Fandom Inside Gaming 23

Fandom's Inside Gaming Report Uncovers the Mindset & Motivations of Gamers Across Generations

April 13, 2023


Millennials - Not Gen Z - Represent the Largest Untapped Demographic

Leadership Skills, Teamwork & Collaboration Are Positive Traits Parents Identify in Co-Gaming

San Francisco, CA - April 13, 2023 - Video game franchises have taken mainstream media by storm and gaming as a pastime is showing no signs of slowing down - its a hobby that has captured the cultural zeitgeist and crossed generational lines, and there's no such thing as a ‘typical gamer’ any more. Now more than ever the industry needs to adopt a more nuanced and generational approach to game development & marketing in order to make a true impact with gaming fans.

Fandom’s Inside Gaming report couples Fandom’s robust, proprietary user data with a custom global study that examines how gamer motivations and behaviors vary by generation and provides a playbook for the gaming industry at large on how to truly understand the mindset of a gaming fan. The findings from the 2023 Inside Gaming report will help brands stand out in this increasingly crowded marketplace while giving them the tools to identify, interact and more precisely connect with today’s gaming audience. This deep dive into the generational differences in gaming uncovered findings in three key areas:

  • Brand & Advertising Impact - examines generational motivations on gaming influence and intent to purchase, as well as which advertiser categories and specific brands are primed to make a huge splash with gamers

  • Gamer Motivations by Generation - explores the differences between major generational groups and their motivations & influence within the gaming space

  • Co-Gaming - highlights positive findings around gaming between parents & kids while also providing unique insights to fuel advertising strategies when aligning with families in the gaming space

Key findings include:

  • Over the past five years, engagement with gaming has increased across every demographic, platform, and genre - 45% of gamers are spending more time gaming than ever before

  • 80% of gamers of all ages are interested in playing games regardless of whether they are already fans of a franchise - which creates significant opportunities for content creators as they look to mine alternate IP for new gaming franchises

  • Despite teens and Gen Z spending more time gaming than they did last year, older generations of players are spending more hours per week gaming

  • Building off that, Millennials are a key (and untapped) audience in gaming - 52% of Millennials rank gaming as their #1 interest

  • 75% of Fandom gamers eat and drink while gaming, making Food & Beverage a key non-endemic category for gamers

  • More parents and guardians are seeing benefits of gaming with their kids than ever before: co-gaming parents are +83% more likely to agree that gaming fosters leadership skills, +77% more likely to agree it teaches important life skills and +38% more likely to agree it establishes teamwork & collaboration

  • Top 5 games parents play with their kids are Mario (50%), Minecraft (48%), Roblox (37%), Super Smash Bros (33%) and Kirby (32%).

“More than 150 million gaming fans come to Fandom and our 100K+ gaming communities each month, allowing us to unlock precise and unmatched insights about gamers across generations and platforms,” said Stephanie Fried, Fandom’s CMO. “These new insights into the behaviors, attitudes and perceptions of today’s gamers will enable marketers and studio leadership to drive better fan experiences and incremental revenue.”

An executive summary of the study can be found HERE and below are additional findings.

Brand & Advertising Impact:
The study uncovered huge opportunities for brands to more strategically tap into gaming audiences - namely in the CPG and QSR industries - and identified the generations that represent the biggest untapped opportunity for marketers. Findings include:

  • 86% of Fandom gamers are influenced to purchase a brand or product that invests significantly in the gaming space, and nearly half are heavily influenced to do so.

  • Millennials are the largest untapped target in the gaming space:
    • 40% of Fandom’s Millennial audience spend over 22 hours per week gaming, compared to only 29% of tweens.

    • Influence to purchase brands that have investments in the gaming space gets stronger with age: Millennials are more than +24% more likely to be heavily influenced to purchase compared to the average user on Fandom.

  • 75% of Fandom gamers eat and drink while gaming, making the Food & Beverage industry one of the most influential outside categories for gamers.
    • Gamers are +71% more likely to be most inclined to purchase Caffeinated Energy Drinks that heavily invest in the gaming space, ranking highest among F&B categories.

    • Snacks, soft drinks, and “Heat & Serve” meals trailed with 58%, 42% and 39%, respectively.

