Characteristics of PC gamers

This year’s edition contains a different presentation of the data in relation to previous years. Instead of a joint presentation of the data (as in the years 2014–2019) for all platforms, the present edition of the research contains an analysis and description of the data for each of the platforms.

In 2020, personal computers have been indicated by 31% of the respondents, which constitutes 7 percentage points less than in 2019. Considering the nature of the Polish gaming market, it would have been surprising even five years ago. However, the expansion of the mobile platform causes a decrease in PC gaming popularity.

Types of games played on personal computers

65% of the respondents playing video games on personal computers stated that they usually used games installed on their devices using a physical data carrier or downloaded from the Internet. As much as 42% of gamers choose the games available in Internet browsers. Apart from that, games pre-installed on personal computers, such as MineSweeper or Chess, are also very popular. Such entertainment form is chosen by 37% of Polish gamers. 29% of the respondents used games available on social networks, such as Facebook or nk.pl.

What types of computer games do you play at least from time to time (at least once in the last month)?
Base: who play games installed on the computer, N=405

Popularity of gaming genres

In the case of games installed on personal computers as the original gaming platform, five genres from among the fourteen distinguished in the research achieved the result of 30% or higher. Polish gamers using that platform are most interested in strategic games, arcade and action games, shooters and logic games. High results have also been recorded for card games (30%), racing games (29%) and adventure games (29%). Farm simulators and casino games are the least interesting for personal computer users.

What types of computer games do you play at least from time to time ? Base: who play games installed on the computer, N=405

Average time spent playing games

The fans of browser games spend on average from 15 to 60 minutes on a single session. RPGs constitute an exception, similarly as in previous years, as the gamers spend from 61 to 120 minutes on a single session. It should be noted, however, that in comparison with the results of the 2019 research, the share of gamers who spend more than 121 minutes on a single session significantly decreased in 2020 for all genres of browser games. In the case of the most engaging genre, i.e., RPGs, in 2019, 29% of the respondents spent at least 2 hours playing, while in 2020 only 9% declared that they spent from 121 to 180 minutes and 8% – more than 180 minutes.

In the case of an insufficient number of indications of a given category, the results have been excluded from the analysis and marked in dark. They are presented for review only.

How long does it usually take you to play a given game when playing online games in web browsers? Base: Respondents who play a given type of game

Gaming frequency

When considering the playing frequency, card games are the most engaging. That type of games is played every day by 14% of Poles and a few times a week by 38%, however, when compared to the results of the Polish Gamers Research for 2019, a decrease was observed with respect to card games. In 2019, 24% of the fans of card/solitaire games played every day and 40% – a few times a week.

A similar level of interest was expressed towards logic games played every day by 12% of the Poles (decrease by 4 percentage points YoY) and by a few times a week by 34% (decrease by 2 percentage points YoY). In 2019, 21% of the respondents mentioned RPG among the genres played every day. Next year, that share decreased to 11%. At the same time, the group playing RPGs a few times a week increased from 21% in 2019 to 33% in 2020.

How often do you play the following types of games installed on your computer? Base: Respondents who play a given type of computer games.

Sources of information about games

Although there are many generally available sources of information about games and the upcoming releases, many Polish gamers playing on personal computers still obtain such knowledge from friends and family as the first source (36%). After word of mouth, the second most popular source of information is the Internet. 30% of the respondents learn about new games from social media and 28% from online advertisements. 27% of the respondents obtain such information using web browsers, for example searching for the phrases that interest them on Google. When compared to the State of Polish Video Games Sector 2017, the share of people who learn about new games through visiting specialised websites increased from 14% to 25%. 24% of the respondents stated that they learned about new games from the materials published on video platforms and services, such as YouTube.

Within the scope of traditional information sources, gaming magazines are the first choice (10%). 7% of the respondents obtain knowledge about new games for personal computers from TV programmes connected with video games, for example at the Polsat Games channel. It should be noted that the share of the gamers who do not search for information about games at all decreased from 34% in 2017 to 17% in the present research, which proves openness to gaining knowledge about games from external information sources (which can be effectively used by the producers).

