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The freeloading teens

Despite the gaming industry predicted to have an estimated worth of $300bn by 2025, teens are in no rush to splash their cash on it anytime soon.

We asked our panel of teen Beano Brain Trendspotters to share how they’re able to stay in charge and on top of the gaming world whilst saving their pennies.

“I only really like to ask for money from my parents if I need lunches. I’m not going to waste their money on video games.” - Freddie, age 15.

The best things in life are free Free-to-play games have created a whole new side to the gaming industry. Given the endless choice available at the click of a button, the low-barrier-to-entry is allowing teens to tap into the gaming world in whichever way they choose to.

So, whether it’s a quick game of Google Snake on the school bus or a sit-down Roblox building session, there’s a free-to-play game out there for everyone and it’s creating easily accessible gaming trends for all. And better yet, there’s a ‘no-strings-attached' kind of relationship - if they’ve not paid for a game, there’s no guilt in deleting it when the hype is over and replacing it with the next best (and likely free) game.

“I tend to try not to buy games because I don’t want to spend a lot of money on them then never play them again after a week (which happens a lot).” - Lilian, age 14.

“I don't think I'd ever pay for a trending multiplayer game unless it stays popular for more than 6 months, because when the popularity of the game goes down, there won't be as many players which will affect the gameplay quality.” Ashton, age 16.

More buck for their bang The gaming industry has most definitely latched on to teens' love of free games. But rather than offering them at no-cost, most have adopted subscription-based models where players can access ‘free’ games at a monthly/yearly cost.

As much as teens would love to take on every subscription going, they’ve grown conscious of the financial cutbacks at home. Those a little more serious about gaming want to get more and spend less. They are carefully selecting the subscription that best suits their gaming needs, rationalizing it with parents and adding it to the Christmas list.

“Since I play games a lot I bought Xbox Live Gold pass as it allows me to get new games all the time for about 10-15 pounds a month... you can then share games you’ve bought with friends on Xbox too.” - Rowan, age 14

“I was able to get Overwatch 2 on PlayStation plus for free – it would have been £50 if I bought it separately.” Freddie, age 15.

Work hard, play harder If and when the time comes to splash the cash, teens are certainly making game developers work for their money. The bar has been set high by the quality of free-to-play games and teens want to see a return on every penny they’ve paid for.

So before sealing the deal, they’ll do their research by checking out the latest YouTube reviews, assessing the different game modes and features, and predicting how much gameplay they’ll get. If it passes the value-for-money check, only then might it be added to the basket.

I’ve bought and played consistently was FIFA23 which I bought the ultimate addition on the Xbox store it was £80 for the preorder ultimate addition which I believe is good value because I play it all year round.” Theo, age 14.

“If I'm hearing good reviews on YouTube and TikTok it always gives me a good reason to buy a game, for example Modern Warfare 2.” Rowan, age 14.

Teens have strength in numbers. Their need for free-to-play games is creating wide player bases and building popularity amongst some of the top trending games today.

If you'd like to know more about this audience or have access to our teen Beano Brain Trendspotters, please get in touch and use our brain. We're here to help.


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