What Does Gen Z Think of Gaming, Brands, and Bitcoin?

What Does Gen Z Think of Gaming, Brands, and Bitcoin?

HOBOKEN, NJ – 16 MAY 2024 – The ZBD Gen Z Gamer Study, unveiled today, elucidates the pivotal role of video gaming in the lives of 18-25-year-olds, influencing how they engage, socialize, express themselves, and interact with brands and influencers. The study, based on a survey of over 2,000 Gen Z gamers in the U.S., offers a profound analysis of the factors shaping Gen Z behaviors, delivering invaluable insights for brands, advertisers, game developers, and publishers.

Gen Z’s spending power in the U.S. is estimated to exceed $360 billion, with many yet to transition into adulthood. With an astonishing 65% of respondents dedicating over three hours daily to video games and 72% asserting they can be their authentic selves online, gaming emerges as a vital conduit for reaching and engaging Gen Z. The study suggests that businesses must reevaluate existing models and assumptions regarding identity, social interaction, entertainment, and economy to connect meaningfully with this demographic.

Principal Insights from the ZBD Gen Z Gamer Study

  • Gaming Habits and Authenticity: 65% of Gen Z gamers indulge in gaming for more than three hours daily. 72% feel they can be their true selves online, though a significant 34% deem the gaming environment too toxic.
  • Gaming Preferences and Advertisements: Gen Z gamers predominantly favor casual mobile games (57%), which typically monetize through advertising. However, 43% state that ads in games disrupt their experience.
  • Brand Engagement: A significant 81% of Gen Z gamers have played or would play a game based on a non-gaming brand, such as Nikeland in Roblox. Furthermore, 67% would trust a brand more if endorsed by familiar influencers or content creators, and 80% believe in fair rewards for these creators.
  • Monetization and Bitcoin: 70% of Gen Z gamers engage in side hustles. 47% agree that ‘Bitcoin is real money,’ and 74% would be more receptive to in-game ads if rewarded with Bitcoin.
  • Platform Preferences and Influencers: Males are most likely to follow influencers on YouTube (79%), while females prefer TikTok (75%). Among prominent influencers, Andrew Tate is the most liked by males but the most disliked by females.

Commentary from ZBD’s Chief Strategy Officer, Ben Cousens

“Gen Z, as the first generation of digital natives, exhibits stark differences from previous cohorts. Digital subscriptions, still novel to over-30s, are rapidly becoming outdated for Gen Z, akin to the obsolescence of the Sears catalog. It is crucial for the gaming industry, consumer brands, and advertisers to comprehend and engage with this technologically adept generation, which prioritizes authenticity and equity.”

In-Depth Findings from the ZBD Gen Z Gamer Study

  • Social Gaming Dynamics: 43% of Gen Z gamers view gaming as a social activity rather than purely for entertainment. While 72% feel authentic online, only 55% feel safe, and 34% find the online environment too toxic.
  • Advertising Tolerance: The most favored gaming category is casual mobile games, which typically feature ads. Half of the respondents find ads slightly annoying but tolerable in free games, whereas 43% feel ads ruin the gaming experience. Nonetheless, 74% would accept ads if compensated with Bitcoin.
  • Data Privacy Concerns: 42% of Gen Z gamers believe that large gaming companies possess excessive data about them, while only 18% disagree. Additionally, 23% own Bitcoin, with 47% recognizing it as real money. Interest in Bitcoin rewards in games stands at 51%, with 22% disinterested.
  • Gaming and Side Hustles: 65% of surveyed individuals play video games for over three hours daily, and 53% spend more than $20 monthly on games. Gaming subscriptions are prevalent, with 54% holding one, nearly matching music (65%) and video/movie subscriptions (71%). Moreover, 70% engage in side hustles, including content creation (29%), streaming (15%), and podcasting (7%).
  • Influencer Impact: Gen Z positively views brand integrations in games, with 81% having played or willing to play games from non-gaming brands. Trust in brands increases with influencer endorsements (67%), and 80% advocate for fair compensation for influencers and content creators. Males favor YouTube for influencer engagement, while females lean towards TikTok.

Insights from Corey Ellis-Johnson, Gen Z Marketing Advisor

“Understanding Gen Z behaviors is crucial for game developers to enhance their objectives and appeal to this demographic. Refining strategies based on behavioral data, such as heatmaps, can lead to higher retention by aligning games with Gen Z characteristics.”

Access Full Study Findings

To delve deeper into Gen Z gamers’ perspectives, including their views on celebrities like James Charles and Taylor Swift, download the complete ZBD Gen Z Gamer Study here.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted between 23 and 27 February 2024, encompassing 2,004 adults aged 18-25 in the U.S. who play video games for at least one hour daily. Gen Z gamers under 18 were excluded. The online survey was carried out by Atomik Research, an independent agency employing MRS-certified researchers adhering to the MRS code.

About ZBD

ZBD is at the forefront of payments innovation, revolutionizing money movement on the internet. In the gaming sector, ZBD is renowned for facilitating real-money player rewards for partners ranging from indie developers like Fumb Games to industry giants like Square Enix. Game studios leverage ZBD’s rewards technology and payment APIs to enhance player retention, while gamers use the ZBD app to earn, spend, play, and interact seamlessly. Discover more at ZBD.

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