How to design for the vast gaming universe

At a recent panel at D&AD Festival, designers and gaming experts came together to discuss the balance between micro-communities and mass appeal

“One big stat that people often don’t consider is that there are over three billion gamers in the world,” said Ben Thrasher, strategy director at Design Bridge and Partners, in a panel at the D&AD Festival in London in mid-May. “That segmentation, that demographic, is also different to what we would expect,” he said, highlighting the 55-64 age bracket, gaming ‘grandparents’, and new mothers seeking immersive experiences at home as three audiences that have grown enormously.

The inescapable rise of gaming has infiltrated all parts of our lives, whether you consider yourself one of those three billion gamers or not. Thrasher pointed to the Super Mario Bros film, which grossed over $1 billion, as evidence. Or there’s the Last of Us, Naughty Dog’s enormously successful game-turned-TV series, which shattered the boundaries between different forms of screen-based entertainment. “And if we need any other nod that this is a category for everybody to get involved with, our favourite disruptor Netflix is also increasing the investment in Netflix Games, which now has over two million users a day,” Thrasher said.