  • Gaming-adjacent items are extremely important to the game-play experience: Fandom gamers rank high speed internet (88%) peripherals (i.e. mouse, keyboard etc.) (74%) and gaming accessories (i.e. gaming chair) (41%) as most critical to their gaming experience

Gamer Motivations by Generation:
There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach to understanding and marketing to gaming audiences. Motivation and influence vary by generation, so it's critical to understand the mindset of a gaming fan in order to make a true impact in the marketplace. Findings include:

  • Overall, 45% of gamers are spending more time gaming; and while Millennials are spending more time gaming per week, the biggest growth in overall time spent gaming vs last year was seen among tweens and teens, with 63% and 48%, respectively.

  • The top-ranking factors for trying new games are: (1) game quality, followed by (2) storyline & plot, then (3) design and visuals, suggesting that gamers across the board are looking for more immersive and engaging experiences.
    • Still, younger generations are more likely to be influenced by “cultural hype” while older audiences are more influenced by the immersive and deep characters and storylines.

    • This points to the importance of building strategies to cater to different audiences - building viral programs that lead to cultural buzz is key to aligning with younger audiences while building programs that allow players to immerse themselves in the universe & connect to the characters and storyline is key for older audiences.

  • The top-ranking overall motivations for Fandom gamers are:
    • Stress relief (48%)

    • Relaxation (47%)

    • Escapism (45%)

  • Younger generations of gamers are more interested in competitive gaming and making social connections, while older gamers gravitate more toward games with potential for intellectual stimulation.

  • Among gaming genres, adventure, sandbox, survival and fighting games are most popular with Fandom gamers of all ages.

  • Tweens, however, are most likely to play battle royal (49%), racing (46%) and survival games (39%); while millennials gravitate more toward MMO (41%), strategy (27%) and RPG (26%) genres, with games like Elden Ring or World of Warcraft.

  • The biggest drivers for Gen Z and Millennials are character and storyline, with rich and complex backgrounds; while younger gamers gravitate more toward competitive games, with an emphasis on coordinated teamwork.

With the gaming industry booming, time spent gaming increasing, and gaming IP’s seeing huge success crossing over into TV and movies, gaming as a pastime is here to stay. Interestingly, the findings uncover benefits for parents co-gaming with their kids, as well as co-gaming motivations by age group:

  • Within the co-gaming ecosystem, gaming isn’t the only motivator for parents and their children. They also enjoy discussing strategy (47%) and research (37%).

  • Parents who choose to game with their kids do so for these main reasons:
    • As a fun activity to do together (56%)

    • Kids ask them to play (44%)

    • Parents are avid gamers themselves and want to continue the trend (41%)

  • Age does affect behavioral motivations in co-gaming, particularly among parents with children aged 3-8 as they are +89% more likely to co-game in order to better understand the content of the games their kids are playing.

  • Parents of teens are +46% more likely to play games with their kids.

  • The top-ranking benefits of gaming for parents include:
    • Establishes teamwork and collaboration (33%)

    • Teaches important life lessons (26%)

    • Fosters leadership skills (25%)

  • The leading games for parents to co-game with kids 7-12 years old are Super Smash Brothers, Fortnite and Roblox.

  • Parents who co-game with their teenage children aged 13-17 play Rocket League, Cuphead and Splatoon.

The 2023 Inside Gaming report identifies macro-level entertainment patterns and trends based on a survey of 15,000 Global Fandom users. These insights were validated and deepened through Fandom’s robust user data - more than 350 million monthly unique visitors, 45 million pages of content across 250,000 wikis - and qualitative and quantitative insights from Fandom’s proprietary fan panel. This methodology provides a 360-degree view of what's happening in the gaming landscape through the eyes of Fandom.

Fandom is the world’s largest fan platform where fans immerse themselves in imagined worlds across entertainment and gaming. Reaching more than 350 million unique visitors per month and hosting more than 250,000 wikis, Fandom is the #1 source for in-depth information on pop culture, gaming, TV and film, where fans learn about and celebrate their favorite fandoms. Fandom’s Gaming division manages the online video game retailer Fanatical. Fandom Productions, the content arm of Fandom, enhances the fan experience through curated editorial coverage and branded content from trusted and established publishing brands Gamespot, TV Guide and Metacritic, along with its Emmy-nominated Honest Trailers and the weekly video news program The Loop. For more information follow @getfandom or visit:

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