Technology is at the heart of entertainment for Gen Z.

With this appetite for immersive, community-led, and escapist entertainment, Gen Z will foster growth in gaming and esports, as well as the emerging metaverse.

Who are Gen-Zers?

Comprising of people born between 1997 to 2012, the current distribution of the Gen Z population mimics the overall uneven distribution of the world’s population. Asia has the largest Gen Z population at 1.2 billion, followed by the Middle East and Africa with 470 million. However, the Middle East and Africa region has the highest share of Gen-Zers out of its total population at 34%. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Generation Z will account for over 27% of the global workforce by 2025.

Like previous generations, the emerging Gen Z cohort has unique habits, economic activities, and social behaviors. Gen-Zers emphasize a work-life balance, diversity, inclusion, and personal growth. They both inform online trends and are greatly influenced by them (see GlobalData’s Generation Z in Tech, Media, & Telecom).

That’s entertainment for Gen Z

Technology is at the heart of entertainment for Gen-Zers. They demand immersive experiences in shopping, working, and schooling, and these things are also vital to their entertainment. Gaming, esports, and the metaverse offer this demographic not only the ideal gameplay experience, but a virtual escape—and these trends have intensified since the pandemic.

Overall, the gaming software market will be worth $470 billion by 2030, with mobile gaming being the dominant segment, accounting for more than 50% of global gaming software revenues by 2030. Video games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Among Us are especially popular with Gen Z, as is the practice of streaming and watching gameplay on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. Thousands of people watch esports in stadiums, while millions watch on streaming platforms. Meanwhile, the gaming metaverse involves communities built on highly engaging content. Video game publishers, device makers, and brands from different sectors increasingly invest in esports to attract young consumers, especially Gen-Zers.

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This popularity of gaming among Gen Z will naturally transition into metaverse applications as Gen-Zers demand an increased connection between their physical and virtual worlds. The metaverse is currently experiencing a difficult winter in which the entire concept is being criticized—but it could still be a transformative technology theme. The movement towards an increasingly interconnected world will not slow down and is especially demanded by Gen Z, the digital-first generation.

Gaming, esports, and the metaverse offer a virtual escape

This dependence on the digital world and the need to tie it to the daily realities of the physical world is a notable trend among Gen-Zers. As such, the metaverse and its underlying technologies, such as AR and VR, will continue to develop and play a significant role in entertainment and gaming for Gen Z.

Despite the many safety and regulation issues facing the metaverse, many Gen Z gamers consider it a place to escape the real world and freely be themselves, experiment with their identities, and create new relationships. A study by Razorfish and Vice Media Group found that 40% of Gen Z respondents said the virtual world gave them self-confidence, and 77% of respondents stated that gaming in general is a way to relieve stress and anxiety.

Furthermore, some Gen-Zers see the metaverse as an opportunity to build a career, and 33% of them would like to see more brands entering the virtual world where products can be browsed and purchased virtually.

Companies that want to win over Gen Z cannot ignore the virtual world and all its possibilities.