Exclusive data: online gaming habits of Millennials & Gen X

For this week’s Cybercultural newsletter, I partnered with consumer insights platform Alpha to survey 324 people about their online gaming habits. The resulting data and insights, exclusive to Cybercultural, are presented in this edition of the newsletter.

In case you didn’t know, online gaming is now a huge cultural content market. Last weekend the Fortnite World Cup Finals were held in New York City and attracted a live-streaming audience of more than 2 million concurrent viewers - most of them watching on YouTube or Twitch. While many of that audience were likely teenagers, the results of the survey I ran indicate that online gaming is also very popular with Millennials and Generation X.

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Let’s get to the results of the online gaming survey I ran on Alpha, a New York-based on-demand insights platform. Through Alpha, I was able to survey 324 Americans mostly between the ages of 25-54.

A note on how the survey was conducted. After I set the survey questions, Alpha launched the test by connecting to panel marketplaces to reach my target audience. The majority of Alpha’s sourcing is done through the Lucid sample marketplace, which offers access to roughly 100 million panelists from over 250 diverse suppliers worldwide.

I chose to survey Millennials and Gen X because I was curious how the two most recent working generations are adapting to online gaming - both playing games and watching gaming content as if it was tv. We already know Generation Z (today’s teens) are hooked on gaming, but what about older people?

Important note: although the 18-24 year old group is included in the survey results, the vast majority of respondents fell into the 25-54 brackets (which precisely covers the Millennial and Gen X generations).

Now here are the results…

Over half of all males watch online gaming

Given the popularity of the Fortnite World Cup, I wanted to know how many Millennials and Generation X users habitually watch online gaming.

One third of all respondents said they watch gaming content on a platform like Twitch or YouTube at least once a week.

But when you drill down into the demographics, the picture becomes clearer. Unsurprisingly, more males than females watch online gaming. 54% of males watch gaming at least once a week, compared to just 18% of women.

In the chart below, pay special attention to the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups. 44% and 38% respectively say they watch video gaming content at least once a week. However, there was a pronounced drop-off for the 45-54 age group (13%). Note: ignore the 18-24 bracket in this case, since the sample size was too small.

As for why people watch online gaming, one male respondent in the 25-34 age group said this about why he watches daily:

“I watch content creators of varying degrees in order to be entertained on what they have to say commentarywise or strategies I would not think or even offer personal advise (on twitch) if they ask for help.”

It’s not just young people; Gen X play online games too

When asked how often do you play online games (e.g. Fortnite), 42% of users selected ‘never.’ However, more than that (46%) reported playing online games daily or weekly.

When you drill down into this data, some interesting demographic patterns emerge.

As with the data about watching games, the playing responses are skewed towards males. Two thirds (66%) of males play online games at least once a week, compared to only 30% of females.

As the chart below shows, a surprisingly high number of older Millennials and Generation X are gamers. 40% of the upper range of Gen X (45-54) reported playing online games at least weekly. Over half (53%) of 35-44 year olds do the same. (Again, ignore the 18-24 stats due to small sample size.)

How people play online games

Millennial and Gen X users tend to favour smartphones, with laptops and PCs being the second most popular device.

Although the sample size for 18-24 year olds is again small for this question, it’s interesting to note that 71% of them reported using consoles. Whereas consoles aren’t heavily used by the target audience of this survey. Between 12-34% of Millennials and Gen X use consoles, meaning they’re less popular than laptops or PCs for playing online games.

I hope you enjoyed Cybercultural’s first exclusive data insights! Thanks to Alpha for partnering with me on this and stay tuned for more surveys.

Unpaid partner plug: Alpha helps anyone from the Fortune 100 to high growth startups and authors test their ideas; to learn more visit alphahq.com.


Tracking 👀

  • Music Business Worldwide: Pandora’s user base is declining at a steep rate, despite the platform’s $3.5bn-valued buyout by SiriusXM in February. 🎹

  • WNIP: Competition to be the next ‘Spotify for magazines’ hots up as French app LeKiosk strengthens UK presence. Others in the ‘magazine bundling’ market include Apple News+ and Mogul News. 🇫🇷

  • TechCrunch: The Knight Foundation launches $750,000 initiative for immersive technology for the arts. Previous winners include ArtsESP (forecasting software), ConcertCue (mobile app for classical music), and AR Enhanced Audio Tour. 🎨

  • PublishersWeekly: A startup called Publishizer aims to transform literary agenting, by becoming “the world’s first crowdfunding literary agency.” 800 authors have used the platform so far, resulting in 160 publishing deals. 📚

  • BroadwayWorld: CommonGenius, a marketplace for “experts” of all stripes, has partnered with Broadway insiders to offer a video-based mentorship program. Rates are pay-as-you-go or a monthly subscription starting at $25/month. 🎭


Data Points 📊

  • Gamasutra: live services brought EA $2.5 billion in net bookings in the last 12 months. 🎮

  • Music Business Worldwide: Universal Music Group’s recorded music revenues from streaming jumped up 32.1%, to €1.57bn ($1.77bn), in the first half of 2019. Streaming made up 60.4% of its recorded music revenues. 💰

  • Broadcasting & Cable: Roku and Amazon Fire TV now control nearly 70% of the U.S. streaming media player (SMP) market, according to Parks Associates. This comes “at the expense of Chromecast and Apple TV.” 📺

  • Pew Research: in 2018, US newspaper circulation reached its lowest level since 1940; digital ad revenue, which grew 23% YoY, has nearly tripled since 2011. 🗞️

  • WWD: Advertisers spent 12% less with magazines and related content last year, down to $13.64 billion. That’s despite digital spend increasing by 3.3%, to $4.67 billion. 💰


Tweet of the week 🐦

See Mom and Dad, online gaming does pay! 16-year old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf was the solo winner of the Fortnite World Cup, winning $3 million for his efforts.


That’s a wrap for another week. A reminder that I’ve opened my inbox to consulting enquiries, so do reach out if you’d like me to dig deeper into a specific sector.

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Lead image credit: Fortnite’s Twitter account