The Changing Face of GamersThe gamer stereotype has at long last given way to reality - gaming is enjoyed by everyone. We’ve used this blog post to talk about how the industry is becoming a more diverse place, and what this means for players, content creators and brands.
The idea of the ‘typical gamer’ is changing. Over three billion people play games, including nearly half (46%) of baby boomers, according to a 2022 Newzoo report. Newzoo’s Study on Diversity and Inclusion also found that among United States-based gamers, 46% were female, 40% were non-white, 16% were LGBTQIA+ and 31% had a disability. The industry, which in the past has sometimes been considered a niche entertainment form, is now more diverse and bigger than Hollywood and music combined. Tectonic plates have shifted in the last decade.
With numbers like this, it is little wonder that we are seeing a real change in attitude toward what being a ‘gamer’ means. The industry is catching on, and beginning to recognise that all genders, ages and backgrounds participate in, and enjoy, gaming.
Not only is the face of the ‘gamer’ changing, but the perception of the gaming experience is too. Play has always been social, since the history of board games, to the introduction of PC games (who didn’t have to share the mouse when playing The Sims with a sibling?), and then console games (Just Dance at a party, anyone?). But maybe because it was screen-based, gaming traditionally had the reputation of being an isolated, reclusive activity. However, this is a misconception. Newzoo also found that 74% of players interviewed would meet up with friends in game worlds without actually playing, but simply to socialise there.
Another side to social gaming is streaming, which has experienced meteoric growth in recent years. Newzoo states that the global game streaming audience stands at 921 million in 2022, and is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2025. This means that the face of the gaming influencer is also changing, and the space is no longer dominated by a few select YouTube celebrities. Instead we see increasingly how influencers who resonate with particular audiences, and find their own niche, will be favoured by brands looking to target a particular market, even if they have fewer followers. This means that the careers of creators in all locations, and of all backgrounds and ages, can be supported by brand partnerships. Our CEO Robin recently spoke about the growing opportunities for these diverse content creators in Forbes.
This also has the effect that brands in the gaming industry are starting to listen to their increasingly diverse audiences, and meeting their demands on everything from improvements to the in-game experience, like offering full customer characterisation for gamers to play with avatars that most represent themselves, to supporting diverse content creators.
At Wehype, we see the dismantling of old stereotypes surrounding gamers and the gaming experience as reflecting real industry progress. These recent trends are making ours an exciting industry to operate in, as certain voices in the gaming community are instigating real change. Looking to the future, we welcome those exciting developments and the chance to take part in making the gaming industry even more diverse, inclusive and accessible as a form of entertainment.