46 percent of Canadian gamers most often play on mobile: report


Twenty-three million Canadians are gamers, according to the 2018 edition of the Entertainment Software Association of Canada’s (ESAC) annual “Essential Facts” report on the Canadian video game industry.

This makes Canada home to one of the largest per capita populations of video game players in the world.

The report, which was compiled by NPD on behalf of the ESAC, found that this 23 million group of gamers is split 50/50 between men and women. Further, the average Canadian gamer is 39-years-old and plays games for an average of 10 hours per week.

In terms of platforms, the report found that nearly half (46 percent) of all Canadian gamers play games most often on mobile devices. Moreover, 73 percent of Canadians say they played a video game on a mobile device in the past four weeks. These numbers are particularly high due to the fact that 94 percent of Canadians own a mobile device, according to the ESAC.

For comparison, 24 percent of Canadian gamers play most often on consoles, out of an overall 60 percent of Canadians who own a gaming console. Fifty-four percent of Canadians say they’ve played a console game within the past four weeks.

While 89 percent of Canadians own a computer, only 24 percent of Canadians play most often on one. That said, 57 percent of Canadians say they have played a computer game in the past four weeks.

Twenty-nine percent of Canadians own a handheld device, with three percent of Canadians playing games most often on a handheld. Eighteen percent of Canadians have used a handheld device for gaming in the past four weeks, although this figure jumped significantly to 40 percent among children and teenagers.

Finally, eight percent of Canadians own a virtual reality device like the PlayStation VR or Samsung Gear VR. Only one percent of Canadians play VR games most often, while five percent of Canadians say they’ve played a VR game in the past four weeks.

Other findings from the report include:

  • 80 percent of Canadians view gaming as mainstream entertainment
  • 71 percent of Canadian parents play games with their kids at least once a week
  • 40 percent of Canadians say they like to spend their free time playing games
  • 40 percent of Canadians say gaming is a way to teach communication and teamwork
  • 33 percent of Canadian gamers say gaming is “a great way” to socialize with friends and family
  • 30 percent of Canadian gamers have purchased a full digital download of a game in the past six months

“With this new research we’re gaining insight into the Canadian gamer; who they are, what they play and what other activities they like to engage in”, said Jayson Hilchie, president & CEO of the ESAC, in a press statement. “We are now at a point where video games are part of the lives of our grandparents, parents, siblings and children, just like TV and the Internet. Canadians recognize our products as mainstream entertainment, and increasingly as tools to socialize with each other and learn new skills.”

The full Essential Facts report can be viewed here.

While this report focuses on Canadian gamers, the ESAC’s previous report, ‘Canada’s Video Game Industry 2017,” looked at the companies that make games. According to that report, the Canadian video game industry contributes $3.7 billion to Canada’s overall GDP every year.