Inside the gaming community: Championing player values
In the last 10 years, the gaming industry has seen immense growth and diversification. There are approximately 2.8 billion global players, split almost 50/50 between male and female. Video game publishers and manufacturers have begun to buy into the new landscape too; writers’ rooms are becoming more diverse, storylines are starting to draw from a wider range of perspectives (e.g., Ellie’s story in The Last of Us: Part 2), and multiplayer games now offer more robust, diverse character customization.
But there is still an opportunity for the industry to go further…One Minute To Midnight’s Values framework identifies opportunities for gaming brands to connect deeper with players by really enabling them to live their values through their gaming experiences.
Stimulation is an area where gaming already excels. The next new game is never more than a few clicks away, and a torrent of social media content means gamers are constantly confronted with new, exciting, and different ways to play. This includes anything from the shared passion of game worlds like Red Dead Redemption 2, to the 5-minute intensity of a Rocket league match.
But more can be done to allow Gen-Z’s other values to flourish. They do experience hedonistic joy through connection with friends, as well as their shared experience in cooperative or competitive games like League of Legends and Call of Duty. Yet, the continued existence of especially personal and degrading comments within the community undermines their desire for self-care, especially for those outside of the traditional teenage white bubble.
This makes Gen-Z’s universal desire to tackle issues of inequality and injustice throughout their lives even more pronounced when they confront it in the community. Some aspects of the gaming community facilitate this desire, like self-moderated Discord channels or Twitch streams and reporting abuse in-game, but often players feel they don’t have the power themselves to marginalize the attitudes that alienate new and less engaged players on a larger scale. This is therefore a key area of opportunity for companies to show that they understand the needs of the new generation of players.
Brands can also capitalize on Gen-Z’s self-direction to flourish by mobilizing them as agents of positive change in the gaming community both in-game and on social media; helping them grow a space they want to be a part of. This will also help to develop meaningful engagement after players put down the controller, as players from all backgrounds will feel more comfortable sharing and expressing themselves.
These 4 value spaces represent an exciting opportunity for gaming brands to connect with a new generation of players. In doing so, they can mould the industry to create and maintain a motivated, progressive, and open community, making gaming a real force for good.
George Clapp (Research Manager, OMTM)