Unless you’ve been under a digital rock, you’ve probably heard the term metaverse at least a few times within the past couple of years.

And just when you were getting used to the term cyberspace, right?

In 2022, cyberspace is where it was, and metaverse is where it’s at.

The Metaverse’s Big Players

A new study from Bain & Company (B&C) reveals young gamers are spending more time and money in the metaverse, and they’re doing it more than anyone else.

According to the study, passive entertainment isn’t as popular as it once was among younger audiences, despite the abundance of free and paid streaming services.

People aged 13 to 17 worldwide spend more time playing video games than watching television, listening to music, or enjoying other media formats.

In addition to spending more hours in the metaverse than older gamers, B&C says the younger players are expecting to increase their time there in the future.

B&C Media & Entertainment Practice Global Head Andre James says the business community has been confused about what the metaverse is and how it will push commerce and daily life into the digital realm.

“Meanwhile, young gamers have been paving the future of the metaverse,” says James. “They have adopted to metaverse-style games, often preferring to socialize with friends in games more than in person. They are increasingly comfortable with virtual reality, so even those that don’t currently play in the metaverse are likely to do so in the future.”

According to B&C, younger gamers are most-attracted to immersive and social games with creation features and in-game purchase options on all devices.

Virtual Over Real Life

B&C says half of the young gamers prefer spending time with friends in-game instead of in-person, indicating a shift in preferences.

According to B&C, the shift shows how gamer preferences have changed as the delineation between digital and real-world experiences dissipates.

B&C says video games are turning into the foundation of a more-expansive collection of entertainment experiences.

“Social experiences in game spaces lay the foundation for other online activities, such as concerts, sporting events, and other aspects of life, including work and commerce,” says B&C in a press release. “We will likely see this growing demand for community experiences as a catalyst for a broader metaverse.”

B&C expects payment models, like free-to-play and subscription-based, to become more popular as video games become the foundation for other entertainment.

According to the study, 56 percent of younger gamers are comfortable paying to unlock in-game performance enhancements, while many older players are not.

The study also showed that younger gamers like playing online with friends and family instead of strangers.

According to the study, older gamers who play for fun are more-likely to play solo.

Approximately half of younger gamers indicated they’d prefer to attend school events in the metaverse and play games with friends online instead of in person.

B&C says that, while younger gamers have differing motivations and preferences worldwide, increasing similarities will lead to additional chances for global success.

Who’s Minding the Metaverse?

B&C says developers and publishers must continue accommodating younger gamers’ preferences for maximum potential.

Accommodations include creating fun and immersive cross-platform social experiences that players can customize.

B&C says scalable experiences with communities and worlds beyond the initial games will retain players the longest.

According to B&C, game development companies compete with other tech companies for the best coders yet pay less than competitors.

B&C says companies should adapt talent strategies to deliver top-tier metaverse content that younger gamers crave and retain the right people.

B&C says the strategy requires traditional above-market compensation and benefits and creating opportunities to work at more-virtual, less-hierarchical, leaner, and more agile companies.

By Benjie Cooper

Raised on geek culture, Benjie has been in cannabis news since 2014, and a consumer since long before that. Before starting CannaGeek, he wrote for the Candid Chronicle and co-hosted the Nug Life Radio Show.