That stereotypical picture of gamers that you probably have in your head is no longer relevant.
Gameplay-livestreaming website Twitch recently commissioned a study of gamers by Neil Howe, who coined the term “millennial.” The researcher looked into the attitudes and outlooks of people who play games and those who don’t, and he found that gamers are not the basement-dwellers that pop culture lazily paints them as. Instead, gamers tend to have a better relationship with their friends and family. This highlights how young people are growing up with a full acceptance of video games, but it also suggests the need for a social platform where gamers can gather — some place like Twitch.
Howe’s study found that 63 percent of Americans are gamers, which he defines as anyone who played on a digital device in the last 60 days. Those gamers are more likely to strongly agree with the statement, “My friends are the most important thing in my life” — 57 percent compared to 35 percent for non-gamers.
The study also found that gamers are more likely to have a college education and agree with the position that “having a positive impact on society is important.”
Twitch told GamesBeat that it commissioned the study to see if the data would reveal anything about why the livestreaming platform is growing so quickly, and the company thinks these numbers explain a lot.
“We always felt that Twitch’s success is tied in with millennials,” Twitch chief revenue officer Jonathan Simpson-Bint told GamesBeat. “Twitch, like Twitter and Facebook and maybe even YouTube, could only be a thing because of millennials. The way millennials think and interact with games and games media is fairly unique, and the research reveals that.”
Simpson-Bint noted the huge overlap between gamers and millennials. More than 70 percent of people born between 1980 and 2000, the generation known as millennials, play games. That’s compared to just over 60 percent for Gen X.
While these people are gaming more than ever, they also have social tendencies that manifest in real-world friendships but also impact how they consume media. For Twitch, that means gamers are coming to their site to watch gameplay from real people and talk about games and other topics in the chat.
Simpson-Bint says that he thinks millennials feel comfortable on Twitch because everything on the site is created by the community.
“Millennials want to contribute and be part of something,” he said. “Twitch plays to that because it’s very grassroots. It’s a long way away from being the man. It has a streak of authenticity, which really appeals to millennials.”
Twitch generates the bulk of its revenue through advertising, and the company thinks this report should help advertisers understand how gameplay livestreaming is an ideal platform to reach out to young people.
“A lot of brand managers and marketers right now are wrestling with ways to reach millennials,” said Simpson-Bint. “That group is much more hooked into online. They’re much more social. They have a very different attitude toward brands, and Twitch creates a fantastic environment for those brands to engage with millennials.”