Millennials have it tough. They came of age in a post-9/11 world that segued into a depression, and now they’re overeducated, underemployed and they aren’t even the tastemakers in gaming anymore. The one thing millennials could always point to as their generation’s calling card (beyond crippling student debt), was their ability to embrace technology like no other before them. Millennials grew up with joysticks in hand, and even the bros and jocks got into the world of digital combat when they embracedCall of Duty across the nation in record-setting numbers.
But now, a new study shows millennials aren’t at the forefront of tastemaking in gaming. The industry their generation propped up and took ownership of over the last three decades now has information stating that teens consider Xbox a “cooler” brand than Playstation, while millennials prefer Sony’s console.
The study by Google, called “It’s Lit” defines “cool” under Generation Z’s terms: “Teens feel being cool is about being yourself, embracing what you love, rejecting what you don’t, and being kind to others.” That’s pretty wholesome. Google calls it “enlightened” and I call it self-servicing because everyone knows Xbox isn’t cool, but I’m a millennial, so what do I know? Maybe everything I know about gaming, something I’ve been doing almost every day for 30 years, is just incorrect.
The study goes on to say: “Teens feel something is cool if it’s unique, impressive, interesting, amazing or awesome. Something becomes “cool” when it brings joy or happiness or is unique enough to stand out from everything.”
Males 13-17 ranked gaming by far the coolest thing in the world right now, with sports and technology not far behind. Google also ranked The Top Ten Coolest Brands, and they even showed up a few times:
Some of those make sense, but I need an explanation of what’s so cool about Oreo and Dorito products. Is it the various and diverse flavors that weren’t around when millennials were just entering the prime of their cookie and nacho chip purchasing power? Why is Chrome so cool? It sucks RAM unlike any browser out there! That doesn’t bring joy.
Not cool (???):
The fact that teens are embracing Xbox above Playstation in terms of coolness is fascinating considering the reality of current console wars. Sony’s PS4 is outselling the Xbox One 2-1, and Nintendo’s Switch is scooping up market share with their biggest console launch ever. Should Sony be worried about the next iteration of consoles when Xbox’s Project Scorpio launches? Should millennials be concerned that they don’t know what’s cool anymore?
The games that Generation Z loves certainly represent the biggest sellers of the last few years. You have to think these are loved equally by millennials as well:
- The Legend of Zelda
- CoD Black Ops
- Grand Theft Auto
- CS: GO
Considering the above titles could define both generations (including some of Gen X I’m sure), maybe Gen Z and Gen Y aren’t that far apart on what’s cool after all. Perhaps this will just lead to a peace treaty in the console wars and the gap dividing so many gamers. It also seems a bit fishy that Zelda tops this list as one of the best-reviewed games in the history of the series just launched a few months ago. Before Breath of the Wild, it was almost a decade since that last new Zelda, so that data seem skewed. Everyone loves Zelda right now. This still leads to some introspection.
When millennials were growing up, it was: “Genesis can what Nintendon’t.” We were built on competition, on drawing a line and defining each other by the controller we held. Meanwhile, Generation Z just wants people to be cool and game on. They could be the chosen ones — the generation that demands cross-platform play. The consumers that will bring forth the prophecy of no more console exclusives.
Or I could be old and have no idea what I’m talking about. Maybe more teens have Xboxes because their older brother grew up playingHalo and I listen to Freakonomics podcasts too much. Here’s something from the guy from Better Call Saul: