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Livewire report finds younger generations welcome in-game branding

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Livewire report finds younger generations welcome in-game branding


A new report from Livewire has found that gaming is the entertainment of choice for Gen Alpha, Gen Z, and Millennials, surpassing traditional and modern media. The global gaming, marketing and gametech company also found younger generations were more responsive to in-game branding moments.

The 2024 Next Gen Attention study surveyed 1801 gamers across the UK, US, and Australia and analysed the differences in preferences, consumption habits and expectations of the three generations. It found Next Gen (defined as Gen Z and Gen Alpha) audiences were 20 percent more accepting of brands within gaming than Millenials.

The Next Gen are paying attention

Not only was the Next Gen demographic more welcoming of branding moments (76 percent), they were 15 percent more likely than Millennials to make a purchase in response to them. The study deduces that this is likely because Gen Alpha has experienced brands in-game from the beginning, whereas Gen Z saw the overlap between media and technology.

Livewire CEO Tom Simpson said the next generation were tech-natives raised in gaming, who did not primarily consume media via downward-scrolling flat social-media screens. 

“They exist in immersive, interactive, playable digital spaces,” Simpson said. “This means how brands talk and engage with them has to be completely different too – it’s now about items, immersive ads, playability and experiences in expansive digital worlds.” 

As a result, Simpson said the fundamental unit of marketing attention was being disrupted, not just the core marketing channel.

LivewireMillennials were the most resistant to branding moments (49 percent) and their likelihood of purchasing was at 40 percent. Gen Z were only slightly more receptive at 6 percent and 5 percent respectively. 

True immersion

Another key investigation of the study was the expectations of the younger cohort. The survey revealed that Next Gen gamers expected immersive experiences, “with interactive moments (65 percent) and playable experiences (69 percent) on the rise through characters, skins, world-builds, interactive billboards, playables, rewarded videos and more”.

“Gen Alpha and Gen Z expect brands to be present in gaming and if they contribute in a positive way through world builds, skins and additive experiences it’s more likely to lead to purchase,” Livewire head of ANZ, Adam Fischer, told Mediaweek. “Consumer expectation is currently ahead of brand realisation – especially in Australia.”

Another key difference between the generations were their gaming habits. Gen Alpha were the most committed to their gaming, with 70 percent saying that they were gaming at least four to five times a week. The gaming habits of Gen Z and Millennials were more closely aligned at 55 percent and 54 percent. The devices most used for gaming included mobile (66 percent), console (45 percent) and laptop (31 percent).

Gaming is the new social media

One significant finding of the report was that when it came to Gen Z and Gen Alpha, gaming wasn’t just for play. The two younger generations chose titles that fostered social connection, as opposed to Millennials who were mainly focused on play. Gen Alpha’s top titles included Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite, Call of Duty and Candy Crush. Experiences and social connections were the key drivers for this generation and they were more likely to be active in posting, streaming and commenting on content. 

Unsurprisingly, video content (both short and long) reigned supreme across all three generations. However, the survey noted that while Gen Alpha appeared not as keen on long form video content, this could be due to parental controls and screen time limits.

Photography attributed Alex Haney on Unsplash and Livewire.


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January Jones

January Jones is a freelance writer.

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