About 18 months ago, our team started preparing for our consumer research reports, Digital Australia and New Zealand 2020 which we launched July and August last year. When the team adopted the theme, the Power of Games, little did we realise just how especially meaningful this particular theme would be in the current global environment.
DA20 and DNZ20 explored how games have the power to entertain, transform, create, connect, communicate, live well and educate. And here we are, experiencing these outcomes firsthand as we navigate totally unexpected and unprecedented societal conditions.
Reflecting on the research now (and confirming a lot of which we already intrinsically knew), games are inherently social. Our DA20 report showed that only 17% of people always play games alone. In a world where we need to physically isolate more than ever, the world is increasingly turning to games for entertainment, education, well being and social experiences, especially when they aren’t available elsewhere. Around the world this week, people may not be connecting with each other in the streets anymore, but they’re certainly doing it in Animal Crossing.
We know games foster connection within families, with 43% of parents playing games with their children. Games foster community with 41% of people watching livestreams of gameplay and 41% of players watching esports. Games are used in the classroom to motivate students and inspire creativity. With education moving into a virtual space as it has in the last few days, it is likely we are seeing kids engage even more with gamified content such as Reading Eggs and Mathletics through to Minecraft which has a specialised education version.
Games are also being used to manage health, both mental and physical depending on the type of game you like to play. We have just seen this week the World Health Organization’s recommendation that people play actives games while self-isolating at home. Further to that, many people, especially us more mature folk, play mainly for mental stimulation.
It will be interesting how the statistics will change (or not) for our DANZ22 reports, especially as games are currently providing one of the few authentic connections to the outside world right now. We are always encouraged to see parents being involved in game play with their kids, while utilising parental control tools and classification systems to monitor and manage responsible game play. There are plenty of resources if you are still unsure, try this link as a starting point.
As we move into further physical isolation and games offer some solace, remember, as one of our members EA best said: Stay Safe. Stay Home. Play Together.