Quantic Foundry surveys say gamers are seeking more relaxing and less intense gaming experiences during COVID-19


How has the novel coronavirus pandemic altered the types of games people play, if at all? According to some new survey results from Quantic Foundry, COVID-19 has shifted gamers’ appetites away from challenging and intense titles to more relaxed and soothing affairs.

The results come from surveys completed at pre- and post-COVID times (here meaning when most countries had shelter-in-place orders) in the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, factoring for the impact of gender, age, and casual/core/hardcore gamers. The sample sizes ended up with over 47K respondents pre-COVID and over 10K respondents post-COVID. The results found that the desire for difficult and higher intensity games trended downward to roughly a difference of 3.5 percentile points.

The study does note a few caveats, namely that correlation does not equal causation and that there were a variety of other world events that likely contributed to this shift in what players seek from their games. All the same, it’s perhaps unsurprising that a lot of people wanted to be hugged by their games and not punched, and the data are interesting to read regardless.

For those who are unfamiliar, Quantic Foundry is a gaming analytics consulting firm led by Nick Yee, who some might recall as the person that came up with the Gamer Motivation Model a few years ago. You can read more of their research in the list below.


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James Balmer

I guess they just ignored The Last of Us 2 being the fastest selling PS4 game ever. You know… maybe the most intense video game ever haha

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Richard de Leon III

Personally I preferred easier fare ever since EQ1 broke me(damn you vex thal). Which is why i prefer solo content and auto-queue and farming.


Interesting! I used to be all about chill games, but being cooped up in my house since March has made me dip my toe back into PvP games like Destiny 2, Apex Legends and CoD: Warzone for some excitement. It’s been about 20 years since I’ve done really any PvP, but this old man’s still got a little left in the tank!

Jeremy Barnes

Covid didn’t change anything. Games (including MMOs) should be made with fun in mind as the 1st and most important thing. Sometimes, fun means a challenging battle, mechanics, etc. Sometimes it may mean diving into spreadsheets to figure out something optimal.

Unfortunately, some devs (and some gamers) forgot somewhere along the way that challenge should be in service of fun and that shoving ‘challenge’ and homework down people’s throats wasn’t something most people wanted.

Does not check email

People are stuck at home. People are out of work. Some people are getting ground up at their jobs such as healthcare.

I like my mmo time and there’s maybe a little too much time on my hands. I like my time online to be an escape, fun and familiar so it’s homecoming COH. I don’t want politics, gruesome or heavy right now either.


in my opinion its not having to do that much with covid as it has with average mmo gamer’s age increasing and if everyone compares themselves now to 10 years ago, we want more relaxing activities now(RL duties play a role of course). Also people who had abandoned mmo gaming for years returned since it was a way of entertainment at home and first they wouldnt want to dive in directly to something very hard and intense and second as I said previously RL duties which means they got to interrupt often(kids, housework, work-from-home…you name it)