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  ‘Gen Nexters’: Social Gamers?  
Posted 2007-01-10 by Tony Walsh
The Pew Research Center has published a report entitled "A Portrait of 'Generation Next,'" based on a 2006 study of youth aged 18 to 25 "who have grown up with personal computers, cell phones and the internet and are now taking their place in a world where the only constant is rapid change." I'm not fond of the phrase "Gen Nexter," but I'll use it for the purposes of this post. Among the reported findings:
  • 69% of Gen Nexters say new technologies make it easier to make new friends, compared to 53% of Gen Xers.
  • 86% of Gen Nexters are at least occasional internet users, compared to 91% of Gen Xers, 73% of Baby Boomers, and 46% of Seniors.
  • 51% of Gen Nexters say they sent or received an instant message in the past 24 hours, compared to 22% of Gen Xers.
  • 54% of Gen Nexters have used a major social networking site such as MySpace, 38% say they use it once a day, 38% say they use it once a week. 44% have created a social site profile.
  • 49% of Gen Nexters say they play console-based videogames, compared to 35% of Gen Xers, 13% of Baby Boomers, and 3% of Seniors.
  • 36% of Gen Nexters say they've played videogames in the past 7 days (of that 36%, 51% were males).
The survey was conducted over a 2-month period among 1,501 adults aged 18 and up. 579 Gen Nexters were interviewed.

I deliberately chose to look at statistics related specifically to technology, social networking and gaming, because I believe this generation of youth will be the ones who help shape the future of massive, social virtual worlds. I think the most successful social networks of the future will share some attributes with virtual worlds and videogames. By the sounds of it, Areae's heading in that direction.
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