Not only do young Brits play more online and console games than anywhere in Europe, it’s also a favourite pastime for many of them.

    Surfing the internet and watching TV is taking a back seat compared to gaming for many young Brits (primarily men), according to a new study by the 2009 UK National Gamers Survey. The survey is backed by TNS and Gamesindustry.com and say teens in the 13-19 year bracket spend on average 11 hours per week playing games, and boys as young as eight spend seven and a half hours a week.

    Gaming could soon replace internet and TV as the whole nation’s favourite pastime. “In several cases, young and old are even moving away from traditional media and spend their free time playing games instead,” said Stephen Palmer, Group Director at TNS Technology. He’s probably right too, as gaming already has overtaken reading newspapers and magazines as preferred pastime.

    Traditionall non-gamers say they are gaming more with 86% of girls playing games and a surprising 42% of people over the age of 50 spending more time gaming than reading magazines.

    Brits are also less inclined to resort to piracy, despite the economical downturn. Compared to ten percent of gamers regularly pirating console games in the Netherlands, only four percent of Brits do the same.

    “Gaming has rapidly expanded in popularity and now appeals to as wide an audience as TV and the internet,” Palmer said, and the study reveals that mobile phones and social networks such as MySpace and Facebook are the game platforms of the future. This is ironically the only gaming platform the UK is behind on, however, with 11% of the gamers indicate it’s their primary gaming destination, a number half that of the USA.

    On the other hand, mobile gaming has gone up 20% in the last year, which is more than double the increas of many other European countries.  This is likely due to iPhone and other popular smartphones being introduced recently.

    “The variety of games on offer has drawn in segments of the population that would not ordinarily be associated with gaming, which has turned the traditional view of the ‘gamer’ on its head. With the pressure put on media through advertising cuts, gaming is emerging as the forum through which to target consumers of the future,” said Palmer.

    Paul Younger
    Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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