From: Entertainment Software Association of Canada

News release

November 19, 2020

Toronto, ON                                         ESAC

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the lives of Canadians. In its most recent study – conducted by The NPD Group – the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC), found that Canadians are increasing their levels of video game play as a way to stay connected and entertained during these difficult times.

Every two years ESAC, national trade association for Canada’s video game industry, conducts a study on video game consumers to identify how, what, where and why Canadians are playing video games.

Today, ESAC released its latest study entitled Real Canadian Gamer – Essential Facts 2020.

This study provides an in-depth look at the video game player community and consumers in Canada; which is already one of the world’s largest video game hubs with 61% of our population reporting regularly playing video games.



Key Findings

Although the pandemic has not resulted in substantial new video game consumers – with less than 2% of Adult Canadians (18 to 64) deciding to take up a controller for the first time during the pandemic – it has significantly boosted the amount that existing video game consumers played in Canada.

  • 58% of Adult Gamers and 80% of Teen Gamers reported playing more video games during the pandemic.

Not only are Canadians playing more video games, but a majority of them say it is helping them feel better emotionally and mentally while following stay-at-home measures. Games are also helping parents find common ground with their kids while helping them spend time connecting.

  • 65% of Adult Gamers and 78% of Teen Gamers find that gaming while supporting stay-at-home health measures makes them feel better.
  • 70% of Teen gamers reported using online video games to stay connected while isolating at home.
  • 65% of Adult Gamers with children ages 6 to 17 reported playing video games with their children and 44% reported playing more often during COVID-19.

Many also identified video games as a means of helping family and friends stay bonded and connected throughout the pandemic.


“COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon. Canadians are finding ways to stay connected and engage their minds in positive ways; they are looking for joy and entertainment in what can only be characterized as one of the most difficult times in modern human history. We have found that Canadian gamers recognize the power of play and they are engaging more and more in the immersive and connected experiences that our industry creates. We will get through this period together and video games will continue to be both an outlet for people but also an important way to keep them connected to their families and friends.”

Jayson Hilchie, President & CEO, Entertainment Software Association of Canada

Quick facts

  • 61% of Canadians reported playing video games in the past four weeks.
  • The gender split between Adult Gamers in Canada was 50/50 male to female, which is the same as 2018.
  • The average age of Adult Gamers in Canada is 38.
  • Mobile devices continue to be the primary way Adult Gamers access and play video games, with consoles overtaking mobile devices as the most popular among Kids and Teens.
  • Saskatchewan has the most video game players per capita in Canada with 68% reporting regular game play with an average of 10 hours per week spent among those who play.
  • Digital downloads of full games continue to grow with retail purchases continuing to decline in both Adults and Teens.
  • The most popular genres of video games in Canada are puzzle and word games.
  • More Canadians are participating in esports as viewers (spectators) than ever before. 40% of Canadian gamers view game streaming content; specifically, 41% of Adults and 46% of kids and Teens.
  • 40% of Canadian Adult Gamers play games online solo, 40% play with others online, 20% play online with other players in the room, and 30% of Canadian Adult Gamers play online with players.

Associated links


Media Relations

Corinne Crichlow

Director, Public Relations & Communications



ESAC represents major video game console makers, publishers, large and small independent developers as well as national distributors. ESAC is the national voice of the video game industry in Canada. We work for our members – Activision Blizzard, Glu, EA, Gameloft, Ubisoft, Kabam, Other Ocean Interactive, Ludia, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Relic Entertainment, Solutions 2 Go, WB Games, Square Enix, Take-Two Interactive, Codename Entertainment, Certain Affinity and NetEase games – to ensure regulatory and public affairs environments are favourable to long-term industry development. For more information, visit theESA.Ca.