Over 3 billion people play video games worldwide. Thanks to mobile apps and gaming consoles, people have access to on-screen entertainment at the click of a finger. Gen Z has grown up knowing nothing different, but what about the Millennials of society who have watched video games evolve?
From playing Snake on their very first mobile device to embarking on adventures with Spyro on their Nintendo, and making friends on Club Penguin to building communities on Sims, the virtual reality games we’re blessed with today are very different from what Millennials grew up with. How exactly has that made gaming habits different across generations? Let’s have a look.
Time spent gaming
It might come as a surprise, but the twenty-something to forty-something-year-olds are playing games more often and for longer periods of time than the younger adults and teens of the world. ExpressVPN’s research reveals that 68% of people in their 30s and 40s admit to playing video games every day, compared to 58% of people in their 20s. Interestingly, millennials also tend to play games for longer, with 6% of 26-35-year-olds playing games for 24 hours, compared to 3% of those aged 16-25.
The study, which included responses from 1,000 professed gamers in the U.S. and 1,000 in the UK, reveals a lot about gaming patterns. Aside from the frequency and duration of gameplay, the study found that millennials tend to have a stronger emotional connection to gaming, with many citing it as a form of stress relief and social connection. As the findings suggest, one reasonable explanation for this is that millennials have watched the video game industry evolve – they’ve been on the journey every step of the way. It’s a way for them to escape and indulge in nostalgia. For Gen Z, playing games could just be a way to pass the time.
Differences in types of games played
Not only is there a difference in frequency, duration and reason, but there’s a difference in game choice too. While findings suggest that Call of Duty is a popular choice for both generations, there is a distinct difference across other gaming decisions. Gen Z tends to opt for metaverse platforms like Minecraft and engage with virtual worlds more often than millennials. This suggests that Gen Z prefers games that require a level of intelligence and strategy.
On the contrary, millennials have been found to prefer games like Grand Theft Auto, Fortnite, and Mario, each of which carries a heavier element of competition. Requiring less brain power could explain why millennials spend longer playing games than Gen Z and perhaps become more addicted to gaming. There’s a difference across devices, too, with more Gen Z players opting for their mobile phone devices more often than millennials.
Video games are consumed across generations and play a vital role in people’s free time. Yet, while consumed on a global scale, the findings here reveal just how consumption patterns differ depending on age.