Beyond High Scores: The Social Magic of Gen Z’s Friend-Making in Video Games

    “Life is a lot like a video game. You control what happens.” — Michael L. Ceorgoveanu. Gen Z are engaging with games more than ever before, making them part of their everyday lives and thinning the line between in-person interaction and online communication. The sheer prevalence of gaming, as stated by Newzoo, can be seen in how 9 out of 10 Gen Z respondents reported being game enthusiasts, compared to only 79% for the total online population. In addition, 70 % want to socialize within game worlds and beyond, while half spend money on video games – which is also higher than the 42% average for all other age groups. 

    The Unique Comfort of Gen Z in Forging Connections via Gaming

    Gen Z has embraced the online world as a unique space to self-express and find meaningful connections. Statistics from The Metaverse: A View From Inside study shows that 65% of participants consider relationships built online just as significant as real life ones. With this in mind, Gen Z feels more confident when it comes to expressing themselves within the digital realm. The gaming community is a place where Gen Z finds their footing for online interaction and making new friends who might share the same interests. It’s been found in a survey done by Rockstar energy drink that 83% of male teens enjoy getting together with peers in person to play a game while 75% admit doing exactly the same but through connecting digitally or via live streaming platforms like Twitch. This ultimately resulted in more than 50% of gamers creating lasting friendships out of these experiences.

    Gen Z is paving the way for a new generation of socializing online. They are more comfortable than previous generations in expressing themselves and making friends virtually. An example of this can be seen through Deloitte’s survey, which found that 48% of Gen Zs and millennials spend more time interacting with others online than they do with their physical world. Moreover, 40% say they find it easier to connect with people through video games rather than in person, citing reasons such as providing them with useful insights and feeling like part of a story rather than just an observer. What’s more significant about this generation’s shift towards favoring online connections over real-time ones is how it highlights avenues for mental health relief (over 30% surveyed felt better about themselves when playing video games). 

    Forging Connections Through Online Video Games

    One way to make friends while playing video games is to join in on live streams. Platforms such as Twitch allow players from different parts of the world to just come together via streaming or voice/text chat sessions. Pledgesports highlights that joining forums can be a great opportunity for gamers looking to connect with like-minded individuals who share their interests and challenges alike. Additionally, many sites have plenty of resources where gamers may participate in tournaments or meet up during weekdays for competitions. Last but not least – eSports might be an exciting option if you want something bigger and grander experience comparable to “in-person” relationships. These large scale event spaces bring people and teams from every corner behind screens representing their respective teams – this forms connections between individuals without having met each other before.

    It’s refreshing to see how creative Gen Zers can be when it comes down to locating comfort levels both emotionally and socially. This shift from tangible interaction towards digital connectivity confirms many Gen Z’s opinions that online friends can be just as meaningful, if not more against traditional face-to-face friendships.


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