What generation will make up 75 percent of the workforce in 2025? If you guessed millennials, you’d be right! According to an article titled "How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America" by Morley Winograd and Dr. Michael Hais, by 2020, millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans, and by 2025 they will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce. What does that mean for corporate planners? They will have to evolve the way they plan corporate events from boomers and Gen X’ers to millennials or face having an event that will become a social disaster! In this article, I’m going to provide facts on how to execute a corporate event using electronic games. Let's press start and begin!
Numbers Don’t Lie
Let’s start with a few figures that may surprise people. In 2016, the video game industry generated $91 billion in revenues worldwide. The eSports market generated $892 million in revenue, up 19 percent. Virtual Reality consoles reached $2.7 billion in its first year. These figures may not impress some, but they should. The eSports market, which is competitive video gaming, has become the next big thing for advertisers looking to sell ad space, and who can blame them? There were 36 million viewers who watched the 2015 League of Legends Championship match compared to the 31 million viewers who watched the 2016 NBA Championship finals. How can planners ignore this data that people are participating more in video games than actual live sports?
The Electronic Games Era
Let me try and guess what people are thinking: the people who play or watch video games are just kids in their teens. How does a corporate planner plan an event for someone who won’t have a corporate job for another 10 years? According to Entertainment Software Associations, in a study of more than 4,000 American households, the average age for a male video game player is 35 and the average age of a female gamer is 44. The average number of years a gamer has been playing is 13. Makes sense since the first video game ever invented was by William Higinbotham in 1958. Video games didn’t really grow in popularity until the 1970s when Pong, a two-dimensional table tennis game, was released. How is this important? Anyone after the 1970s had the opportunity to play and understand a video game. This doesn’t mean that everyone got the chance to play a video game, but there are gamers who consider themselves to be frequent gamers. In 2015, ESA estimated 155 million Americans regularly played video games. That means about 116 million Americans find video games as a way to provide themselves with mental stimulation or education. What are planners waiting for? Why haven’t they tapped into this?
Education from an Electronic Game
There is a way planners can execute a corporate event by using electronic games. Use electronic games in an educational and mentally stimulating way! Professional sports players like Jarvis Jones, the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, use games to help them on the field. “Madden helps you out a whole lot when you’re trying to learn different things. Using these playbooks (from Madden) teaches you a lot about what the team runs. If you actually know what’s going on, it’s very helpful.”
People have also seen gamification used in corporate events, but how long will gamification be able to survive if it doesn't evolve in the next 10 years? The evolution will be the use of electronic games and live events to teach people business and life skills.
Forward to the Future
When a planner just plans an educational live event, like an Escape the Room or a Scavenger Hunt, that can teach participants about problem-solving skills, but it doesn't offer anything to practice problem-solving in their free time. Have people play a video game that can help them learn the skills you taught them from the live event. This way people can practice different business and life skills on their own by playing a video game and can apply what they practiced to the real world. Professional sports teams have implemented this into their organization. Why haven't corporate planners implemented this for corporations?
Matthew Pearl is the founder and lead planner for Blue Pearl Event, an event planning business in Newton, NJ. He specializes in college, community and corporate events. Connect with him here.