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Newzoo recently released a new report on generational differences in gaming and digital engagement. The report shows how each generation — Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X — engages with different forms of entertainment, including gaming, music, films & TV and books & comics. These insights also take a broader look at non-entertainment activities like sports. Overall, the findings show that Gen Z is becoming more engaged with multiple forms of media with a preference for interactive media that requires active engagement.
Newzoo’s results indicate that Gen Z is participating in “active” forms of engagement across multiple forms of media. While passive consumption (viewing and listening) is still more common, active engagement (reading related material, creating content, playing) is catching up. This holds true across different forms of entertainment including video games, film, TV, books and fitness.
Out of the forms of media Newzoo cited, the report says gaming commands the most active hours. In addition to playing, Newzoo also includes livestreaming or making gaming-related content as a form of active engagement. The report notes that all three generations spend more time engaging via digital activities than physical ones.
One of the reasons for this change could be that Gen Z simply prefers gaming as a leisure activity and gaming is, by nature, an interactive medium. Gen Z being a very gaming-focused generation could help create more interest in other interactive media in the future.
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So what does this have to do with the metaverse?
Newzoo concludes that the increased desire for interactive digital engagement in collective spaces foreshadows the metaverse. Michelle Rouhof, Newzoo’s CEO, says in a statement, “You could consider this the foundation of ‘the metaverse’ as games are now a destination for all types of engagement including creating, socializing, viewing and playing.”
While the report’s findings show that social activities are still primarily physical rather than digital, it also shows that many people across generations also spend multiple hours a week on digital activities. The report also suggests that gaming brands can help bridge the gap between the engaged users of their product and digital social spaces.
This is also true in the reverse — gaming IP itself is expanding to multiple forms of media particularly film and TV. The report shows this expansion of gaming as a platform for other forms of entertainment as well as gaming IP that is transcending into other entertainment mediums.
Rouhof adds, “This not only impacts game companies that continue to expand their horizons to include other forms of entertainment, but also consumer brands and the traditional media value chain that relies largely on advertising. Younger generations now want to actively engage with content and IP through creation, play, and simultaneous socializing. Fandom can no longer be built with passive experiences alone.”
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