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Everyday play on console and other games increasing

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2016 (n=14,330). Base: Australians 14+

Between 2012 and 2016, the number of Australians aged 14 and over who reported playing games on a handheld or console, PC, mobile phone and/or tablet increased from just over 7.6 million to almost 8.7 million people (or from 40.5% to 43.8% of the population), the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research reveal.

Even more strikingly, the number of people who play games on one or more of these devices every day grew from 3 million to just over 4.6 million in the same time period: that is, from 16.0% to nearly a quarter (23.4%) of the population! In other words, more than half of all people who play console, PC, mobile and/or tablet games do so on a daily basis.

As they were in 2012, mobile phones are the most popular device for playing games, with some 5.6 million Aussies using their mobile for this purpose in 2016 (up from 4.6 million). What’s more, just over 2.6 million play games on their phone every day (up from 1.6 million). While PCs remain the second-most popular device for games (played by slightly more than 4 million Australians), they have lost ground since 2012. The number of people playing games daily on their PC has also slipped.

Australians who play games on different devices: total and daily users, 2012 vs 2016


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2012 (n=21,539) and January-December 2016 (n=14,330).

Handhelds and consoles have seen their popularity decline a fraction (from nearly 4.1 million to just under 4 million) although daily usage has increased. But the device with the greatest surge in game players is the tablet: since 2012, the number of people playing on their tablets has more than doubled from 1.8 million to 3.8 million, while daily players have more than tripled!

Games every day

While the overall proportions of Australian men (24%) and women (23%) who play games daily is almost identical, different devices have distinct gender skews.

Men (6%) are three times as likely as women (2%) to play games on a handheld console daily, and more than twice as likely to play daily on a PC (9% vs 4%). Women (9%), meanwhile, are more likely than men (6%) to play on a tablet every day and slightly more likely to get their daily game on via mobile phone (14% vs 13%).

Delving a bit deeper, it emerges that young men aged from 14 to 24 years are more likely than Aussies of any other age (or gender) to be games fiends, with 45% playing some kind of game every day. More than one in every five (21%) play games on their mobile on a daily basis, ahead of 20% on a PC and 19% on a handheld or console. Tablets are by far the least popular device with this age group at 7%.

Daily game playing by device and age group


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2016 (n=14,330). Base: Australians 14+

However, among the 25-34 year, 50-64 year and 65+ year age brackets, women are more likely than men to play games on a daily basis, driven by their markedly more widespread use of mobile phones and tablets for daily game-playing.

Men also show a steeper drop-off than women from daily playing past the age of 50.

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Since 2012, the number of Australians who play games every day on a handheld or console, PC, mobile phone and/or tablet has skyrocketed to the point that more than half of all gamers play on a daily basis.

“It’s not surprising that almost half of all daily games-players are folks who play on their mobile phone: there is no device more portable and convenient, easily whipped out for a quick round of Candy Crush or Swapperoo while on public transport, in bed, on the couch, at lunch…

“While the rise in daily gaming on tablets may also have something to do with their convenience and portability, their larger, high-res touch screens and powerful specs would add to their appeal, enhancing the playing experience.  The distinctly female skew towards playing on this device would be related to the fact that women of most age groups are more likely than their male counterparts to own tablets in the first place.

“Understanding the demographics, attitudes and behaviours most likely to influence a person’s device preference and playing frequency is crucial for games brands and retailers wishing to ensure they target the most responsive audience. With its in-depth consumer data, aggregated from some 50,000 respondents per annum, and an extensive module dedicated to console and other games, Roy Morgan Single Source is an invaluable resource for doing exactly this.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%