Book a Speaker
Grow Membership
Reduce Turnover
Generation Z

What Minecraft Teaches Us About Gen Z

If you aren’t familiar with the online building game Minecraft, you probably don’t have kids. Having been around since 2009, it isn’t the newest game but it’s certainly among the most popular. More than 35 million copies have been purchased and that number grows by the hour.

If you aren’t familiar with the online building game Minecraft, you probably don’t have kids.Having been around since 2009, it isn’t the newest game but it’s certainly among the most popular. More than 35 million copies have been purchased and that number grows by the hour. (In the past 24 hours, 14,614 people purchased the game.)

More shocking than the game’s purchase stats is the fact that children today are obsessed with a game that runs on 1980s animation. Yes, you read that right. The most tech-savvy generation is playing a game using the same technology their parents’ generation used.

But this generation doesn’t care. Unlike the generations that have come before them, this generation is more concerned about entertainment value and battery life than purchasing expensive, over-the-top animation and gadgets.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re seeing a new generation come of age; a generation of realists. This is Generation Z.

For the past six months, XYZ University’s team has been researching the arrival of Generation Z (1996-2009) — the oldest whom will turn 18 this year — to gain a better understanding of what will define and drive this next generation of workers and consumers.

It’s appropriate Gen Z is named after the last letter in the alphabet because their arrival marks the end of clearly defined roles, traditions, and experiences. After all, Zs are coming of age on the heels of what has been referred to as the most disruptive decade of the last century.

Yes, Gen Z is tech savvy, but more than technology, this generation has been shaped by the crises they were born into: school shootings, climate change, terrorism, and the Great Recession.

These dark events have undoubtedly made this generation more cautious, but also provided this generation with the inspiration to change the world — and their realistic approach to life is going to allow them to do it.

Most Zs are the children of Generation X (1965-1981), a generation known for challenging the status quo, who seem to be encouraging their children to find their own way rather than follow a set path.

Gen Z is reportedly among the most stressed generation ever, partly because their parents lead stressful lives and partly because many Zs are involved in numerous extra-curricular activities.

However, this exposure to stress may work to Z’s advantage as they move into adulthood. After all, they will largely be responsible for confronting the aftermath of the financial crisis, as well as a retirement wave, and the effects of climate change.

Fortunately, this is an extremely resourceful and focused generation. Zs show characteristics of being cautious, careful, and rule-followers. They are concerned about their health, the environment, and doing well in life. As a result, teen drug, cigarette, and alcohol use are at all time lows. (This may lead to increased life spans. National Geographic reports one in three children today will live to be 100!)

The bottom line: Raised by parents who have encouraged them to celebrate their individualism during an era of tremendous change, Gen Z is believed to possess great leadership skills and drive.

Zs are inquisitive, entrepreneurial, and globally aware. They are diligent problem solvers and financially responsible, more interested in saving money than spending it. In many ways, the Z generation is similar to that of their grandparent’s generation — the Silent Generation.

They aren’t dreamers, per se, but they are doers — much like Steve, the builder in the Minecraft game they love to play.

Sarah Sladek

Concerned about declining engagement in our nation’s membership associations, non-profits, and workplaces, Sarah Sladek founded XYZ University, the nation’s first and only generations-focused training and engagement strategy company, in 2002.

More posts by this author

Take the first step towards your future.

Looking for a game changer at your next event or a strategy unique to your organization?