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Comscore Sees Notable Rise in Desktop and Console Gaming

Minutes spent on PC gaming surged 17%, while mobile engagement stayed flat

As Americans continue to seek entertainment while complying with pandemic public health safety measures, new research from Comscore, a trusted partner for planning, transacting, and evaluating media across platforms, shows gaming audiences are engaging more through desktop and console platforms than other platforms.

Desktop, Mobile and Console Engagement Before and After Shelter-in-Place Orders
Desktop, Mobile and Console Engagement Before and After Shelter-in-Place Orders

In the PC gaming category, average aggregate daily unique visitors (UVs) rose by 14% and average engaged duration (total time spent with the desktop game in the foreground) increased by 17% when comparing post shelter-in-place engagement metrics from March 9 – April 19, 2020 to the benchmark weeks of Jan. 27 – March 8, 2020. Console games also saw notable increases: +19% in average households per week engaging with top games, and +6% in average active days, which is the number of unique days a console is used per week.

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While time spent overall with mobile games has risen in recent years, mobile gaming engagement levels remained relatively flat during the compared time periods, likely due to consumers spending less time on-the-go during shelter-in-place orders.

Looking at individual PC games that showed the most increases in engagement, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” and “Hearthstone” saw massive increases in engagement levels, likely due to recent new game or expansion releases. “Sandbox” style games, such as “Terraria” and “Minecraft”, which do not have set narratives or plots but rather allow players to be creative in a customizable world, also saw dramatic boosts in overall engagement, suggesting that as consumers have had more time at home (and time available to play games), these more open-ended games have become a significant outlet for gamers.

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Other top games with increased engagement included perennial top multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games “Dota 2” and “League of Legends,” as well as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) “World of Warcraft,” first-person shooters “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” and “Overwatch,” and battle royale standard-bearer “Fortnite.”

Comscore will continue to monitor how consumers are adapting to radically changed circumstances and will provide frequent updates on its Coronavirus insights hub.

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