Do gamers enjoy games less than they used to?
July 2nd, 2024, Rishad Dsouza

Do gamers enjoy games less than they used to?

The current state of gaming is a common theme of discussion within the gaming community, from video essays lamenting the rise of micro-transactions to opinion articles questioning the ethics of publishers releasing ‘unfinished’ titles. But do gamers actually feel that the video gaming experience has deteriorated?

A YouGov Surveys poll reveals that the majority of gamers enjoy playing games on PC or video game consoles as much or more today compared to when they first started. Among gamers who have been at it for at least five years, more than two-fifths say their enjoyment of gaming hasn’t changed (43%), and a comparable share of them say that they enjoy games a little or a lot more in the present day than they used to (39%). Overall, less than a fifth of gamers indicate a lower level of enjoyment from gaming now than before.

But current enjoyment levels can vary depending on how long it’s been since gamers first began playing. For those who have been gaming for over five years but under 10, two in five report their enjoyment has stayed the same (42%), with a notable 27% enjoying it "a lot more." Among gamers with ten to twenty years of experience, a third (32%) say they enjoy gaming "a little more" now and 17% say they enjoy it a lot more. Among both these groups the share of gamers who say they enjoy gaming more is markedly higher than those who enjoy it less.

Among those who have been playing for over 20 years, the share of those who enjoy gaming more is roughly equal to those who enjoy it less (24% vs 23%). But the majority of them say that there hasn’t been a difference either way (52%).

But even if they are a minority, it is still worth understanding the biggest factors causing gamers to enjoy video games less today. Because the data shows that among those who enjoy gaming less, 60% are now playing video games much less frequently in addition to another 21% saying they play somewhat less frequently.

When asked about the reasons for reduced enjoyment, gamers pointed to several key factors. The most significant contributor is increased responsibilities, such as work and family obligations, with 47% of respondents indicating this impacts their enjoyment "a lot." Similarly, 45% cited having less free time to play as a major factor. Other notable reasons include a shift in personal interests and the increased presence of in-game purchases and microtransactions.

 While issues like repetitive game mechanics and changes in social gaming dynamics also play a role, they are less frequently mentioned as major contributors.

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