As has been the constant theme, everything is unprecedented and Hollywood is no exception. In the entertainment and media industry over the past few years, the pandemic has accelerated and exposed a pinching point: a stark generational divide between millennials and Gen Z and how they choose to consume media.
Why video games?
Why video games?
Video games rising to be the predominant at-home entertainment choice is not a surprise when you break it down. Gen Z has always had the options for video games as opposed to their Millennial counterparts who rely heavily on nostalgia, grew up in a pre-digital era, and developed alongside electronics. This is how Gen Z has always known they could spend their leisure time. This sentiment is only further punctuated by the streaming wars and the tsunami of services hitting the scene. Streaming services are missing the mark because of timing despite being "ideal" in this pandemic time: parents are paying for these services. Gen Z isn't necessarily actively choosing to partake in these services, therefore they have less attachment to this form of media. In cases they are paying for subscriptions, they're canceling them due to financial woes exasperated by the pandemic.
But why does this matter?
Gen Z is absolutely dominating the scene, determining the trends, driving the change - and they're only growing. Prior to the pandemic, this demographic was already online. These were the kids whose parents handed them iPads when the family went out to a restaurant for dinner. Interacting in digital spaces is how they were taught to communicate, correspond, and interact with each other. Life, as we know it is being forced to go virtual which only reinforces and cements this behavior.
What does this mean for Hollywood?
The name of the game is adapt. Take your film and TV show ideas and refocus them if you're aiming to target Gen Z. You don't have to necessarily change your content, rather how you choose to present it.
One of the interesting characteristics of Gen Z ideals is their propensity for tackling social issues that have plagued society. This is one of the most active and outspoken generations in recent times. They want to see authentic diversity and representation across the media they consume all in the name of inclusivity.
One of the largest and most successful endeavors in the digital space was the Travis Scott Fortnite concert. This particular event hit on exclusivity with the release of special skins and a popular Gen Z icon. It set a precedent and now we see more and more collaborations similar to this, the latest being Post Malone with Pokemon. I would speculate that more and more people will choose this route as well as dabble into VR experiences.
When you think about it more, video games keep players actively engaged as they perform actions. When watching a movie, it's for entertainment purposes, but you're sitting and absorbing. Playing games immerses you in the world you're running around. In recent years, there has been experimentation with blending a film narrative with video game elements. Take the movie Bandersnatch as an example*,* which employed the "choose your own adventure" aspect of games. Though it takes more work and planning, there are hundreds of stories within one movie.
Ask yourself, how do you use these platforms to your advantage, and what is missing in movies and TV? Get creative and see what you can accomplish!
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