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94% of Gen Alpha are game enthusiasts, but gaming has universal appeal

Newzoo’s latest report analyses the different motivations of gamers in a variety of age groups
94% of Gen Alpha are game enthusiasts, but gaming has universal appeal
Date Type Companies Involved Key Datapoint
Oct 17, 2023 other Newzoo
  • 94% of Gen Alpha and 43% of baby boomers are game enthusiasts
  • Mobile has the highest proportion of paying users

Newzoo has just released a new report examining how different generations engage with gaming.

Gamers are present in every age group, however there’s a distinct trend of gaming being increasingly popular with each successive generation. Thus Newzoo finds that 40% of baby boomers engage with games in some capacity - with 43% being game enthusiasts - but that figure jumps to 94% for Gen Alpha.

Newzoo also predicts that in the future we'll see higher participation among older generations with new technology, paving the way for more accessible forms of engagement.

The report reveals that on average, baby boomers spend 11% of their leisure time every week playing games, with a gradual increase through successive generations until Gen Alpha, with a weekly time share of 22%.

However, there is a significant difference in the behaviours of gamers in different age groups. Younger generations (Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha) are more likely to play on console or PC, both platforms which are less accessible than mobile gaming but attract higher levels of brand loyalty. However, younger generations are also more likely to play on multiple platforms, including mobile, with 50% doing so.

The generation gap

Mobile remains the most popular gaming platform across all generations being the only platform used by more than 50% of any generation. The platform is particularly popular among Gen Z, with 81% of the generation’s gamers playing mobile games, compared to 70% of baby boomers. The platform’s accessibility and the prevalence of free-to-play titles means that phones are successful at onboarding new players, in comparison to other platforms with a higher entry barrier.

Gamers in all generations are willing to make in-game purchases, with a consistently high player-to-payer conversion rate. Newzoo notes that mobile has the highest share of paying players of all platforms. Gen Z and Millenials are the most likely to be big spenders, with console gaming having the highest share of such spenders due to the prevalence of expensive titles in comparison to mobile.

However, mobile still has the highest proportion of payers among all generations. 38% of Gen Alpa, Gen Z, and millennials have spent money on mobile games in the last six months, compared to 26% of Gen X’ers and 16% of baby boomers. Across all generations, in-game currency is cited as the the most popular in-app purchase with new characters, gear, and expansion or content packs also proving popular.

Genre specifics

On average, Gen Alpha play six different genres of game, compared to just 2.8 genres for baby boomers. Adventure games are identified as having the broadest appeal, being in the top three genres for four generations, and the number one genre for Gen Alpha, Gen Z, and millennials.

Viewing gaming content such as gameplay streams, YouTube videos, esports contests and so on is cited as key to engaging younger generations. While people of all generations do view such gaming content, its younger generations are more likely to do so, with 70% of Gen Alpha both watching and playing.

Gameplay video content is identified as having the broadest appeal, while comedic videos and compilations are especially popular among younger players. Newzoo notes that producing such content offers an attractive way for developers and publishers to connect with their players.

The report also finds that game enthusiasts across age demographics are embracing branded content. Over 50% of Gen Alphas, Gen Z’ers, and millennials reported that they had discovered new brands while gaming. Newzoo notes that games are well suited for brands looking to deepen their connections with their target audience, especially as more gamers are seeking connections in the real world.

A recent Newzoo study found that RPG is the highest-earning genre of 2023 so far.