Given the video gaming industry’s close ties with sports thanks to the popularity of sports video games, it is worth exploring how interested gamers are in the real thing.
Gamers in this piece are defined as those who play video games on their PC or console for at least an hour each week. We will use various metrics from YouGov BrandIndex to explore the attitudes of gamers towards the FIFA World Cup in four distinct markets – USA, UK, UAE, and China.
Across three out of our four markets, gamers have been paying more attention to the FIFA World Cup, in the form of hearing things (both positive or negative) about the event from friends, family, the media or advertising.
Three-tenths of UK’s gamers say they have heard about the event in the past two weeks (29%), compared to a quarter of all UK adults (24%). In the States, nearly a fifth of gamers say they have heard about the World Cup (18%) as opposed to only 12% of the overall population.
In the UAE, nearly three-fifths of gamers have heard about the event in the past two weeks (59%), putting them only three percentage points ahead of the overall population in this regard (56%). With regards to the much higher rates in the UAE compared to other markets, it is worth remembering that this is the first FIFA World Cup in the middle east region, which is almost certainly resulting in more conversations about it.
China is the only market where gamers are less likely to have heard about the World Cup than the overall population (21% vs 23%).
While gamers are more likely to have heard about the World Cup in most markets than the regular population, what they are hearing isn’t necessarily positive. YouGov’s Buzz metric is a net measure based on responses to two questions: “Over the past two weeks, which of the following sports events have you heard something positive about?” and “Now which of the following sports events have you heard something negative about?”. By calculating the difference between these two scores, we create our Buzz metric.
In UK, higher attention scores aren’t translating into positivity about the event. Buzz scores among gamers sit at -8.8 (vs -5.9 in the overall population). In China, the tournament records a positive score and there isn’t much difference between the experience of gamers (9.9) and the overall population (10.6), as is the case in UAE (49.6 vs 48.9). Only in the US, do gamers maintain a strong lead in Buzz scores (11 vs 5.3).
The perceptions of the Value of the event follow a similar pattern, wherein scores among UK gamers are much lower than the overall population (-11.5 among gamers vs -6.5 among all adults), while gamers lead the overall population in Value scores in the US (9.1 vs 6.2) and UAE (52.7 vs 49.3). The Value metric is a net score of the percentage of those who feel a sports event represents good value for money for those paying to see it (whether in person or on TV) minus the share of those who feel it represents poor value for money.
While there’s a negative Buzz about the World Cup among UK gamers, it hasn’t impacted gamers’ appetite to watch or follow the tournament. YouGov’s SportsIndex Satisfaction score presents the net difference between the share of consumers who say they would give up time to follow an event as they take place and the share of those who say they are unlikely to give up time to follow an event.
Among UK gamers, this score is 18.9 points, markedly higher than the 14.2 among all UK adults. The Satisfaction score in the US and UAE is higher among gamers than the overall population in those markets, but the reverse is true in China.