Gaming in 2022: Preteens represent growing market segment

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With the estimated value of the global gaming market at around US$300bn – more than the movie and music markets combined – companies in this space are looking to find their niche. One such niche is catering to younger players.

If there’s one growing trend in gaming for 2022, it is that younger gamers are increasingly dominating the market. Under-18’s represent 20 percent of the gaming market in the US according to Statista. And this share gets bigger for some games.

26 percent of all preteens in the US say they play Epic Game’s free-to-play (F2P) smash hit Fortnite. Similarly, 33 percent say they play Roblox and 24 percent play Minecraft, according to market research firm SuperData.

Some startups are tapping into this trend in interesting ways. SuperAwesome – founded in 2013 and acquired by Epic Games in 2020 – builds what they call “kidtech” or tools to enable safe gaming and other online experiences for minors.

Speaking at Web Summit 2021, SuperAwesome CEO Dylan Collins said: “We see the fabric of the internet fundamentally getting younger. And we realised more and more companies needed tools to be able to actively engage with kids, younger audiences, in a way that maintains their anonymity, their safety.”

Currently, SuperAwesome’s kidtech assists roughly 13 billion transactions in this space every month on a global scale.

Infographic on gaming in 2022

“If you’ve got kids and they spend time in games or any digital services, the chances are that our kidtech behind the scenes is doing something to keep them very, very safe when they’re engaging,” he explained.

Dylan added that companies including Lego, Disney and Hasbro use SuperAwesome products to power their community functionality for under-13’s. And games including Fortnite, Pokémon Go and Among Us use their parent verification tools.

“When a child is coming into those games, the parents get a set of tools where they can provide permissions for what kind of functionality their kids are able to access.”

SuperAwesome also works with ad agencies to deliver ads into these online games in a safe way, driving revenue to creators while making sure children never see age inappropriate ads and that their personal data is never collected.

Asked what younger gamers want from their games, Dylan said that being creators is a large part of the modern gaming experience: “We’re starting to see a return to play.”

Ten years ago when you were playing games they were a relatively linear experience. Now we are seeing games [where] all the rulebooks are being torn up in terms of the empowerment we are giving to creators, the power we are giving to players, and just how important younger audiences and that cohort is.”

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Main image: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

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