E-sports consumption is still a niche: study

Online gamers are big consumers of tech and media compared to the general population, according to Media Technology Monitor.

Gaming is on the rise among Anglophones.

Fifty-one percent of English-speaking Canadians own a home game console, according to the latest Media Technology Monitor (MTM) report. That’s up from 44% in 2011.

The report, which drew data from the organization’s spring 2018 survey of 4,000 Anglophone Canadians, found that more than half of households own a game console (more than 90% of households with teenagers own one) and 49% of individuals report having played a game online in the past month.

That translates to nearly one in five Anglophones (18%) watching gaming videos online (such as game reviews, tips and “Let’s Play” videos). However, only 4% of respondents report to have watched e-sporting events online.

Many in the industry have cited e-sports as a medium to watch, with online gaming tournaments developing an increasingly devoted fan base that brands are looking to reach. Bell and Red Bull recently paired to sponsor a Toronto e-sports tournament┬áin order to reach the young and tech-savvy audience, while Super Channel launched a 24-hour linear e-sports channel last year. Although platforms like Twitch have helped deliver e-sports content to more people, the MTM’s numbers show that e-sports consumption may not be fully mainstream yet.

Still, the study indicates that e-sports consumers and gamers are, if anything, big consumers of tech and media compared to the general population.

The vast majority of console owners (71%) range from 18 to 32, with 63% between the ages 34 and 49, 45% from 50 to 64 and 15% age 65 and older, with men and women being equally likely to own a home game console. Those who own home gaming consoles are also more likely to own other tech than the average Anglophone, with 36% owning wearable technology (versus 26% of total Anglophones), a tablet (69% versus 59%), a device with Kodi software (24% versus 17%), a smart speaker (14% versus 9%) and a VR headset (9% versus 5%).

Console owners are also more likely to be big online media consumers: 98% of console owners watch online videos (over-indexing against 86% of total Anglophones), 85% watch online TV (versus 67%), 71% watch Netflix (versus 55%), and 87% listen to streaming audio (versus 71%).

One of the biggest differences between the console owner and the online gamer was time spent online per week.

Anglophones who own consoles are reported to spend approximately five hours more per week online (30 hours) than the the total number of Anglophones surveyed. Online gamers had even higher rates of internet usage, at an average of 32 hours per week. Those who watch gaming content were said to spend just under 40 hours per week.