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Entering A New Era Of Engagement

Despite varied age gaps each generation shows that they share similar interests

A new report from Newzoo highlights how different generations are engaging with various forms of media.

Video games have grown exponentially over the last couple of years and are no longer a hobby for a niche audience but a much broader one. Newzoo’s report has shown that younger generations (Gen Z) are turning towards game platforms to stay engaged in their daily lives, spending an average of 12.2 hours per week on video games. 

Some misconceptions toward video games are that children no longer want to play outside as they prefer to spend time on video games. However, the report shows that to be false by highlighting that time spent gaming doesn’t mean that younger generations are more averse to physical sports.

Screen time and media platform engagements

The report shows that mobile has become the dominant platform for assessing media and IP across the U.S. Each individual consumes 4.3 hours of screen time per day on their mobile devices while an average of 3 hours is spent on PC, TV and other devices. It’s worth noting that 60% of all media engagements happen on mobile devices.

U.S individuals spend a total of 1.8B hours on video games and virtual worlds, 2.2B hours on social media and video-sharing platforms, 2.3B hours on broadcast TV and subscription services, 1.6B hours on radio, podcasts and music apps, then spend an average of 0.9B hours on news apps, websites, blogs and magazines with. 

The rise of virtual reality and video games has accelerated time spent on these devices, and although TV racks up more hours in passive viewership, social media and video-sharing platforms aren’t far behind. Individuals spend nearly 12 hours a week on active forms of media like video games and virtual worlds.

Game content across non-gaming media platforms

In terms of broadcast TV and subscription services, HBO’s The Last of Us has gone on to become one of the most-watched TV shows and is being regarded as one of the best video game adaptations we ever ever got. The series premiered in January with a second season already confirmed.

For social media and video-sharing platforms, Newzoo’s report outlines VanoossGaming, a YouTube game-themed channel that has amassed 26 million subscribers. For radio, podcasts and music apps, there’s also been an increase in the number of video game podcasts on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. 

Video games as a platform for entertainment

Fortnite and Roblox continue to expand by hosting live events and forging partnerships with brands that are looking to alter the future of gaming for good and allow people to have unique digital identities that they can share beyond cooperative play. 

The report shows that as of October last year, Fortnite has garnered nearly 200 million active players on console, PC and mobile. Movie directors, music stars and others have often utilised the game’s significant player base to reach millions of consumers across the globe. 

Epic Games partnered with singer, actor and songwriter Ariana Grande in 2021 to create a live music event within the Fortnite universe called the Rift Tour. In movies, Fortnite players were also treated to a special exclusive scene from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker during the Live at Risky Reels event in 2019. And in fashion, Fortnite has partnered with some of the biggest brands including Gucci, Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike and Moncler to launch in-game skins and other co-branded clothing items. 

Roblox on the other hand is being played by nearly 59 million people on PC, console and mobile with the majority of players being young adults and teenagers.

Active engagement with entertainment is on the rise

The report shows that individuals spend 4.5 hours per day on passive entertainment such as viewing or listening while others spend 4.3 hours per day on active entertainment like reading, creating or playing video games. 

Millennials in the US spend the majority of there hours, 17.01 on watch movies and TV series. This is followed by enjoying music for 15 hours, and video games for 14.46 hours. Millennials spend on average, 11 hours on sports and other fitness activates. Movies and TV series have become incredibly popular among individuals in the US. 

GenZ show they spend there time in a similar way, with over 14 hours spend on movies and series. Music and video games are again popular with this generation, on average spending just under 15 hours on both forms of media. GenZ spends on average 12.24 on sports and fitness. Surprisingly, Newzoo’s report shows that audio entertainment slightly trumps game content in terms of weekly engagement hours. Ultimately, music, movies and video games outshine other forms of IP and activities among GenZ in the US.

Is video games the most active form of entertainment?

The report details that an overall 72% of individuals spend time on video games, 60% on sports and fitness, 30% on movies and series, 33% on music and 62% on books and comics. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that they prefer playing, creating and reading about video game content over passive enjoyment.

This also suggests that gaming audiences prefer interactive and native ways of brand engagement compared to traditional ads. Active engagement will provide brands with the opportunity of engaging their target audience with products and services in a more hands-on way. 

Top Picks for entertainment IP

The Newzoo report asked respondents to identify their top ten brands out of a list of 27 well known brands or franchises. These included popular media personalities to video games and tech companies.

Apple ranked highly for Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X as did Marvel, with both of these brands ranking either first and second. Other popular brands were Stranger Things, Star Wars and video games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto.

Digital Vs Real World 

Newzoo’s report shows that US individuals are actually spending more of their leisure time on digital devices (6.6 hours per day) compared to time spent on physical activities (2.9 hours per day). 

However, these leisure activities are mostly spent on passive entertainment such as watching movies, TV or news on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and others. 

GenZ shared that their top 5 leisure activities include watching videos online (TikTok, YouTube etc), watching movies, news and TV on streaming platforms, playing video games on console, PC and mobile, listening to music and podcasts, and lastly watching movies in theatres. 

Millennials shared that they spend most of their leisure time on movies, TV and streaming platforms, watching videos online, listening to music and podcasts, playing video games, and watching movies.

GenX on the other hand, spends their leisure time watching movies, TV and news on streaming platforms, watching videos online, watching movies in theaters, listening to music or podcasts and playing video games. 

What about the metaverse?

The metaverse, as we’ve often written about, has the potential to become revolutionary and although there’s no single acceptable definition for the nascent space yet, Tim Sweeney of Epic Games calls it a “persistant, shared, 3D virtual spaces in a virtual universe.” 

Newzoo however, defines the metaverse as “an interconnected and interoperable network of persistent, virtual worlds that are populated by large numbers of players who interact with each other via 3D digital avatars, offering users a heightened sense of immersion and presence.” 

The report shows that the metaverse could offer richer engagement possibilities for all types of consumers. While traditional media often focuses on passive engagement, social media adds a socialising layer and facilitates creation. Game environments on the other hand, will add even more possibilities by bringing active play into the mix. 

Although there isn’t a single tech company or brand building the metaverse, Meta appears to be the most dedicated company that aims to bring its metaverse ambitions to life and to reach global adoption, the nascent space will have to be inclusive and safe for everyone.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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