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Who is the Game Viewing Audience?

female gamer watching gameplay

A Rapidly Growing Community

Gaming is a long-established entertainment medium, but the game viewing audience—keen gamers who dedicate time to watching others play—is growing rapidly. Whether for casual play or elite competition, the game viewing audience is on track to eclipse traditional media audiences through sheer numbers alone.

But what exactly is the game viewing audience—and who is it made up of? We take a deeper dive to shed some light.

Who makes up the game viewing audience?

There are an estimated 214 million gamers In the United States right now, and highly varied demographics comprise this huge number—from kids learning to read to people kicking their feet up for retirement.

Many of these people don’t just game, though. They also like to watch other people play. The game viewing audience makes up 38% of the total gaming audience, meaning hundreds of millions of gamers across the world are just as content to watch people play games as they are to play themselves.

And the figures are just going to get larger. Year in, year out, Twitch is reporting on the rising number of people streaming and watching games. In 2021, Twitch revealed they support 8.7 million unique creators streaming each month and 2,810,000 average concurrent viewers.

The game viewing audience in more detail

The gaming audience is made up of four groups, each representing different ways games are played.

  • Hardcore gamers (3.5%): elite gamers dedicated to their craft. They often play in amateur or professional gaming leagues
  • MidCore gamers (17.8%): gaming is a primary hobby. Midcore gamers enjoy streaming and watching streams and are highly skilled gamers.
  • Casual gamers (56%): play several times a week and watch midcore and hardcore players to improve their own gaming skills.
  • Hyper-casual (22.7%): tend to be older and more mobile-focused. They often game when they have time to kill.
gaming groups worldwide

Gaming Groups Worldwide

Understanding how gamers play and their approaches to gaming is important because it’s the first step in understanding the kinds of people the game viewing audience is made up of. For example, most livestream viewers fall into the category of midcore and casual gamers, while hardcore gamers are typically the ones doing the streaming.

How can brands reach the game viewing audience?

As the streamers play and the game viewing audience watches, they also watch ads that are built into the game itself. This is called instream advertising, and it represents an opportunity for brands to directly connect to the game viewing audience.

Gamers watch these streams for all sorts of reasons, demonstrating the versatility of advertising instream. They might watch gaming influencers to:

  • see them participate in tournaments
  • be entertained (less about the games and more about the personality of the streamer)
  • learn how to play games better

You don’t have to be a gamer to advertise to gamers. In fact, they’re not so different to traditional audiences. Advertising for gamers shares quite a few similarities to the advertising you’d typically find in traditional broadcast entertainment due to the shared lack of interaction. This means the ads themselves need not drastically change, despite the audiences themselves being different.

Ready to reach the game viewing audience?

There is currently a lot of misunderstanding around the perception of the game viewing audience and confusion about how advertisers comfortably slot into a new platform. But in reality, advertising to the game audience is far simpler than it first appears—especially when you have the experts on your side.