More Aussies play video games than watch footy, new IGEA report claims

The Australia Plays 2023 report has revealed 81% of Australians now play video games.
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The Australia Plays 2023 report (formerly known as Digital Australia) has revealed major growth for video games in the country, with more people than ever picking up the controller. According to research conducted by IGEA and Bond University, around 81% of Australians now play video games in some form, up 14% from 2022.

While data is difficult to accurately compare, AFL statistics quoted in the report claim that only 56% of Australians tuned in for the AFL Finals on Fox and Seven – which, as Australia Plays notes, suggests more people are playing video games than watching football. While this data point is fairly niche, it’s an indicator that mainstream attitudes around video games are changing.

Notably, the demographics of video game players are changing, too. As revealed in the report, the median age of video game players in Australia is 35 years old, and 48% of players are female. Many parents are also playing games, as a means to connect with their kids and entertain themselves.

Just 15% of players indicated they always played games solo, while the majority of Australia Plays 2023 respondents indicated they enjoyed playing with their partner, friends, and children.

Read: Australians spent $4.21 billion on video games in 2022

australia plays 2023 report igea
Image: IGEA / Bond University

‘Australia Plays 2023 proves that Australia is a nation that loves to play, achieve, connect, and learn through video games,’ Ron Curry, CEO of IGEA said in a press release. ‘Over 80% of the population is now engaging with video games, making it clear that video games have become a part of everyday life. Over 90% of Australian gamers say they find joy in video games, as is reflected by our successful local industry.’

Curry also pointed out the Australia Plays research reflects recent reports about the importance of the Australian video games industry to the local economy. In 2022, Australians spent AUD $4.21 billion on video games, with growth advancing year-on-year. The local government is slowly recognising this economic contribution, with recent funding and support initiatives working to bolster support for local video game developers and their creative works.

As outlined in the Australia Plays 2023 report, video games aren’t just connecting people. They provide an escape from the real world, allowing older people to stimulate mental muscles, train individuals, teach children, and even inspire the next generation of game developers.

‘Video games offer something for everyone,’ Jeffrey Brand, Professor at Bond University said. ‘Anyone can be a gamer, not just children and students, but parents, grandparents, your coworkers, and your boss.’

With 81% of Australians now playing video games, it’s become a hobby that can be shared and enjoyed together.

Read the full Australia Plays 2023 report.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.