The annual surveys conducted since 2014 indicate that the majority of Polish gamers using all five platforms prefer single player mode games.

How do you find out about new games installed on your computer? Base: Respondents who play games installed on the computer N=405

Gaming style. Playing alone or with other people

44% of all PC gamers always use single-player mode. 37% of the respondents usually use single-player mode, but they sometimes engage in multiplayer mode. Only 16% of the gamers always or usually chose multiplayer mode.

Among the people declaring to use multiplayer mode, sports games such as FIFA or Need for Speed are the most popular (32%). Shooters such as Counter Strike, Overwatch, Battlefield or Call of Duty are the second most often mentioned genre, selected by 30% of the respondents. 25% of the people playing on personal computers competes with other gamers in war games such as World of Tanks or strategic games such as Starcraft 2.

How do you usually play games installed on your computer? Base: Respondents who play games installed on the computer N=405

Genres chosen for multiplayer mode

What type of games do you sometimes play with other players? Base: Respondents who play games with other players, N=213

How do Polish gamers get new games?

The habits of Poles using consoles and personal computers related to obtaining new games are trending towards obtaining free games. The prices of games at the level of those applied in Western Europe still constitute an obstacle for Polish gamers. This year’s research proves that 57% respondents download free games from the Internet. Moreover, a traditional distribution still prevails (46%) over digital distribution (40%). Exchange of games between friends and family is an interesting phenomenon on the Polish market. 30% of the respondents obtain new games that way and that form of redistribution is becoming increasingly popular. 16% of the respondents admit stealing intellectual property and downloading pirate games from illegal sources, which constitutes a decrease by 5 percentage points in comparison to 2019. 5% of the respondents do not buy new games at all.

Where do the games you play on your computer or console come from? Base: Respondents playing on a computer or console N=582

Physical or digital distribution?

The present research has been expanded by questions concerning significant factors affecting the decision to purchase physical or digital versions of games for personal computers. The most important argument for 66% of the gamers choosing a physical version is that they obtain a tangible item. The second most important reason for purchasing a physical version for 38% of Poles is that they can resell it later. According to 37% of the respondents, the prices of physical versions are more attractive than those of digital ones. The collectors purchasing physical versions of games because of the additional content such a books or collectible figures constitute only 23% of all respondents.

What are the arguments for purchasing digital versions in the case of personal computer and console gamers? 66% of the respondents think that purchasing a digital version is much more convenient. During the coronavirus pandemic, the safety issues are also important, which has been mentioned by 39% of the respondents. 38% of the gamers notice that digital versions are offered in more variants than the physical versions. There are also the so-called impatient customers who constitute 29% of the respondents and choose the digital versions because of the preinstallation option before the game is officially released.

Which of the following factors are important to you when buying a PC or console box game? Base: Respondents who buy a physical version of games N=265

Which of the following factors are important to you when you buy a digital version of a PC or console game? Base: Respondents who buy a digital version of games N=230

Steam remains the most popular purchasing platform for the gamers using personal computers who purchase digital versions (38%). Origin has been indicated by 13% of the respondents. Popular auction portals, such as Allegro, eBay or OLX are slightly less popular (12%). Microsoft Store and Epic Game Store have been indicated by 6% of the gamers. The last store has been famous not only for the popular Fortnite Battle Royale game published by Epic Games, but also because of a conflict with Apple resulting in removing Fortnite from the Apple Store, as well as an aggressive policy of sharing popular paid versions of games for free. GOG owned by CD Projekt has been indicated only by 3% of the respondents and Uplay, a digital distribution platform of Ubisoft, by 2%.

Which of the following pages / services do you most often use to purchase the digital version of the game? Base: Respondents who buy digital versions N=230

Distribution on the auction sites

57% of the respondents choosing both digital and physical versions of games decide to purchase them on auction sites. It should be noted that Poles often search for physical versions of new games on auction sites, but they are interested in used games as well. Only 18% of the gamers purchase digital keys, while 2% admits to purchasing accounts for Steam or PSN (PlayStation Network) which is illegal within the light of, among others, Polish law.

What types of computer games do you play at least from time to time ?
Base: who play games installed on the computer, N=405