Why demand for cross-platform multiplayer games is growing – 2021

Unity’s 2021 gaming report discovered that there was a 38% increase in people playing HD games, a 28% increase in people playing mobile games, and a 52% shift in the difference between weekend and weekday gaming, in weekday gaming’s favor.

At the end of the 2021 gaming report, we predicted that cross-platform between mobile and HD would be the future of multiplayer games and that new habits around gaming regularity and playing online with friends would be formed by those who had adopted gaming during the pandemic. 

We’re pleased to say that the results of our latest survey reinforce some of these ideas, and want to run you through the key points of the findings. 

1. Over half (56%) of all Americans played multiplayer games in the past year and a significant majority (87%) of those gamers have played cross-platform games.

Gaming as a whole has seen record-breaking levels of engagement this past year with multiplayer games specifically seeing massive engagement. The top types of multiplayer games played among multiplayer gamers were puzzle (52%) shooter (51%) and sports (31%). 

Although it’s unsurprising to see that younger adults (ages 18-44) are more likely than older adults (ages 45+) to be multiplayer gamers (82% vs. 34%), it’s important to highlight that there is still a very significant proportion of those in the age 45+ bracket (over a third) who are multiplayer gamers.

2. 87% of multiplayer gamers have played cross-platform games in the past year, and they are seeking out more cross-platform games to play. 43% of cross-platform gamers express that they want more cross-platform game options.

Gamers want to play on their terms – they want to play games, with one another, on any platform, with as little friction as possible and they want more games that can deliver this experience. Below, we can see the demand for cross-platform games outstrips that of platform-specific games in most genres. 

In fact, more than half of cross-platform gamers (51%) would like to see more cross-platform shooter games being made. Just over two in five cross-platform gamers (41%) would like to see more cross-platform puzzle games, and 31% would like to see more battle royale cross-platform games being made.

On average, cross-platform gamers have played 4.1 cross-platform titles in the past year, with over a third (38%) having played four or more. 

3. Among cross-platform gamers, more than 2 in 5 (44%) play on both mobile and console and more than 1 in 4 (29%) play on mobile and not console. 

Mobile can’t be an afterthought when it comes to cross-platform. The divide between mobile and console gaming has blurred as mobile shows to be a critical platform to support with its popularity amongst crossplay gamers. 

Historically the line separating console games and mobile games was clear and distinct, but mobile is proving to be an extremely critical platform to include for cross-platform experiences. 

With advances in the mobile hardware available reducing the gulf in technical limitations, as well as huge growth in mobile gaming as a default in key growth markets around the world, mobile is a critical element to cross-platform success.

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