Millennials grew up during the stock market crash of 2008. While we were young, our parents were focused on cutting costs and trying to scrape together money for retirement. Nobody’s parents had money to take them out to the golf course, let alone get lessons. It was far cheaper — and easier on our parents — for us to play video games.
As a result, we grew up in a video game culture. Most millennials who are adults today grew up playing video games like Halo, Call of Duty, and Battlefield. Video games are so common in our age cohort that they are the kind of thing you can strike up a conversation with a stranger over, much like football or the weather.
We didn’t leave our love of video games in the past, either. Platforms like Twitch and YouTube allow us not only to play video game, but to watch the pros show us how it’s done. Video games are not just a hobby, but an entire sports industry.
As millennials get older, more and more of us are holding influential roles inside companies. According to the Pew Research Center, the oldest millennials were born in 1981, making the oldest millennials 38 years old. In our youth-obsessed culture, that’s more than old enough to hold powerful executive positions. There are millennials in Congress and on the boards of directors.
And almost every one of those millennials grew up playing video games.
The Advantages of Video Games
It’s easier to play video games. You don’t have to get dressed up, pack a bunch of large golf clubs into the car, and drive to a physical location — all you have to do is turn on your console and sign on. This makes it easier to arrange short-notice or impromptu sessions.
Video games are more relaxed. Most people take golf pretty seriously, whereas they consider video games relaxed and lighthearted. Instead of focusing on competing, people laugh and have fun. That relaxed atmosphere makes people — customers, partners, and vendors — feel more comfortable talking about their needs without politicking.
Video games can be played together remotely. To play golf, you and your contact need to be in the same place at the same time. On the other hand, all video games require is an internet connection. This allows you to maintain hot connections with people all over the world.
It’s not that video games are “better” than golf. At the end of the day, both are simply different ways of getting in touch with business contacts. But as more and more millennials take positions of power, video games are likely to take center stage as a way of connecting with clients. In fact, this is already starting to happen, says millennial sales engineer Mitch:
“I was consulting at a client site and one of the things that we brought up during our lunch break was how great the new modern warfare game is to play. We talked about some of our favorite game modes and then decided to add each other once the engagement ended. Ever since, we’ve been playing together fairly frequently and discussing just some of the other problems that he’s facing internally.
Another time, myself and a partner bonded over our shared love of Fortnite. We added each other on that game as well, and have discussed everything from how to go after certain accounts together strategically to what has and hasn’t worked with his technology during his sales cycles.”
And it isn’t just milennials playing video games. As video games become more popular, familiarity with them is becoming more common. Even Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers know about video games — even if your contact is older, odds are they have children of their own, children who are growing up playing video games today.
As the business landscape changes, don’t be afraid to strike up conversations about video games. You never know which impromptu gaming sessions may lead to business breakthroughs.