More U.S. millennials subscribe to video games than traditional pay TV: survey

NEW YORK (Reuters) – More American millennials now subscribe to a video game service than to a traditional paid television service, according to a survey on Monday, as consumers favor new forms of entertainment that are shifting the broader media landscape.

FILE PHOTO: A woman plays a game on her cell phone while lying on the grass in Madrid, Spain, July 4, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Medina

About 53% of people born between 1983 and 1996 now pay for gaming services, versus 51% who pay for television, according to a survey from the accounting and professional services firm Deloitte.

That is compared with Deloitte’s survey last year, in which paid subscriptions among millennials were 44% for video games and 52% for television.

Paid television through cable, satellite or fiber – for instance Comcast Corp’s Xfinity, Dish Network Corp or AT&T Inc’s U-verse TV – has been challenged by changing viewer habits, particularly the rise of direct-to-consumer streaming services.

At the same time, video games and e-sports have soared in popularity, giving rise to an industry of competitive professional and amateur games watched in person and online by fans, alongside more casual gaming on mobile phones.

Players can subscribe to games like World of Warcraft from Activision Blizzard Inc. Riot Games Inc, a unit of Tencent Holdings Ltd , is working on a streaming mobile version of its hit League of Legends desktop game.

Electronic Arts Inc offers subscriptions to its games – which include FIFA 18, Madden NFL 19, The Sims 4, Star Wars Battlefront II and more – for Microsoft Corp’s Xbox and Sony Corp’s PlayStation.

In March, Alphabet Inc’s Google unveiled Stadia, its new browser-based video game streaming service to launch this year through its cloud technology.

The same month, Apple Inc also introduced a new digital video game subscription service called Apple Arcade.

Kevin Westcott, who leads Deloitte’s U.S. telecom, media and entertainment practice, said increased game consumption comes as more people fill their spare time playing on mobile devices instead of reading and other activities.

Gaming can provide social ties and communities of fans and players.

“Gaming companies have also been developing more compelling content and interaction with their consumers,” Westcott said in an email.

Deloitte’s 13th annual digital media trends survey was fielded by an independent research firm from December 2018 to February 2019 online among 2,003 U.S. consumers.

(The story removes typographical error in paragraph 3.)

Reporting by Hilary Russ; Additional reporting by Helen Coster; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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