New research from global consultancy Bain & Company has revealed that young gamers are priming themselves for the metaverse, spending more time and money on their preferred platforms.
According to the research, 13-17-year-olds prefer spending their time playing video games above all other forms of entertainment, including social media.
Interestingly, around 50% of younger gamers said they would rather attend school events in the metaverse.
Moreover, half of the young gamers who took part in the research said they would rather play with their friends online than in real life.
“There has been a lot of buzz, and plenty of confusion, among the business community on what the metaverse is and how it will shift commerce and life into the digital realm,” said Andre James, Global Head of Bain & Company’s Media & Entertainment Practice. “Meanwhile, young gamers have been paving the future of the metaverse. They have adapted to metaverse-style games, often preferring to socialize with friends in games more than in person. They are increasingly comfortable with virtual reality, so even those that don’t currently play in the metaverse are likely to do so in the future.”
The emergence of the metaverse
The metaverse has been a highly contested topic lately, with so much venture capital pouring into the future of our internet. The metaverse constitutes a far more immersive and seamless version of the internet that we enjoy today.
There has been much debate about how the metaverse is going to look, feel, and be experienced – indeed how it will be controlled in the future.
Despite this, there are no doubts about what will dominate the metaverse – and that’s going to be video games.
The video games market was valued at $195.65 billion last year and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.9% from 2022 – 2030, as per Grand View Research.
Games developers have been working feverishly to create more immersive, social platforms which empower gamers to build, create, connect and even own.
“The preferences and demands of gamers are changing, especially as the thin line between the digital and real worlds recedes,” said Samer Bohsali, Partner at Bain & Company Middle East. “The metaverse has attracted many young gamers who are looking for an immersive experience, which allows them to socialize and become active creators in the game.”
“The importance of this virtual space has not just gained interest from young gamers, but also from governments of cosmopolitan countries. Therefore, cities like Dubai have recently announced its metaverse strategy and its prediction to add $4 billion to its economy and 42,000 virtual jobs by 2030.”
Different demographics have different needs
Metaverse companies will need to adapt their strategies to cater for different demographics, according to Bain.
For example, the research found that 56% of younger gamers said they were comfortable paying to unlock features that improve their performance in a game, while many older players were not.
Furthermore, young gamers are more likely to play online games to compete with friends, family, and strangers, compared with adult gamers, who tend to play for fun and are more likely to play solo.
Besides, the demand for social experiences in the metaverse, like concerts, sporting events, work, and commerce, will continue to grow.
Building fun and immersive experiences that are social, multiplatform, and customizable would be a winning strategy for the younger gamers.
In addition, Bain revealed that long-term player engagement will be dominated by games that can scale and have a world, and community, that exists beyond the actual game.