Gen Xers and Millennials who spent time gaming as children may remember being told it was a waste of time.
Today, there’s a growing consensus that time spent playing video games can build skills such as literacy, problem solving, and socializing. And, studies or not, Americans’ real-life habits suggest that gaming has become one of life’s irresistible pleasures—even among the Boomers who once questioned its value.
How do we know? We asked. Check out our survey results below for more insights into one of America’s newer national pastimes. P.S. For a highly responsive, high-def experience while gaming, choose fiber-optic internet service with low lag.
Gaming habits in Americans ages 16 to 54+
Survey conducted in April 2022
- 68% of Americans play video games regularly, as opposed to “sometimes” or “never.”
- Gen Z clocks the highest percentage of regular gamers (73%).
- Boomers were split 50-50 between playing regularly or just “sometimes.”
- The largest share of Americans (46%) spend no more than 1–3 hours gaming in a row, a trend consistent across respondents of all ages.
- Only 4% of Americans regularly play game marathons that run 13 or more hours.
- The largest share of respondents (30%) play 8–12 hours of video games per week.
- The largest share of Gen X gamers were split evenly between 8–12 hours and 1–3 hours per week (26% each).
- Boomers most commonly spend just 1–3 hours gaming each week (31%).
- During the second year of social distancing in 2021, Americans’ weekly time spent gaming with others increased from 6.6 hours in 2020 to 7.5 hours, according to Statista.
- Most people across generations (33%) play video games primarily for the mental stimulation. Gen Z is a notable exception, with the largest share (31%) saying they play because they’re “obsessed”—it’s one of their favorite pastimes.
- Despite PlayStation 2 being the top-selling video game console of all time, according to Statista, it ranked behind mobile gaming in our survey.
- Americans spend more time gaming on mobile devices than on any other console. The majority of people who play mobile games (57%) like knowing they can entertain themselves anywhere.
- Respondents spend more time playing Call of Duty: Mobile than other popular mobile games. Roblox and Minecraft tie for second.
- Boomers are the only generation in which the majority doesn’t play open-world games (76%).
- Of the 24% that do, they spend the most time on either Fallout or Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (tied at 19% each).
- Fallout is the shortest open-world game to beat on our list at just 22 hours, while Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes 91.5 hours.
- At 120 hours, Skyrim takes more time to beat than any open-world game on our list, according to How Long To Beat—and just 8% of our survey respondents spend the most time playing it.
- Gen Z and Millennials are the most likely generations to play to win, constantly trying to beat records and come out on top.
- 37% of Gen Xers enjoy some competition, but it’s not the biggest reason they game.
- 42% of Boomers play non-competitive games and like to go at their own pace.
- Gen Z is the only generation that spends more time playing first-person shooter games than other genres (29%).
- The remaining generations spend the most time playing action/adventure games, although Millennials are split between action/adventure and open-world games (18% each).
- 29% of respondents spend more time playing Grand Theft Auto than any other open-world game. Gen X plays it the most out of any generation (39%), narrowly beating Gen Z (38%).
First, we used leading market research software Pollfish to survey 1,000 Americans ages 16–54+ on their gaming habits. We then divided the results by the following generations: Gen Z (16–24 years old), Millennials (25–44 years old), Gen X (45–54 years old), and Boomers (54+ years old).
We also compared How Long To Beat’s average completion time for six leading open-world games against the relative game time reported by our survey respondents. We collected our data in April 2022.
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To see graphics, go to https://www.centurylinkquote.com/resources/time-spent-gaming.