We just launched our free Generations Report, and we’re incredibly excited to share it with you! The report uses Newzoo Consumer Insights to compare and contrast the ways different generations interact with games.
While there are many similarities between how Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers engage with games, there are just as many differences.
In this article, we will share some high-level takeaways and data from the report.
The Younger the Generation, the Likelier They Are to Play Games
Over the past two decades, gaming has flourished from a popular pastime into the focal point of entertainment as we know it. Gaming is part of life for most people, but it’s a way of life for many (young) consumers.
We interviewed over 72,000 people in 33 markets for our Consumer Insights research (learn about the methodology in this factsheet). Around 81% of Gen Z gamers reported playing games in the past six months, spending an average of 7 hours and 20 minutes on the pastime per week.
As you can see in the above page from the report, with each older generation, the prevalence of gamers decreases — as does the average weekly playtime.
Still, 42% of Baby Boomers — the oldest generation covered in this analysis — cited playing games, playing for an average of two-and-a-half hours per week. While this is less engagement than younger generations, it is certainly significant nonetheless. But why is engagement lower?
Older Generations Still Engage with Games but Spend More Time on Other Entertainment
As you’ll discover in the report, the lower engagement for older generations is due to the group dedicating more leisure time to traditional forms of entertainment. Meanwhile, Gen Z and Millennials spend more leisure time on games than any other pastime, including TV, movies, and even listening to music.
Different generations’ playing engagement trickles into spending — as it often does, with younger generations being even likelier to spend on the pastime.
Roughly 69% of Gen Z and 70% of Millennial consumers reported spending money on games in the past six months vs. 52% and 29% for Gen X and Baby Boomers, respectively.
But why is this the case? Download the full report for free for a deeper analysis (and more data!)
Gaming is now available on more screens than ever before. Mobile is by far the biggest segment (by revenues and players alike); however, the boundaries between platforms are blurring.
To that end, younger generations are more platform-agnostic than ever before, typically playing across multiple platforms:
You can see in the report page above that younger generations are likelier to play across PC, console, and mobile. This is partially tied to cross-progression and cross-platform play, but cloud gaming services and subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass also empower the platform-agnostic next generation of gamers.
Still, gaming today means a lot more than just playing — especially for younger generations. Socializing, viewing, and community engagement are also huge parts of the pastime, as reflected in Newzoo’s Gamer Segmentation, which is also included in the free Generations Report.
Spoiler: there are some exciting differences between how different generations embrace these newer facets of gaming.
75% of Gen Z Gamers Watch Game-Related Videos and Streams
Most younger-generation gamers watch game-related content (75% and 71% of Gen Z and Millennial gamers, respectively). Naturally, the crossover between those who play and those who view is huge:
The playing-viewing overlap for younger generations makes sense, as many young people play competitive online games and are drawn to gaming content creators as role models.
What’s more, platforms like Twitch and YouTube allow for more interaction between fans and creators than more traditional cultural figures, strengthening the connection between viewers and streamers.
Meanwhile, older gamers are less likely to watch game-related video content than their younger counterparts. Looking for the playing-viewing overlap for Gen X and Baby Boomers? Download the full report for free.
Gen Z and Younger Generations Engage More with Social and Community Aspects of Games
It is also important to mention the social and community aspect of gaming. Not only do many gamers play titles and watch their favorite creators live on sites like Twitch and YouTube; many also:
- Use games as a means to hang out with their friends (playing itself takes a backseat).
- Read, watch, and listen to industry news and developments via websites, apps, and podcasts.
- Discuss developments with friends, family, and peers (virtually and in person).
- And actively contribute to discussions on Reddit, Discord, ResetEra, and other communities.
As we delve into in the report, 40% of Gen Z and 37% of Millennial gamers engage with the pastime in more social- and community-based ways.
In fact, half of Gen Z gamers claim to use games to hang out without playing the main game (compared to 37% for Millennials and 28% for Gen X).
We asked respondents how they expect this to change in the future. The data speaks for itself: all groups expect to see hang out in games more without playing (70% for Gen Z, 63% for Millennials, and 52% for Gen X). But what does this mean for the future of gaming?
As we’ve mentioned, gaming has evolved over the last decade to become an experience, encompassing playing, viewing, and socializing. The next stage for gaming — and perhaps the internet as a whole — is the metaverse.
Our Consumer Insights data suggests that most generations will embrace the metaverse in some way, shape, or form — but none more than Gen Z.
How is the metaverse creating new opportunities for consumer engagement? Download the report to find out!