HP Innovation Issue 18: Summer 2021 | Page 10


Gamers of The Future

HP ’ s Director of Gaming & Esports Judy Johnson says the demand for technically advanced gaming that is also a vehicle for increased social connections is growing — and companies must keep up .


Y EARLIEST gaming experience was in the 1980s , gathered around the TV with my siblings taking turns playing Pong on the Commodore 64 — the first consumer gaming PC , released in 1982 . It wasn ’ t much to look at , with robot-like blips and boops and a display that maxed out at 16 colors and 320 x 200 resolution .
Still , I was hooked . I ’ ve been gaming seriously for two decades now , and we ’ ve seen a constant upward trajectory , a growth path that ’ s both exhilarating and inspiring my work leading the OMEN by HP team for the past three years .
The Sony PlayStation 2 , which debuted in 2000 , was another watershed moment . It accelerated the concept of social gaming as an in-person activity . Perhaps your friends ’ Friday night thing , like mine , was to face off over rounds of Madden and Mortal Kombat in someone ’ s living room . During the pandemic , like the millions who have turned to gaming to socialize , de-stress , and be entertained , my friends and I escaped to the Wild West world of Red Dead Redemption 2 , where we spent time exploring , fishing , hunting , and going on missions , even when we couldn ’ t be together off-screen .
Today ’ s games blow those earlier ones out of the water — not only in terms of technological advancement , but in the ability of publishers to build entire worlds , create Hollywood-worthy scripts with complex , beloved characters , and bring immersive entertainment to the mainstream .
Gen Z at the vanguard Consumers at home during the pandemic pushed 2020 shipments of gaming PCs and monitors up nearly 27 % year-overyear , to 55 million units , according to the International Data Corporation Worldwide Quarterly Gaming Tracker . The growth rate and unit volume were the fastest and largest numbers recorded since IDC began tracking this market in 2016 .
But there ’ s no group that ’ s more actively shaping the future of gaming than Gen Z . This cohort has never known a world without the internet . They are dependent on technology to watch movies , attend classes , connect with friends , and play video games , which they play with greater frequency than any other generation . A Deloitte Digital Media Survey found that