How the Pandemic Changed Gaming Habits (According to Gamers)

Sep 18 | By Brandon Jarman

In the early spring of 2020, COVID-19 regulations closed restaurants, schools, workplaces, and other communal gathering spaces. Social opportunities for most Americans went from robust, to slim, to almost none. That is, except for gamers.

Interest in video games exploded during the pandemic. In fact, the gaming industry was projected to generate $159.3 billion in 2020. The craze made perfect sense: online gaming provides entertainment and social connection for both solo and cooperative play. To pass the long hours of lockdown, non-gamers picked up controllers for the first time and chatted with new online friends, while gaming diehards doubled down on screen time. 

Did the months of lockdown change the way gamers play? The team at wanted to find out. We surveyed 1,000 people to learn about their gaming habits before, during, and after the pandemic.


The team at gathered the data for this piece by surveying 1,000 people on Pollfish in March 2021. We then screened respondents to see if they played video games in 2020. Once screened, we asked respondents questions about their gaming habits before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In-Game Stats:

Gamer burnout:

  • 11% of respondents no longer play at least one of the video games they started in 2020.

The console breakdown:

  • 38% of respondents have purchased a new console since January 2020.
  • Respondents’ most purchased consoles since January 2020:
    • 44% – PlayStation® 
    • 35% – Xbox
    • 34% – Nintendo Switch™

Cutting back on screen time:

  • 21% of respondents said their gaming proficiency did not increase in 2020.
  • 10% of respondents said they expected to play significantly fewer video games after the pandemic.

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