What you need to know

As COVID-19 stay-at-home orders have impacted nearly 90% of Americans, consumers have had limited options for leisure and entertainment. One result is that gamers have spent more time playing as well as following gaming influencers who deliver comforting and entertaining content around their favorite games. During lockdown, gaming has become a replacement for physical social interaction for many, and esports fills a void for professional sports and competition-starved consumers.

Even before the pandemic impacted consumers’ lives, nearly half of adults watched gaming content on some platform and that share is sure to have increased. YouTube and Facebook have built-in audiences that are getting introduced to gaming content, while platforms dedicated to gaming content, such as Twitch and Mixer, appeal to more hardcore gamers. To attract the attention of viewers, brands need to find the right way to support the market and the content creators (the gaming influencers) that followers love to watch – without seeming overbearing or like they’re jumping on a bandwagon.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and gaming influencers

  • How gaming influencers will fare post-COVID-19

  • The importance of financial support for a burgeoning market

  • What followers’ loyalty toward gaming influencers means for platforms

This Report was written in early March 2020, and updated on April 30, 2020 with the COVID-19 implications.


For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Video games are games played on dedicated consoles, computers, mobile devices and handheld gaming systems.

  • Gaming content refers to videos, articles, discussions and other online activities about video games/gaming culture; including live streaming gaming videos, on-demand gaming videos, game walkthroughs, tutorials and news/vloggers.

  • A gaming influencer is a person who plays video games and creates gaming content for others to engage with.

  • A viewer or follower is a person who views gaming content or watches gameplay distributed by gaming influencers.

This Report also includes and analysis of live streaming platforms (eg Twitch, YouTube and Facebook) and opportunities for brands to reach consumers over these platforms and through gaming content. Professional gaming competitions (ie esports) are not the focus of this Report and will be discussed in eSports – US, August 2020.

Readers of this Report may be interested in Internet Influencers – US, March 2020, and other Reports in the Sports and Gaming Library including Gaming Trends: 2020 – US, December 2019, PC Gaming: Desktops and Laptops – US, January 2020 and Dedicated Console Gaming – US, February 2020.

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