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Here's a little song for everybody out there…
November 5, 2020
These are crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy nights… A sentiment shared by people all over the world at these times that we find ourselves living in. In the week when in the USA, legendary rocker Eddie Van Halen died, aged 65, and the US President was confirmed to have COVID-19 whilst on the UK side of the pond 2,000 university students in Manchester were said to be COVID-19 positive, those lyrics from that iconic rock band, KISS, sprang to mind. Van Halen’s friend and fellow rocker, Gene Simmons, said of the news about his passing: 'I'm devastated', and shared in a live interview that he'd be 'bawling his eyes out' if he didn't wear sunglasses.
But why would a branded content agency and social publisher that helps brands and partner agencies connect authentically with Gen Z and young Millennials be having conversations about these issues? Who listens to rock music these days anyway? Well we’ve been digging deep to better understand our owned Kyma Gaming communities and perhaps not surprisingly, music is their top interest after gaming. What you might not expect however, is that rock music is their third most popular genre with 53% of them citing it as their favourite, behind Hip Hop (top answer but not by far) and rap. Other high interests include technology, entertainment and sport.
We are now in Black November, the hugely anticipated releases of the new consoles and some long awaited games, it was a good time to catch up with their gaming interests as well. Turns out that we have some pretty hardcore gamers in our communities with 27% (top answer) gaming for over 20 hours a week, followed by those that game for between 6 and 10 hours. This is consistent with other work we’ve done to develop gaming personas for clients, that suggested that hardcore gamers reduce the number of hours per week they game for when work life forces them to do so, indicating that it would be a mistake to categorise gamers as casual based on hours alone. More than half of the people responding to our survey said that they intend to buy the Sony PS5 - way more than any other console being released. And when it comes to upcoming games, with 71% claiming that they completely intend to buy Cyberpunk 2077, the game is 20 percentage points ahead of the next most wanted game, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
With everything that we’re going through, our Gen Z and Zillennial (not a spelling error) gamers, 59% of which are students, are clearly super excited about November and we suspect that they’re going to be finessing their gaming setups in preparation. When asked about the criteria that matters most in deciding which piece of gaming equipment is most important, three quarters said gives me greatest control, which perhaps gives a little insight into one significant benefit people get out of gaming. A related theme, via another question, escaping from everyday life is selected as the second most popular reason for gaming, for the thrill and excitement of it being the top answer - incidentally, more than 40% of our gamers both eat snacks as well as drink non-alcoholic beverages whilst gaming.
There are significant shifts for our gamers with regard to the main things that caused concern in their lives before the COVID-19 pandemic and when we ran the survey over the summer. Beforehand the top concerns were school/university (62%), thinking about the future (58%) and personal relationships (36%) while a few months later they became the future (60%), school/university (48%) and financial (46% up from 35%). In terms of wellbeing in general, stress, anxiety and loneliness are key issues, the latter is particularly interesting given that 82% shared that they socialise with family or friends every day or a few times a week. It is reasonable to suppose that the levels of anxiety and the need for forms of escape are even more incredibly high for students now.
A fascinating piece of insight to discover is that three quarters of respondents agree or strongly agree with the statement I have formed strong bonds with people that I game with online, even though we had not met in person. Some might find that crazy but the truth is that Gen Z and Zillennials are a borderless generation and their ability to form connections with people, build communities, exchange ideas and indeed, mobilise for action are not constrained by physical boundaries.