How American adults and teens differ in their gaming choices
January 31st, 2024, Kineree Shah

How American adults and teens differ in their gaming choices

Leveraging insights from YouGov Profiles and YouGov Teen Profiles, we can explore gaming trends among US adults and teens, highlighting key differences and similarities in their gaming behaviors.

For this piece, we define gamers as Americans who play video games for more than an hour a week. Among adults, 43% qualify as gamers under this criterion. In contrast, the proportion rises to 57% among teens. While about a fifth of both groups (22% of adults and 24% of teens) are spending 1 to 7 hours per week gaming, it's the teens who are really going the distance. Specifically, 6% of teens are engaged in gaming for more than 35 hours weekly, compared to just 2% of adults.

The choice of gaming devices also showcases distinct preferences. While smartphones are equally popular among both groups (49% of adults vs. 50% of teens), differences emerge in other devices. Teens show a higher preference for laptops/desktops (43% vs. 30% in adults), Nintendo Switch (34% vs. 17% in adults), Xbox One (24% vs. 13% in adults), and VR headsets (17% vs. 5% in adults). Conversely, adults are more inclined towards the Sony PlayStation 5 (11% vs 17% in adults). This suggests a generational shift in gaming platforms, with teens favoring more versatile or newer-generation devices.

Examining the genres played by both groups uncovers both commonalities and differences. Action/adventure games lead among teens at 57%, surpassing adults at 41%. This trend is consistent in genres like first-person shooter and Battle Royale, where teens outpace adults by notable margins (40% vs. 28% and 40% vs. 16%, respectively). Adults show a slightly higher preference for casual games (34% vs. 28% in teens). Our data also reveals a significant teen inclination towards simulation (22% vs. 34% in teens) and fighting games (18% vs. 29% in teens). Overall, while certain genres like racing and sports see similar interest levels, teens generally exhibit a broader appetite for varied gaming experiences.

This data illuminates' clear distinctions in gaming habits between US adults and teens. Teens emerge as more avid gamers, both in terms of time spent and diversity in device usage and genre preferences. These insights offer valuable guidance for those in the gaming industry, emphasizing the importance of tailoring strategies to resonate with these distinct audience segments.

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YouGov Teen Profiles Methodology: The data is based on a sample size of 13,000-150,000 US teens aged 13 – 17. All interviews were conducted online in January 2024 and panellists were recruited via YouGov Chat. Data is weighted by age and gender.

YouGov Profiles Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the US market is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles