Much has been said lately about the Millennial and Gen Z generations and how they behave as consumers. While it seems easy to place people in their respective generational boxes, there are still those that don’t really fit within those groups. Consumers in the 35-44 range are an older subset of the Millennials and the younger portion of Generation X. Sitting between these two groups, “Xennials” are the micro-generation that grew up in an analog childhood but are now living digital adulthoods.
In creating our Xennials: Analog Childhood, Digital Adult Report, with data from DISQO, we found that Xennials adapt quickly to new titles, formats, and experiences. In many ways, they skew closer in behavior to core Millennials, but they also have standout behaviors in some areas. Read on for more insights into this unique group of consumers.
More than half (51%) play mobile games daily
According to survey data, Xennials are more likely to be “committed” gamers, with 51% playing once to several times a day. Furthermore, one in four admits to calling themselves a gamer. Compared to other age groups, particularly those directly younger and older, the real standout is that the number of Xennials who play “regularly” is more than any other age group. “Regularly” is defined as at least once a week but can be more frequent – just not every single day. So within this group, there are fewer who play once or multiple times a day, but more who play often. Gaming is a steady presence in their lives.
Outside of mobile, gaming consoles are still their favorite way to play
Many Xennials grew up playing games on classic consoles like Nintendo and Sega. They continue to over-index for Nintendo ownership – 26.3% vs. 19.5% on average – but they have officially moved on to other consoles. Playstation is the most popular, with 34.4% of Xennials owning one, followed by Xbox at 30.4%. However, many Xennials prefer Xbox perhaps because of the popularity of Halo and Xbox Live (Microsoft’s online games service) during their formative high school and college years.
Overall, Xennials prefer to use consoles for gaming. They use laptops less for gaming than any other <65 age group, and their desktop use is even more paltry. Xennials use desktops for gaming less than any age group, even those 75 and older! Perhaps their formative teenage years spent at clunky desktop computers with CRT monitors scarred them for life against desktops. It’s also possible that their first gaming experiences were with consoles and they simply kept that association, despite the sophistication of gaming PCs and laptops.
Xennials love puzzle games, and not just the simple ones
Puzzle, Word, and Card games are the most popular mobile game categories across all generations, and for the 35-44 age group, it’s no different. The Puzzle category’s popularity can be traced to the influx of hypercasual (e.g., insanely easy to play) games in the app stores, for instance, the various iterations of the traditional Match-3 puzzle game.
However, Xennials are not afraid to get more complicated: They like games that require thinking and planning, such as Strategy and Role-Playing Games (RPG). These categories are also more popular among consumers with higher household income and education levels.
Strategy and RPG games challenge our minds, taking the concept of a puzzle game to a higher, tactical level. Those that are fantasy- or combat-based may take Xennials back to their childhoods, like Elder Scrolls, which first debuted in 1994. Some games, like Final Fantasy, have been around for more than 30 years!
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