June 6, 2023

What does a video game represent to you? It is something “from another generation”, it is a hobby, a passion, or directly a lifestyle. Depending on how old you are and the generation you belong to, your answer is more likely to be one or the other. Of course, there may be exceptions to the general rules in each generation, but having a general framework that allows us to understand the generic trends in each age group is useful to understand how video games —and with it, technology— have been inserted in a society that, with the passage of time and the development of new technologies, has been breaking paradigms at an increasing rate

We cannot forget that video games have been with us for just over three generations. The first computer simulations of games of this type date back to the 1950s, but their progress since then has been impressive. Just by seeing the contrast between those first video games, and those that are sold today, we can understand the magnitude of the change that the advancement of technology has brought with it in this sector. These advances, which are so clearly revealed in the development of video games, not only shape the products, but also have a significant effect on the tastes, consumer preferences and lifestyles of their users.

In this sense, we find that, as shown by this ExpressVPN study, as the decades have progressed and video games have been gaining ground in the field of entertainment, the culture around this phenomenon has expanded. The first generation that had contact with this new reality, the Baby Boomersdo not give it today, except in specific cases, more weight than that of a hobby that you can enjoy during your free time to disconnect, exercise your mind or entertain yourself for a while.

Generation X of a video game

For the following, however, the Generation X, video games already began to be a focus around which there was more movement. It was the time when the first arcades and Internet cafes sprang up, and a time when consoles—especially Nintendo, but also Sega and the first PlayStationThey gained a lot of popularity. Here the culture geek, a gap was made among urban subcultures and, once the 70s were over, it began an unstoppable rise.

However, the real burst of popularity and influence of video games as a widespread social phenomenon took place throughout the 1990s. These years changed the history of video games forever. The advent of 3D graphics and the growth of the video game industry gave a boost to the sector that caused interest in these games to spread to the masses during that decade. The children of those years are the ones that today make up the generation millennial, which together with Generation Z (which we will talk about below), have represented the definitive paradigm shift in this field.

For these two modern generations, gaming is part of daily life. According to information from different studies, 37% of Millennials have a habitual interaction with video games, while, in the Generation Z, this figure exceeds 40% (although in many cases their interactions do not include playing games, as we will see later). Almost 25% of the free time of the latter is spent on issues related to video games. Among that generation, young people spend on average more than 7 hours a week on topics related to video games, a figure that is closely followed by Millennials with more than 6 and a half hours of average weekly gaming time.

But the most interesting thing about the relationship of these generations with videogames, especially among Generation Z (since in Millennials it is common to spend more time playing than interacting in other ways), has to do with the creation of a community around of the most important titles that goes beyond the games and the game itself, but encompasses much more than that. The following of content creators and streamers whose content is related to this topic is increasing. This is something new and more exclusive to the new generations, and marks a before and after in the way of relating to gaming. Thus, video games today are not just a form of entertainment, but are a way to express yourself, create and share with like-minded people. And this is something that has not happened before. Reality and video games are increasingly mixed, and the new generations are a product of that mix.

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