Gaming is a real passion of Gen Z and Millennials, and this is true in Western Europe, too: YPulse’s data from our Gaming report shows that 95% of European 13-39-year-olds play some sort of video game. And gaming culture is expanding far beyond video games: look at how video game music was included for the first time as part of last year’s BBC Proms in London—one of the world’s most prominent classical music events. Brands in all sectors need to keep an eye on what’s happening in the gaming industry, since gamification is becoming such an important marketing tool—just look at Bumble’s new speed-dating game feature.
YPulse has its own brand tracking tool which measures Gen Z and Millennials’ feelings for brands across 20 youth-specific diagnostics like cool, bright future, and reflects diversity. These are averaged into an overall affinity score that shows what brands are winning over young consumers, the best way to measure 13-39-year-olds’ affinity for over 750 brands in Western Europe (and over 600 in North America). It also allows us to see what brands are leading among young consumers within industries and specific product categories. Here are the gaming brands with the top YScore+ according to European Gen Z and Millennials:
The 10 Gaming Brands with the Top YScore+
13-39-year-olds in Western Europe
- Electronic Arts
- Meta Quest
PlayStation is young Europeans’ top gaming brand
On top of the list of gaming brands with the highest YScore+ is PlayStation. The Sony-owned console has doubled down its efforts to reach young gamers, and maybe the most noticeable recent example is the PS Plus subscription program, a direct competitor to the Xbox Game Pass. By sponsoring the UEFA Champions League, PlayStation is also constantly reminding young Europeans—who we know are avid football fans—that the brand gets them, and knows what their interests are. Sony’s attempts to attract young consumers are paying off, and right now PlayStation is the top gaming brand according to European Gen Z and Millennials.
Let’s turn to the historical competitor of PlayStation: Xbox. YPulse told you recently how young Europeans use PlayStation at the expense of Xbox: only 16% of 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe who play on a console say they use Xbox compared to 62% PlayStation. That is not to say Xbox is not a popular console among Gen Z and Millennials in the region, after all the Microsoft-owned console is the 6th top gaming console according to young Europeans. Microsoft is fighting hard in the gaming world, and just signed a 10-year partnership with Nintendo so Xbox games can be played on Nintendo consoles. While it won’t stop Sony’s attempts at blocking the merger between the two giants, it at least demonstrates Xbox’s commitment to being more multi-platform.
Nintendo is the second ranking gaming brand among European Gen Z and Millennials
Nintendo is a historical powerhouse in the gaming world, and the brand’s affinity in Western Europe is even stronger than it is in North America. Young Europeans, just like their North American peers, have a real love for Mario, Peach, Bowser, and co., and data from YPulse’s Gaming report shows that 30% of Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe have bought or are planning to buy a Nintendo console (Switch Lite, Switch OLED, etc.)
VR brands are winning affinity in Western Europe, despite lack of widespread use
Meta Quest and Oculus are among the top 10 gaming brands according to 13-39-year-old Europeans. While YPulse’s research shows found that only 7% of young Europeans who play video games play with VR headsets, clearly they feel positively about these brands. Though adoption continues to be low, most likely because of the high price points these devices still hold, more competitors are now entering the market: ByteDance (the tech company that owns TikTok) is increasing the production of Pico, its own VR headset, and Apple is planning to release a VR headset this year that would make virtual reality even more accessible to Gen Z and Millennials.
*YPulse’s youth brand tracker asks 13-39-year-olds to assess their feelings about brands across 20 unique diagnostics, which are averaged into an overall affinity score (YScore+). The brands on this ranking are the top-scoring gaming brands among the over 750 brands included in the brand tracker in Western Europe as of 2/23/2023. Rankings are subject to change as brands are added and removed.