More than nine in ten New Zealand households have a gaming device in 2023 - study

  • 01/09/2023
A whopping 94 percent of households in Aotearoa now have a gaming device.
A whopping 94 percent of households in Aotearoa now have a gaming device. Photo credit: Getty Images.

More people in Aotearoa are playing video games than ever and about half of them are female, according to a new report.

The 'New Zealand Plays 2023' study, released Friday, showed 79 percent of Tāngata Aotearoa/New Zealanders now regularly play video games.

Gaming industry body IGEA teamed up with Bond University researchers for the seventh release of the annual report which looks into who plays video games and why.

Study author Dr Jeffrey Brand of Bond University said gaming in Aotearoa has rapidly grown in popularity this year.

"Not only is the average video game player in New Zealand 35 years old, but Kiwi women over 45 years of age are more likely to play video games than men!" said Dr Brand.

Gamers in 2023 tend to be high achievers who use video games to socialise, find joy and spend time with whānau, the study found.

A whopping 94 percent of households now have a gaming device and 93 percent of parents game to connect with their kids.

"Video games provide something for everyone," said Dr Brand.

He added gamers don't have a particular look, age, job, or income level.

Players over 65 often game to improve their cognitive health and be challenged, the research found.

And those surveyed say they've been gaming for 11 years on average.

Ron Curry, CEO of the IGEA (Interactive Games & Entertainment Association), said these reports highlight the importance of video games to Tāngata Aotearoa/New Zealanders.

"Playing games will continue to grow as a popular pastime across all age groups, whatever people are looking to create joy in their lives," he said.

The vast majority of adults in the study said they believe games can help children be more creative, manage stress, improve reading and learn science.

This infographic by IGEA shows at a glance who's playing video games and why.
This infographic by IGEA shows at a glance who's playing video games and why. Photo credit: IGEA.

It comes as Ginny Andersen, the Digital Economy and Communications Minister, announced a new rebate for game developers also on Friday.

The 'Game Development Sector Rebate Scheme', developed in consultation with the industry, was released on Friday to ensure talented game creators stay in Aotearoa.

"The sector is a creator of weightless exports and high-skill, high-wage jobs – aligning with the Government's vision for a low-emissions, high-wage economy, and helping to lift our productivity and wealth," she said.

In 2022, the game development industry brought in more than $400 million in revenue, Andersen added.

Businesses with expenditures of at least $5 million can apply for the rebate, including for costs incurred since April, from October 1.


More New Zealand Plays 2023 findings:

Why do we play?

  • 91 percent for enjoyment
  • 79 percent for joy
  • 60 percent for mental health

What does 'fun' mean to gamers?

  • 93 percent say 'achieving'
  • 80 percent say 'exploring'
  • 79 percent say 'competing'

What's the aim of the game?

  • 71 percent say 'building'
  • 68 percent say 'getting lost in a story'
  • 62 percent say 'making mini-games'
  • 49 percent say 'playing in-game events

What are the top game genres?

  • 37 percent say 'puzzle'
  • 32 percent say 'action or adventure'
  • 22 percent say 'board/card'