From distraction to interaction: Gaming’s evolution into an immersive canvas for storytelling

2024-06-03

From flyers on the street, billboards hanging, and TV commercials passing through the screen, traditional marketing tactics don’t seem to cut it anymore in an era dominated by smartphones and social media.

Defined by their digital immersion from birth, Gen Z (born 1997-2012) and Gen Alpha (born 2013 onwards) are the ultimate digital natives. They like to get their information fast and in engaging ways. They prefer streaming and social media sites over traditional television and radio. This shift in behavior highlights the need for brands to level up their strategies to connect with them.

This necessary shift in strategy has found a surprising ally in gaming. Once dismissed as merely distracting and time-consuming, gaming has now evolved as not only a popular form of entertainment but as a transformative medium uniquely suited to connect with and engage these young, dynamic audiences.

The gaming industry has emerged as a central figure in this narrative. In the Philippines, there are approximately 43 million gamers, predominantly from the younger generations. In 2023, a report revealed that 56 percent of Filipino Gen Z turn to gaming for stress relief. Additionally, more than half of Gen Alphas and 48 percent of Gen Z respondents feel that gaming enhances their connections with friends and family.

The potential of gaming has also been recognized by the academe. Previously viewed as a mere distraction, educators are now noting the positive impacts that gaming can deliver. In a statement, former Department of Education (DepEd) Makati Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Carleen S. Sedilla emphasized the ability of gaming to engage youth passions, channeling them into productive pursuits within computers, programming, and the broader STEM field.

“Games are a means of capturing the passions of the youth and translating them into meaningful endeavors in computers, programming, and the STEM field,” she noted, highlighting how gaming bridges entertainment with educational and social contributions.

All these underscore the integral role of gaming in the lives of young Filipinos and highlight its potential as a platform for meaningful connection, dialogue, and community building.

Anchored by creativity and a deep understanding of the demographic, a plethora of strategies await those who are ready to join in the fun and set on hitting the “start” button. However, while fun can be a tool for engagement, truly resonating with Gen Z and Gen Alpha requires brands to go deeper than mere entertainment. Today’s youth go beyond passive consumption and look for brands that reflect their values, advocate for social causes, and contribute positively to their communities.