits related to video games. This time, we are explaining who can be considered as a gamer, which kind of games they play, what devices they use for gaming and how much time they spend on it. Furthermore, we are taking a closer look at children’s gaming habits as well. The most recent results from March 2022 are based on the feedback of around 1000* people, so the long-term effects of the Coronavirus seem to be outlining.

09. 11. 2022.

The number of video game players in Hungary is estimated to be a stable 3.5 million. Video gaming is a broad concept, encompassing every kind of game from high-tech with breathtaking graphics to simple phone ones that do not require Internet connection. From this point of view, it isn’t surprising that half of the Hungarians can be considered video gamers.


Of course, this is not only true for our country: today’s global video game player population is in the billions. This huge camp generates a huge market, estimated tens of billions of HUF in Hungary alone, as a result of hardware and other purchases related to gaming. The video games market will be discussed in detail in a future article.


Who are video gamers?


Although negative stereotypes are becoming less prevalent, many people still consider video gaming as a part of a subculture that only affects a narrow segment. In comparison, video games are fun to play, it is a great cure for boredom and an absolute social experience, shown by the responses. As a result, video games have become popular widespread. Among the Hungarian population, almost six out of ten people can be considered video gamers, typically young men – of course, due to the prevalence of over 50%, no age group can be excluded from this activity.


What and how long do we play?


Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when people think of video gaming are the late-night sessions, which basically describes players’ everyday life – however, the majority can be considered casual gamers: 82% are playing at least once a week. In terms of games, most people prefer the types of games that can be classified nonhard games: card, strategy and word games are remaining as popular as in previous years. Otherwise, among smartphone gamers, wordsearch is in the top3 with 49%, word puzzle with 36% and solitaire with 29%. However, different games are more popular on different devices: while Call of Duty is the most popular game on PC, the dominance of FIFA on consoles is unquestionable.


Gaming tools


Many people associate video gaming with staring at a monitor all day, but the reality is different. Although laptops and PCs are still popular, the device, which we use most commonly for video gaming is our smartphones, hidden in our pockets. With the rapid development of mobiles, this number is only set to increase: more and more games with higher hardware requirements have already appeared (e.g. Call of Duty, League of Legends), which have immediately gained outstanding popularity. In the future, more phone versions of popular games are expected to appear.


Children in front of the screen and characteristics of parental strictness


Gaming is primarily associated with the younger age group: although this type of activity is not exclusively characteristic for them, half of the children play video games, this is mostly typical of boys aged 6-14. While children see video games as one of their favourite pastimes, their parents are often concerned about the negative effects of excessive playing, whether it has a negative impact on their school performance, or the effects of aggressive games, the dangers of the Internet, and so on. Parents are therefore most concerned about limiting the amount of time their child spends playing video games. Moreover, parents of video game players surveyed also like to control the amount of money spent on the game and the type of game played.


Can gamers be fit?


Video gamers do not spend less time doing sports than an average person. Although a large part of the adult population believes that video game players do not exercise or do sports, our research has revealed that video game players have an even higher proportion of regular exercisers compared to ‘non-video game players’. Endurance sports (running, swimming, cycling) dominate, but many people go to the gym, play some kind of strength sport or play football.


The impact of the pandemic on video game habits


Many people spent their free time playing video games as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related closures. In this way, they either played more with those games they had had before or tried new ones. The user base of online group games has expanded, with action, shooting and strategy games being the most popular in this category.


A kind of normalization can be observed in 2022, the sudden and large-scale changes** caused by Coronavirus seem to be permanent this year. This is well exemplified by the evolution of the average time spent playing games, which increased by almost an hour (+48 minutes) between 2020 and 2021, but did not change significantly between 2021 and 2022. This year is shaped by the disruptions in the supply chains and their spill-over effects, so that – as in many other areas – the shortage of goods and the increase in prices are currently the most determining factors among video gamers. It happened to four out of ten customers that they did not buy the hardware they wanted due to price increases, and nearly one in three said that they were unable to buy something because it was not available in stores. There is also a significant proportion of people who had to wait for a product to be available (26%) and those who found that a product was not available everywhere (23%).


eNET video game and e-sport research


Since 2016, eNET has been conducting two researches on the topic every year: a video game research, which is representative of the domestic population between 18 and 65 years, based on gender, age and region, and an e-sports research involving gamers between 18 and 65-years. The 2022 research was conducted in April, with the participation of 1,002 people in the video game research and 1,339 in the e-sports research. The contributing partners are Esport1 and Esportmilla.


The authors of the article are: Bálint Heizer and Dorottya Vass


* Our conclusions are based on feedbacks from 1002 respondents aged between 18 and 65, and are representative by gender, age and region.

** This is translated into increased playing time, higher spending and greater interest.