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Game On: Canada’s Gaming Behaviours Unlocked

It’s official: Canadians love gaming. The Canadian Gaming Association recently confirmed that it contributes to a whopping $15 billion of Canada’s economy from online games to Kickstarter board games, directly supporting more than 135,000 full-time jobs. Further to that, a recent study revealed the country is home to one of the largest per capita populations of video game players in the world – from Candy Crush-ers to Mario Kart racers and Call of Duty devotees. Our desire to play is an innate part of human nature – and the ways in which we play can tell us a lot about who we are. So, how do we ‘game’ in Canada? We went back to the origins of our gaming fascination and carried out a survey, asking Canadian provinces about their favourite traditional games, why we love them and what our game play habits say about us. Ready to get your game face on? This is what we found:

Canada’s Top 10 Traditional Games

Canada’s top 10 traditional games to play with friends and family Image Source: Ruby Fortune Canadians are a nation of innovators. From peanut butter to the Wonderbra and the IMAX cinema, many of the world’s most innovative products have come from the Land of the Maple Leaf. Not only was it Canadians that invented the rules behind basketball, hockey, lacrosse and 5-pin bowling, but the locals also create two out of 10 of their most-loved traditional games – the national treasure, Trivial Pursuit and Yahtzee, created by a Canadian couple aboard their yacht (“Yacht-zee!” Get it?). Yet, it was American-invented Monopoly – the money-based board game created to teach consumers about capitalism and income equality – that took the top spot. In fact, this was the favourite for five of our provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. How do our other provinces fare? While Manitoba and Newfoundland & Labrador chose Scrabble, Newfoundlanders are the ultimate Scrabble superfans – with 75% of respondents choosing this as their favourite game. Saskatchewanites opted for traditional card game Cribbage, whereas New Brunswickers backed their own with Trivial Pursuit. Gender differences in Canadians’ favourite games Image Source: Ruby Fortune

How Does Each Region Shape Up?

Does the region that Canadians reside in really change the game – and can where someone lives lend a hand to the cards you play? If you’re looking for the most chilled out Canadians, New Brunswickers bring an easy game as the most likely to let you win. If you’re ready to turn up the temperature, however, turns out Nova Scotians were more likely to temporarily fall out with the person they’re playing against than any other province. They also came joint-second for those most likely to get “shouty” and start raising their voice – making them the ones not to cross. Getting heated is one thing, but cheating? If you’re looking to play the blame game and call somebody’s bluff, look to the 13% of Newfoundlanders that are very likely to try and cheat. What are your chances of catching them out? Well, they’re almost twice as likely to cheat than the average Canadian, so perhaps there’s your clue. This was in stark contrast to the Prairie provinces. It’s merely a game to Manitoba and Saskatchewan. No respondents in those provinces say they would be likely to temporarily fall out with someone in a game situation, or raise their voice to a teammate or opponent in anger. And aside from New Brunswick who came in top, they’re the two most likely provinces to let someone win.

The Original Player Vs The New-Age Gamer

Though 64% of all Canadians play games every month, this number rises to 71% in 18-24-year olds and 72% in 25-34 year olds. Surprisingly, only 57% of over-65s could say the same, fuelling the question: are traditional games making a comeback in today’s generation? Apparently, the younger generation are shattering their stereotypes, proving they’re not all incapable of stepping away from the digital space. 71% of young respondents admitted they still play traditional games (only 5% less than those that play video games), signifying the gap is closing as many make a conscious choice to return to the analogue gaming table. In fact, it seems the younger generation are bringing about a new-board gamer; they generally prefer games of dexterity and physical skill compared to other age groups, whereas older people are far less likely to have a favourite type of game. If you’re looking for a challenger and someone who’ll take things seriously, the younger generation proved to be the most competitive – as well as the most likely to have feelings of frustration during a game. It’s all fair game, though – they are far less likely to cheat than 25-44-year olds, of which 20% would do so without owning up to it!

So, Why Do We Play?

Why Canadians play traditional games Image Source: Ruby Fortune Aside from the fact that these games are a fundamental part of our development – it seems Canadians have caught on to the authentic connections that analogue gaming can offer. Our data found that 54% of Canadians play games to connect with their family and friends. In fact, from brain games to puzzle games, 39% of us play because of the social qualities that gaming can offer us, with many of us happy to use holidays such as Thanksgiving as an excuse to give a game a go. With so many Canadians now choosing to play, what are the other benefits of this shift in preference? The study found that the highest levels of emotion evoked by board games were satisfaction (82%), friendliness (81%) and enthusiasm (76%), suggesting gameplay not only promotes good vibes and healthy stimulation but an overall sense of wellbeing… so keep on playing on! So, there you have it – do you recognize yourself in these gameplay habits? Or perhaps your playing style sits outside the rules? Either way, whether you’re big on boardgames or a sucker for the screen, turns out gameplaying could see you reaping more rewards than first thought. Age differences in Canadians’ habits while playing traditional games Image Source: Ruby Fortune The research was conducted by Censuswide between 19.07.2019 – 23.07.2019 with 1,002 (Aged 18+) respondents in Canada who have ever played a traditional game. The survey covered all provinces (except for Prince Edward Island where there was no data available). Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. Quotas were applied to nationally representative proportions for age, gender and region.
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