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How Video Games Are Influencing Gen Z’s Real Life Behavior

We know young consumers love video games, but how much is gaming influencing their real lives…


  • Video games are influencing young consumers’ behavior beyond the console
  • The music they listen to is the top thing that video games influence in their lives, followed by other media like TV and movies
  • The brands and products they choose to buy are also influenced by gaming, showing now is not the time to give up on metaverse marketing

YPulse’s Gaming report shows 95% of Gen Z and Millennials play video games in some capacity. And they’re gaming constantly: more than half say they play on console weekly or more often, and more than 60% say they play mobile games weekly or more often. But brands shouldn’t assume that this time in games is time in isolation. First, the majority of Gen Zs who play video games are hanging out with friends while they’re playing (either in-person or virtually in the game). But in addition, the games they’re playing are impacting them beyond the console or computer.   

With Gen Z especially spending so many hours inside their virtual worlds, what they do and see there has an influence on their real lives—which is exactly why YPulse has long said it’s so important for brands to market inside video games. To understand which aspects of their real lives are most impacted by video games, we ask 13-39-year-olds what gaming has influenced in their life, with options from brand choices to their personal values / beliefs:  

Bar chart showing what in Gen Z and Millennials' lives they say video games have influenced

Gaming influences the other media they consume 

For Gen Z, video games most likely to influence the music they listen to (45%), while Millennials are most likely to say games influence the movies / TV they watch. YPulse data has shown before that gaming and music, being two of Gen Zs of top hobbies, are linked; 30% of Gen Z say they use video games to listen to music, meaning game soundtracks can be highly influential on the music Gen Z likes. But beyond just the songs that games curate for back tracks, many gaming brands have made it a point to make collaborative work with music artists, including everything from custom songs to virtual world concerts. And it’s smart that they do, given two thirds of Gen Z agree they like it when music artists collab to make music for video games. And as for virtual concert experiences, our upcoming Where is the Metaverse? report shows 24% of young consumers say they’ve attended a virtual concert, and 49% are interested in doing so, meaning the opportunities to keep music lovers and gamers connected are wide open.  

Gen Z are nearly as likely (42%) to say video games impact their choice in TV and movies. In fact, 52% of young people overall say they’re more likely to watch a movie if it’s based on a video game—a testament to how popular the blending of these two mediums is becoming. Shows like The Last of Us and Arcane (based on League of Legends) soar because of young viewers who want to see their favorite game come to life. But this also points to the benefits of gamifying other forms of entertainment to draw gamers in; in 2022, we predicted a boom in this trend, and did see brands like Netflix and HBO jump on with games of their most popular shows.  

One third of gamers say video games influence the products they buy 

It’s crucial that brands take video game marketing seriously; 58% of young consumers who play video games agree they pay attention to brands featured in video games. Beyond recognition, though, more than three in 10 Gen Z and Millennials say that video games influence the products they buy, and 22% say they influence the brands they use—a real reflection of purchase intent being driven through video games. Whether it’s the obvious merch like gaming gear their favorite streamer uses, or products from brands who have taken up real estate in their favorite games, brands should not underestimate the power of being seen in video games. 

Clothing in particular can be easily marketed to young consumers through gaming as 22% (slightly more Gen Z than Millennials) say video games influence the clothes they wear. We know this is an especially popular function of metaverse games, as avatars are such a huge part of the gaming experience for young people. In fact, our upcoming Where is the Metaverse? trend report shows 64% of virtual world gamers agree “seeing other avatars in branded clothing makes me want to wear that brand.” Last year, brand advertising and game activations in the metaverse were one of the biggest marketing trends we observed and reported on. So, though we know that everyone is turning their heads from the metaverse to AI, young peoples’ love for gaming is going nowhere soon, and the influence those games have on their behavior outside gaming is real. Now is not the time to give up on video games for boosting brand awareness, affinity, and actual sales.