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Social Connection in a Virtual World

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October 04, 2021


In 2020 as the world changed, so too did people’s entertainment habits. 

With daily routines and habits disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a shift not only in people’s behaviors around entertainment consumption but the emotional need states that it fulfilled. 

For many individuals, gaming was a way to fulfill these emotional needs. While engagement with video games increased during 2020, gaming itself is far from a new phenomenon. For most people, this increased engagement with video games signified a return to gaming, or an opportunity to reconnect with a pastime they had previously enjoyed but lacked the time to spend with it. 

This report explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on entertainment consumption, including engagement with gaming. This research aims to better understand what these behaviors and emotional connections will mean long-term for audiences and brands alike, providing insight into entertainment and gaming usage in a post-pandemic world. 

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Following a 10-month COVID-19 tracker by Omnicom MediaGroup (OMG) Primary Research, Activision Blizzard Media and OMG partnered with MFour Mobile Research to conduct a four-part diary study in the United States among Adults 18+, November - December 2020.

The diary study (n=407) was conducted for seven days alongside a pre & post-survey measuring the following: the typical week of a multi-media consumer; the adoption and revisitation of multi-media platforms due to the pandemic; the role of media in consumers’ lives during COVID and motivations behind digital entertainment choices; how platforms like gaming (playing and watching) served as a safe place for brands and consumers alike, and opportunities for interactive platforms in the future.

This research concluded with virtual focus groups (n=15).

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