EE reveals number of mobile gamers increased by almost a fifth (18%) during lockdown and launches exclusive new mobile gaming add-on with inclusive data

Via EE

Apr 30, 2021

  • Gaming on a smartphone has surged in the past 12 months, with 69% of gamers playing more during lockdown
  • Data usage for mobile gaming has increased 31% across the past six months on the EE network*
  • A quarter of gamers said that socialising with friends and family was the number one reason they play games, highlighting the need for reliable connectivity
  • Faster network speeds and larger phone screens are the biggest factors in the growing appeal of mobile gaming
  • Over three-quarters (76%) would stream the latest, high-quality games on their smartphone more often if they didn’t have to worry about the impact on their mobile data allowance
  • Research marks the launch of an exclusive new mobile gaming add-on from EE, featuring Xbox Game Pass Ultimate with unlimited mobile data

The number of mobile gamers has increased by almost a fifth (18%) during lockdown, with more women (54%) than men (44%) picking up a mobile game for the first time – according to an independent UK poll commissioned for the launch of EE’s new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate add-on with unlimited data for gaming.

A quarter of gamers said that spending time with friends and family was the number one reason they play games and almost a fifth (17%) had plans to play with friends outdoors while lockdown measures were still in place.

The smartphone is now the main gaming device for a quarter of British gamers, with larger phone screens and faster mobile network connections - such as 5G - the top reasons why mobile gaming has become more appealing. Mobile gaming has come a long way since Snake – the nation’s favourite retro phone game, according to the study – with incredibly detailed games now streamed straight to a smartphone from the cloud, over a mobile network.

Over two-thirds (69%) of those who game on smartphones said they have played more during lockdown, despite spending more time at home and less time travelling. Total data usage across some of the most popular mobile games on EE’s network has increased 31%* over the past six months (Q4 2020 vs Q1 2021) as lockdown restrictions have started to lift.

Over three quarters (76%) said they would stream more high-quality games on their smartphone if they didn’t have to worry about their data allowance. The findings come as EE launches its new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate add-on with unlimited data for gaming. The add-on will allow EE pay monthly smartphone customers to enjoy over 100 Xbox games on their smartphones for just £10 per month, saving over £100 a year.

The research also revealed that with limitations on travel, and space at a premium at home, mobile gamers have been inventive about where to game during lockdown. Almost a third (29%) admitted to playing on the toilet, 15% have snuck in a few games when they should have been working and one-in-ten (9%) even headed to the garden shed to avoid distractions.

Gamers said that de-stressing (64%) topped the list of reasons they chose to play video games during lockdown, followed by passing the time (51%) and a sense of escapism (40%).

**Alistair Wilson, Director of Partnerships, EE ** said: “It’s clear from the research that mobile gaming is on the rise, and it offers a whole host of benefits – not least being a really important way for people to keep in touch with friends and family during the lockdowns of the last 12 months. A s restrictions lift, our new gaming add-on will allow customers to access and play over 100 high quality games with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - on the UK’s number one network for 5G and gaming - and all without the need to worry about their monthly data allowance.”

**Aoife Wilson, games expert, host, writer and streamer commented: ** “The great thing about EE's new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate add-on is that it's both an accessible way into gaming for newcomers, while also offering seasoned gamers a new way to enjoy the same titles we're used to playing on our consoles. Coupled with the impressive mobile gaming accessories that are available nowadays, it's a great way to change up the way we all play."

Utilising the speed and low latency of 5G, high-quality games can now be enjoyed on a mobile device via Xbox Cloud Gaming (beta) with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – including Xbox exclusives like Forza Horizon 4, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Sea of Thieves.

Further information on EE’s new Xbox Game Pass Ultimate add-on, please see: ee.co.uk .

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