This year saw a steady increase in the ownership of game consoles. The rate of ownership increased from 34% of respondents in 2020 to 41% in 2022. Penetration of VR headsets will also increase to 11% of respondents in 2022, a new Deloitte study shows.
17% of 18- to 24-year-olds own a VR headset, and 57% of the same age group know something about the Metaverse. One of the challenges to the penetration of VR technology is the cost of hardware. A quarter of respondents found spending to be restrictive.
One of the biggest developments in the virtual reality space, the Metaverse – a digital world where a person can control an avatar and interact with the avatars of others – remains an underdeveloped concept for Irish consumers. The term came into the mainstream only 12 months ago, 65% of people have heard of it and 35% are familiar with what the metaverse is. However, again the 18-24 age group is more aware, with 57% of them knowing something about the Metaverse.
John Kehoe Partner at Deloitte Audit and Assurance (Technology, Media and Telecom) said: “The concept of a metaverse has been thrust into mainstream media in the past year, and younger people are more familiar with what it is.
“Interestingly, awareness differs between men and women, with 44% of men knowing something about the Metaverse compared to 26% of women. There are also significant differences in age demographics, with 57% of 18-24 year olds knowing something about it, compared to just 19% of 55-64 year olds.
Consoles are making pandemic gains, but mobile gaming remains dominant
After reaching a high of 38% in 2018 and declining in 2019 and 2020, access to game consoles has rebounded, with 41% of respondents confirming access. Two-thirds (67%) of adults surveyed play digital games on any device, including their smartphone.
The data on console ownership is in line with recent sales figures for the PlayStation 5 (PS5), which sold 25 million units by the end of September 2022, according to Sony’s official sales numbers. However, persistent chip shortages prevented the PS5 from matching the sales pace of its predecessor, the PS4, which sold over 100 million units and counting.
Although Microsoft doesn’t reveal official sales numbers, the tech giant has confirmed that the Xbox Series X|S is the fastest-selling Xbox console of all time.
However, mobile gaming still remains a dominant market, and one in every adult uses it to play video games.
Mr. Kehoe Continued: “There have been some significant gaming-related acquisitions in the past 12 months, the most notable being Microsoft’s $68.6 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a game development and interactive entertainment content publisher. Activision Blizzard generated more than half of its Q2 revenue from mobile gaming and related sources. The acquisition is subject to a regulatory review by the European Commission, the results of which are expected by mid-March 2023.
In game currency and purchases
‘Gaming on demand’ subscriptions are growing in popularity, with almost half of players now holding a gaming subscription to PlayStation Plus/Now (20%) and Xbox Live (15%).
A quarter of gamers surveyed have bought in-game currency with young people particularly interested in this: 47% of respondents aged 18-24 bought in-game currency. Season passes (15%) or related digital content (10%) were the most common purchases made with regular money or in-game currency.
Darryl Hanberry, Partner and Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications at Deloitte said: “Even though two to three gamers haven’t spent money on digital content in the past two months, we know that these in-game purchases generate significant revenue for companies like Activision Blizzard, especially for purchases made in mobile games.”
Mr. Hanberry Continued: “Microsoft’s Activision acquisition of Blizzard and Sony’s plans for a dedicated PlayStation mobile gaming unit show that more traditional gaming companies are beginning to look to revenue models driven more by in-game purchases. It will be interesting to see if gamers’ habits change in response.