The US Gaming Ecosystem 2021

Consumer Usage and Viewership Across the Gaming Landscape

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About This Report
Digital gaming and viewership of gaming video content (GVC) has become more popular amid the pandemic. In 2021, some of this activity will see modest growth, while interest in other forms of gaming will taper off.

Executive Summary

The coronavirus pandemic led to an increase in gaming usage and viewership of gaming video content (GVC). This resulted in heightened monthly usage and viewership across the gaming landscape in 2020, but some of this activity will taper off in 2021.

How many digital gamers are there in the US?

We expect there will be 177.7 million monthly gamers in the US this year—up by 1.1% from 2020—amounting to 53.1% of the population. This growth is modest compared with last year, when a number of pandemic-driven factors caused monthly users of digital gamers to jump by 5.7% from 2019.

What are the most popular devices for gaming?

Mobile is the most popular device for gaming; we expect 159.1 million US monthly users in 2021, reaching 89.5% of all US digital gamers. Desktop/laptop is the No. 2 most popular device, with US monthly gamers anticipated to reach 98.4 million, or 55.4% of US digital gamers.

On which devices are users growing the fastest?

Monthly mobile gaming users will grow by 1.2% this year. While this is modest growth, mobile gaming users will still grow faster than digital console gamers (0.8% growth).

How many viewers of GVC are there in the US?

There will be 56.2 million monthly GVC viewers in the US in 2021, up by 6.2% from last year. While there is still growth, these gains are more modest than what we saw in 2020, when GVC monthly viewership grew by 22.7% from 2019.

How many of these viewers are watching esports?

Esports, which we define as organized gaming competitions among professional players and teams, is a subset of GVC. We expect there will be 26.6 million monthly US esports viewers this year, up by 11.4% from 2020. This amounts to 47.3% of all GVC viewers.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report breaks down our forecast for digital gamers across console, desktop/laptop, tablet, and mobile devices, as well as viewership of esports and other GVC.

KEY STAT: We expect there will be 177.7 million monthly digital gamers in the US this year, up by 1.1% from 2020.

Here’s what’s in the full report

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Digital Gamers Overview
  3. Gaming Video Content Viewership
  1. Key Takeaways
  2. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Mason Bates
Mindshare
Director, Sponsorships and Partnerships, Content+
Interviewed February 22, 2021
Dan Conti
Wavemaker
Group Director, Sports & Live
Interviewed February 22, 2021
Ari Elkouby
Wunderman Thompson Canada
Executive Creative Director
Interviewed February 24, 2021

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authors

Blake Droesch

Contributors

Ross Benes
Analyst
Chuck Rawlings
Researcher
Audrey Schomer
Peter Vahle
Forecasting Analyst
Debra Aho Williamson
Principal Analyst