British video gamers spend more time battling it out in digital realms than any others in the world, according to research.
Players spent 4 hours and 36 minutes a week immersed in pixels, 98.6% longer than other countries, the equivalent of five extra days per year.
They log in for nearly twice as long as their international counterparts, who clock up 2 hours and 19 minutes a week on average.
The findings for offline and online gaming have been taken from a survey of more than 15,000 people from 16 of the world’s most advanced digital economies by virtual private network provider NordVPN.
The results come after the UK’s first gaming addiction centre reported high demand during the pandemic. Referrals to the National Centre for Gaming Disorders, which opened in 2019, doubled last year.
In contrast to Brits immersed in the virtual worlds, Swedes spend the least time gaming, logging in for just 30 minutes each week.
Outdoor activities in the country are ingrained in the national culture, with plenty of reasons to break off from the likes of Fortnite, Call of Duty and League of Legends.
The only activities the British respondents spent more time doing online were watching TV and films, averaging 7 hours and 55 minutes a week, followed by social media (4 hours and 57 minutes) and listening to music (4 hours and 42 minutes).
However, they slipped to fourth in the international table when it came to the total proportion of their lives spent online.
Despite putting in 58 hours and 45 minutes into their digital lives each week, they are eclipsed by Brazilians, who racked up 91 hours and 24 minutes.
At the other end of the scale, people in Japan — a country that created some of the best-known video game companies like Sega and Nintendo — spent 22 hours and 38 minutes online, and only 55 minutes on gaming.
Previous NordVPN research showed the five most hacked games, where the code has been edited to gain an advantage, based on videos uploaded to YouTube. Fortnite came top followed by Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty: Warzone and Destiny 2.
Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer and digital privacy expert at NordVPN, said: ‘Brits were big early adopters during the computer game revolution at the end of the last century and they’ve been in love with gaming ever since.
‘The UK was an important market for games manufacturers in the 1990s.
‘It was bursting at the seams with young fans with plenty of pocket money to spend and, with a cooler climate keeping Brits indoors for much of the year, it meant a nation of gamers was born.
‘This infatuation with an ever-expanding universe of games has become a national pastime and has been passed down from generation to generation.’
The gaming industry made vast profits during the pandemic, with players having the time and lack of many other activities to get behind screens.
Research by Ofcom released last summer showed that 62% of UK adults played across the various platforms, including mobile phones, during 2020.
Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more stories like this, check our news page.