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Understanding What Motivates the Gaming Audience

August 24, 2022

6 minute read

It's no secret that gaming is huge. But what kind of people are playing games? What motivates them? And what can brands do to reach this audience? Answering these questions is essential for anyone looking to advertise inside the mobile gaming market. But understanding how these players think is the best place to start.

Here are six categories of gamers to do just that:


1. The Super Swipers

For Super Swipers, gaming isn’t about becoming the best gamer or dedicating long hours to play. They’re typically either new to the gaming world or haven’t played consistently for a while. And as a result, games are a form of recreation for them; they’re attracted to the bite-sized gaming sessions and the simple game modes and game mechanics that most mobile games offer.

However, Super Swipers don’t consider themselves “gamers”, despite spending more time per week than the average gamer playing free-to-play word games or puzzle games like Candy Crush Saga. Even though their motivations for gaming are strongly tied to the enjoyment, progression, or simple achievements in gaming itself, they don’t feel they play video games enough or spend enough money to justify the label.


2. The Dabblers

Woman on street in urban area playing a mobile game

While some mobile gamers might dedicate hours upon hours to playing the most popular mobile games out there, others might only play for a few minutes here and there or even just watch others play. These so-called "Dabblers" might not think that they're fully a part of the gaming community, but their interest and engagement shouldn't be underestimated.

Dabblers are curious about gaming and want to try it out but find their lack of gaming skills an obstacle to fully committing to everything gaming culture has to offer. They often have a genuine love and interest in gaming and spend time learning about the game world. And while their interests might shift over time, leading them to focus on other things like social media, cooking, or shopping, Dabblers always find small ways to fit casual games into their lives.


3. The Denialists

Denialists are gamers who enjoy the gaming experience but do not readily identify as gamers due to their belief that the definition of the word gamer is largely misunderstood. They make up one in every ten gamers and tend to be highly engaged with gaming culture. They subscribe to gaming subscription services, use multiple platforms, and play a variety of video games.

Denialists enjoy the social aspects of gaming and its ability to allow them to routinely compete, including sports games or other competitive games that may be played from the first person perspective or which are the basis for professional esports. However, as they age, they tend to spend time focused on other aspects of their identity e.g., exercising, playing or watching sports, or keeping up with the latest news and current affairs. But in the end, their appreciation of the innovative nature and mental stimulation in gaming keeps the hobby a consistent pillar in their lives.


4. The Lifestylists

Man in park playing a mobile game

For Lifestylists, gaming is a mainstay of everyday entertainment. While their gaming interests are broad when it comes to platforms and genres, their preferred games tend to be amongst the most popular games. They invest time and money into the most popular elements of gaming culture, and the originality, visual graphics, and mental stimulation gaming provide are all highly appealing to them. Gaming is a preferred hobby, and they prioritize it over other more traditional entertainment interests.

Lifestylists devote extra time to learning about the gaming space and industry by reading gaming news and appreciating the skills of other players by watching gaming streams and professional gamers during esports matches. However, outside of gaming, they are least likely to be found watching TV more than once a week. They would much rather spend their time going to the movies, reading, creating art, or listening to podcasts.


5. The Player One

Player Ones are the group of gamers that most people think of when they hear the word gamer. These gamers don’t just like to play, they love it. They are young, game whenever and wherever they can, and spend frequently and spend big on their love for gaming. Yet, Player Ones only represent one in four gamers. They’ve been playing games consistently for decades, making gaming a core part of their identity.

They stay on top of the gaming world, reading the latest gaming news and getting their hands on new games to play as soon as (or even before) they’re officially released. This behavior also extends to gaming hardware, with Player Ones more likely to have the latest and greatest gaming tech compared to most other gaming segments and are often tapped by friends and family for their advice on all things tech.


6.  The Next Leveler

Man playing console game in his living room

Next Levelers are the most devoted members of the gaming community. Gaming is their preferred space and one where they can freely express themselves, share and explore. It is their most valued past-time and a daily personal passion. Like Player Ones, they know everything about the gaming world. Ask them about a video game character or about the lore of a gaming franchise and the full depth of their gaming knowledge is revealed.

Next Levelers spend more than any other segment on gaming tech and hardware, averaging over $800 every six months. But having the latest console, graphics card, or game isn't enough. They want to be the best at what they do. That's why they're always on the lookout for new ways to improve their skills.



As brands look to understand how to best reach and engage with gamers, they need to start by understanding the different types of gamers that exist and what motivates them. Only then can they create holistic gaming strategies that take into account the ever-changing landscape of the gaming world.

For more information about Activision Blizzard Media's in-game ad experiences, click here or contact ads@activisionblizzardmedia.com to learn more.



The research was conducted by Activision Blizzard Media through a quantitative study among adults over the age of 18 who played, watched, or engaged with video games at least once in the past month. Gower’s Distance clustering was used to identify unique subsets of gamers, by maximizing differences in response to variables in our survey. The online-based study surveyed 21,168 gamers split across the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.


About Activision Blizzard Media

Activision Blizzard Media Ltd is the gateway for brands to the leading interactive entertainment company with hundreds of millions of monthly active users around the world. Our legendary portfolio includes iconic mobile game franchises such as Candy Crush™, esports like the Call of Duty League™,  the Overwatch League™ and some of the top PC and console gaming franchises such as Call of Duty®, World of Warcraft®, and StarCraft®. The idea is simple: great game experiences offer great marketing experiences.

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