Generational insights: from boomers to Alpha, 50% embrace mobile gaming

Anne Freer | October 18, 2023

App Business

It’s a busy week for gaming research with the latest research from Newzoo suggesting that mobile is still the most popular gaming platform across all generations and the only one that’s used by over half of any generation. We’ll take a deep dive below.

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Mobile gaming remains the undisputed favourite platform across all generations, boasting the unique distinction of being the sole platform used by over 50% of any age group.

Notably, it enjoys significant popularity among Gen Z, with 81% of them actively engaging in mobile games. But even among baby boomers, 70% partake in mobile gaming.

Mobile is a top platform among all generations

Source: Newzoo

The appeal of mobile gaming can be attributed to its accessibility and the widespread availability of free-to-play titles. These factors make smartphones exceptionally effective at engaging new players, especially when compared to other platforms that often present higher entry barriers.

Socialising is a big motivator for gaming

Source: Newzoo

Interestingly, gamers across all generations are making in-game purchases, demonstrating a high player-to-payer conversion rate. According to Newzoo, mobile gaming stands out with the highest share of paying players across all platforms.

Gen Z and Millennials emerge as the most inclined to be significant spenders, with console gaming leading the way here. That’s because console games tend to be more expensive than mobile games to begin with.

Nonetheless, mobile gaming retains the highest proportion of paying players among all generations. An impressive 38% of Gen Alpha, Gen Z, and Millennials have made monetary contributions to mobile games in the last six months, while 26% of Gen X’ers and 16% of Baby Boomers have done the same.

What’s driving players to play?

Source: Newzoo

In-game currency is reported as the most popular in-app purchase across all generations, closely followed by purchases of new characters, gear, and expansion or content packs, illustrating the diverse spending preferences within the gaming community.

Millennials and Gen Z lead in in-game purchases”

Gaming enthusiasts span every age group but a pattern emerges: its popularity escalates with each succeeding generation. As per the findings, 40% of baby boomers are actively involved in some form of gaming. That sounds like a lot but compare it to the whopping 94% of Gen Alpha and the generational shift is real.

On average, baby boomers dedicate 11% of their weekly leisure time to gaming. This figure steadily increases across successive generations, with Gen Alpha leading the pack, devoting a substantial 22% of their weekly leisure time.

Younger generations more likely to spend

Source: Newzoo

However, younger generations, encompassing Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha, exhibit a greater propensity for playing on console or PC, platforms that, while less accessible than mobile gaming, foster higher levels of brand loyalty.

Interestingly, these younger generations are also more inclined to engage in gaming across multiple platforms, including mobile, with 50% of them embracing a versatile approach to gaming.

WhileGen Alpha play as many as six different game genres, baby boomers prefer to stick to a more manageable 2.8 genres. Among these genres, adventure games emerge as the most universally appealing, consistently ranking in the top three across four generations and claiming the number one spot for Gen Alpha, Gen Z, and Millennials.

Notably, the consumption of gaming content, including gameplay streams, YouTube videos, esports contests, and more, plays a pivotal role in engaging younger generations. Though individuals of all age groups indulge in watching gaming content, it’s the younger generations that show a greater inclination, with a staggering 70% of Gen Alpha actively participating in both watching and playing gaming-related content.

Share of game enthusiasts, viewers and esports audience

Source: Newzoo

The report underscores the enduring popularity of mobile gaming across all generations, while highlighting the evolving landscape of gaming habits, spending patterns, and content consumption among different age groups.

Key takeaways

  • Mobile gaming is the preferred choice for over 50% of all generations, with 94% engagement in Gen Alpha
  • Millennials and Gen Z lead in in-game spending
  • 70% of Gen Alpha actively engage in both watching and playing gaming content

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