C.C.O.S.T. Effective: What Drives Generation Alpha in Gaming

Last Updated: April 2024

C.C.O.S.T. Effective: What Drives Generation Alpha in Gaming

Generation Alpha is the youngest generation that is a consumer, with the age bracket consisting of those born between 2010 and 2025. This generation has been dubbed the “upagers” meaning that they are maturing faster physically but also mentally, socially, and psychologically. They are also the generation with the earliest access to technology, having been introduced to technology at every stage of their life.

As gamers, Gen Alpha is primarily focused on five primary ‘aspects’, aptly dubbed C.C.O.S.T. by Moonrock. The five aspects are identified as: Challenge, Competition, Ownership, Social, and Teamwork.


Challenge | C.C.O.S.T. Effective: What Drives Generation Alpha in Gaming
30 %want to make a difference or help others or the planet 2
41 %of Gen Alpha want to master the game they are playing 1
81 %of Gen Alpha likes to view gaming content as a way of getting ideas for new ways to play, themselves 1
42 %watch tips and tricks gaming video content 1

Gen Alpha wants to be challenged when gaming. Whether that’s through interactive worlds that are created to engage their sense of achievement, or through games that urge them to compete against one another, Gen Alpha wants to feel like they have something to accomplish. In studies conducted with Gen Alpha, participants noted that the third most important reason (1) for them to game was for a sense of achievement. Additional studies have indicated that Gen Alpha wants to play video games, with over 93% indicating that they already play games (1).


Competition | C.C.O.S.T. Effective: What Drives Generation Alpha in Gaming
71 %of surveyed Gen Alpha gamers cite competition with others and friends as important to them 1

Competition ranks highly for why Gen Alpha plays video games (1), with an incredible 71% of respondents saying that they need to compete in-game to feel satisfied. Additionally, when asked why they game, achievement was ranked as the third most important reason (1). Competition ranks highly again for Gen Alpha as the desire to demonstrate their skill or aptitude to their peers is stronger than in former generations (1).


Ownership | C.C.O.S.T. Effective: What Drives Generation Alpha in Gaming
92 %of Gen Alpha respondants value being themselves 2
58 %of Gen Alpha respondants have spent money on or in games in the past 6 months with over half of the 58% spending between $5-$25 monthly in that timeframe 1

Gen Alpha is focused on the idea of being able to create, or having ownership over aspects of gaming. In a study conducted with Gen Alpha, researchers noted that special characters and gear were important to Gen Alpha because they wanted to see themselves reflected in the game. Being able to create worlds or characters gives Gen Alpha the ability to be themselves. This correlates to data that was collected on Gen Alpha that indicated that 92% of participants didn’t want to fit in, they wanted to be themselves.

Because of their penchant for creating and owning things that reflect themselves, 58% of surveyed Gen Alpha participants noted that they spent money on, or in, games. This is because they want to feel a sense of ownership over their appearance and physical depictions in-game and want to make their characters or customizable features reflect themselves. Most notably, because of how tech-focused Gen Alpha is, most spent their money in-game on mobile devices. This indicates that not only do they want to customize and create their own individual characters but also show this to their peers.


Social | C.C.O.S.T. Effective: What Drives Generation Alpha in Gaming
1 st“Multiplayer and social aspects” tied for first with “Exploration and open worlds” as the most appealing feature about video games 1
68 %of Gen Alpha respondants cite 'the ability to socialize with other players and friends' as important 1

Gaming has become one of the primary ways that Gen Alpha socialize with 68% of Gen Alpha gamers saying that they game as a way to socialize. In addition to that, Gen Alpha has indicated that 70% of them play and watch video games because they need to feel a part of the community. Additionally, Gen Alpha ranks ‘social aspects’ as the second most important feature to them in a video game. So given that Gen Alpha went through some of their most critical socialization phases online during the Covid-19 pandemic, it makes sense that they enjoy socializing via gaming.

Gen Alpha don’t just play games as a form of socialization, they also use gaming as a vehicle to socialize with other people like friends and family members. They will use gaming, gaming videos, content they’ve consumed about gaming, cool campaigns they’ve seen online, and show it to their friends and family as a way to spark conversation and foster connection.


Teamwork | C.C.O.S.T. Effective: What Drives Generation Alpha in Gaming
73 %of Gen Alpha respondants said 'the ability to cooperate towards a common goal with other players / friends' is important to them 1
70 %of respondants both play and watch games and view video game content 1
29 %said “multiplayer and social aspects” are an appealing feature in video games 1

Much like Gen Alpha’s desire for socialization and social interaction, teamwork is high on the list of aspects for why Gen Alpha plays video games. When surveyed, 73% of Gen Alpha said that they need to cooperate which indicates a strong desire to work together in-game. Given that Gen Alpha’s top response for why they game is social (1), it makes a lot of sense as to why teamwork would be important to Gen Alpha as well. This generation also enjoys interactive in-game social experiences that allow for family and friends to be brought together in-game.