Young users prefer immersive media over social media. Why it matters

Everyrealm, an immersive media infrastructure company backed by a16z, claims that young user habits are changing, favoring immersive game-like experiences in virtual worlds over social media. Everyrealm is behind popular virtual community powered projects like The Row and Fantasy Islands and other upcoming social video games with fully developed digital environments.

What is immersive media?

Immersive media refers to interactive, social, video game-like content delivered through virtual worlds. It could set a precedent for a new frontier for social media and video games, allowing people to build virtual lives in online environments. It is the convergence of social media and gaming and could be the future of online social interaction.

The Metaverse concept, a vision of networked virtual worlds, is also part of immersive media. It’s seen as a way to provide more engaging and fulfilling experiences beyond high scores and boss fights, and to offer socializing, work, and other online adventures.

The report highlights that young audiences spend more free time playing social video games and virtual worlds than watching TV or reading books. It also notes that video games have become popular with younger people because they offer levels of engagement and interactivity that traditional forms of media cannot match. Players can connect with friends, engage with in-game economies, and create their own content.

Gen Z values ​​close relationships and finds that connecting with close friends is the easiest way to feel happier. As digital natives, they decisively drive the change towards visual communication.

Social media disruptive technology

Instagram engages users an average of 30 minutes a day, while the average Roblox (NYSE:RBLX) player spends more than 2.5 hours in-game every day. That’s five times more time spent gaming than social media.

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Nearly 90% of Gen Alpha and Gen Z consider themselves gamers or gaming enthusiasts, with Gen Z gamers spending almost twice as much time with friends in virtual worlds as they do in real life.

More than half of them state that they can express themselves more easily in virtual worlds. Additionally, approximately half of this younger demographic spends up to $60 billion annually on gaming and in-game purchases.

According to the survey, younger people find video games more interactive and engaging than traditional media, which explains why the report predicts that the popularity of immersive media will continue to grow. People want to be able to create their own virtual lives and engage in an online environment.

Janine Yorio, CEO of Everyrealm, says companies must prepare for the rise of immersive media by adapting to this trend shift if they want to stay relevant.

The report’s findings show that immersive media has transformed the digital landscape and disrupted the traditional social media market. It underscores the rapid growth of the market, which is worth over $1 trillion in annual revenue and encompasses several existing industries including video games, haptics and virtual reality devices.

According to Statista, the global video game market could be worth US$482 billion in 2027, and the virtual goods market, which was nearly US$61 billion in 2021, is expected to reach US$203.6 billion by 2028.

These are bold predictions, but if trends continue as they are now, they are not entirely unrealistic.

Conclusion: The future is immersive

The latest report from Everyrealm suggests that immersive media is the new frontier for social media and gaming. The younger generation’s habits are changing and they spend more time engaging with social video games and virtual worlds than traditional forms of media.

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The rise of immersive media will continue to disrupt the traditional social media market, and businesses and marketers must adapt to this shift in trend to stay relevant.

Another finding also suggests that the popularity of immersive media could continue to grow, with estimates of nearly $482 billion in annual sales in 2027. This new media type could change the digital landscape as individuals seek to build virtual lives and participate in online environments.

Nonetheless, here are the top Metaverse-related stocks on TipRanks to consider that could benefit from the rise of immersive media.