When we look at how different generations are defined, it’s interesting to look at how times have changed and what appeals to those varied age groups. From the Baby Boomers of the 1950’s and 1960’s, to the Gen X of the 1970’s and 1980’s, to Gen Y or Millennials as they’re frequently labelled, entertainment has changed throughout each generation.
As the current nomenclature for the youngest generation, “Gen Z” are considered to be those born between 1996 and 2015, ranging in age between 5-24 years old. They have also been born into an entirely different world of entertainment compared to their forebears given how popular entertainment has evolved over the years.
Watching movies at the cinema, going out to a casino or bingo hall, attending concerts, visiting amusement arcades, even sitting around a table playing board games; all of these forms of entertainment were popular in the past. Actually, they’re all still popular now and all that’s really changed is how those forms of entertainment are consumed by Gen Z, particularly when it comes to playing games or taking in the latest blockbuster movies.
Classic games going digital
The transition of classic games that previous generations enjoyed (and still enjoy) includes playing bingo online, with modern technology having brought this game to entertainment mediums the Gen Z audience has embraced. Instead of going to bingo halls or other land-based venues, more people now play this most simple and entertaining of games via desktop or mobile devices, whether it’s from the comfort of their own home or while on the move.
In many respects, bingo has followed in the same footsteps as card games such as poker and blackjack, along with other classic casino games like roulette or slots, which have successfully made the transition online. Interestingly, all these forms of gaming followed moves by board game manufacturers, who relaunched iconic games like Scrabble and Monopoly to video game playing audiences in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Both of these games remain popular online.
Essentially, times have changed and how many of us consume our entertainment has evolved with advancing technology. Baby Boomers didn’t have video game consoles or the internet when they were younger, Gen Y didn’t have mobile tech like smartphones or tablets when they were younger. Now such platforms for gaming are widespread as we head into the third decade of the current millennium, they have become the go-to source of such entertainment.
Why Gen Z is the key digital audience
Some interesting data regarding technology use was published by Statista recently, showing a breakdown of adults who owned smartphones from 2015 to 2019 in the United States. While all generations have increasingly embraced mobile communications technology over this time period, inevitably, it is the younger age groups of Gen Y and Gen Z who are leading the way.
Now in 2020, it is estimated that more than 96% of the Gen Z age group own smartphones, with more than 92% of the Gen Y (Millennials) age group also own mobile devices. By comparison, around 79% of Gen X own smartphones and lagging way behind still, Baby Boomers only account for just over 53% of mobile technology use.
Although all ages are getting onboard with our changing digital times, these figures clearly indicate which age groups and generations are shaping the future of digital entertainment. Over time, these younger generations will age and mature, while their use of mobile technology will only continue to increase. Effectively, the younger generations now consuming digital entertainment in such high numbers, will continue to do so as they get older.
Convenience and cost are shaping entertainment
While physical sporting and entertainment activities will always be around, located at bricks-and-mortar or land-based venues, online and mobile technology has brought an entirely new layer of convenience for consumers. Why travel to the cinema if you can stream the latest movies via Netflix or HBO at home or via your smartphone? Why go to a casino or bingo hall if more choice is available via online gaming sites and mobile apps?
Along with the obvious convenience provided by digital streaming and gaming platforms, for providers, offering entertainment via digital mediums has become so much more cost-effective. If studies have shown that younger generations increasingly prefer to consume their entertainment at home, providers know that it’s cheaper to build and run a digital platform offering what they want, compared to the costs of building and maintaining physical venues.
Economically, it’s a fact that younger generations actually have less disposable income compared to older generations. When a single trip to the cinema can cost more than subscribing to a movie streaming service for one month, choosing between the two options is often a no-brainer for younger generations with less disposable income available. Entertainment providers are aware of this, with digital and online providing options that are both convenient and affordable.
Same entertainment, different mediums
Of course, many traditional forms of entertainment will continue to persist, as will enjoying them at physical venues. However, as the popularity and prominence of digital entertainment options continue to grow, it seems inevitable that how younger generations consume entertainment will also continue to evolve.
For example, while millions of us are entertained by sporting events like American football or soccer, regularly watching games and big events on TV or online, thousands of people still pack stadiums each weekend. However, even competitive sporting entertainment has evolved and changed, with virtual sports or eSports now a pastime enjoying massive digital growth worldwide.
Movies, gaming, sports; they’re all pretty timeless forms of entertainment that have been around for years. They are timeless pastimes that all generations will continue to enjoy for years to come, all that’s really changed is the eruption of new technology, bringing us additional options and exciting new ways to enjoy the things we love doing.