Rock festivals are an endangered tradition – computer games are the new generation experience

By 24 March 2021June 29th, 2021No Comments

Fast-food chains and sports brands offer sponsored activities inside the games, and fashion brands are creating their own avatars and virtual collections, shares Laura Olin.

“Oh, how I miss the gigs in Keru­bi. The best part was always when it was super crowd­ed, every­one was sweat­ing and the atmos­phere was amaz­ing”, my friend from Joen­suu start­ed rem­i­nisc­ing dur­ing our win­ter vaca­tion in North­ern Karelia.

“I know, right? I just wish I’d be in a music fes­ti­val”, I sighed once again, who knows how many times I had already done that after the pan­dem­ic started.

Many of us who rep­re­sent gen­er­a­tion X are miss­ing music, gigs, and fes­ti­vals dur­ing these times. Even the sweat and the crowd in the front row. The Finnish fes­ti­vals Ruis­rock, Flow, and Ilosaari are expe­ri­ences that our gen­er­a­tion has shared.

While lis­ten­ing to music, we have made friends, fall­en in love, had fun, and suf­fered from exhaus­tion after spend­ing three days at the festival. 

So, I was slight­ly shocked, when I read the trend researcher Sean Mohanan’s view in the Guardian. Accord­ing to the arti­cle, the youth nowa­days don’t real­ly care for gigs. Their gen­er­a­tion expe­ri­ence is com­put­er games. When our styles are defined by rock or hip-hop, the younger gen­er­a­tion is into cyber­punk and fan­ta­sy characters. 

When we adults are struggling with endless Teams calls and miss real-life encounters, the youth are naturals in spending time in game worlds.

In a way, we have known this was devel­op­ing, but sud­den­ly the pan­dem­ic made it all more clear now. When we adults are strug­gling with end­less Teams calls and miss real-life encoun­ters, the youth are nat­u­rals in spend­ing time in game worlds. 

The first time I real­ly paid atten­tion to this was in Feb­ru­ary 2019, when DJ Marsh­mel­lo attract­ed 10 mil­lion play­ers to his per­for­mance in the Fort­nite game. Last year was a total game-chang­er. Vir­tu­al gigs brought the game envi­ron­ments with their avatars and activ­i­ties to pub­lic knowledge. 

I was involved in orga­niz­ing the vir­tu­al gig with the Finnish rap-duo JVG last May. When my nephews were dur­ing the whole gig tap­ping their mobile phones to get their avatars to dance, I felt like we were at the brink of a revolution. 

Mar­keters have noticed this also.

Fast-food chains and sports brands offer spon­sored activ­i­ties inside the games, and fash­ion brands are cre­at­ing their own avatars and vir­tu­al collections. 

The future top design­ers are most like­ly design­ing clothes for the char­ac­ters of the game Roblox. When the fash­ion world is based on a dig­i­tal Meta­verse, the design­er doesn’t have to care about the eco­log­i­cal issues of tex­tile pro­duc­tion and can focus on creativity.

We have come a long way from the 1990s when mar­ket­ing meant an EA Sports logo at the rink­side of NHL games.

Unlike in my youth, hang­ing out in the game world is not escapism, it’s a part of life. There might not be a sweary arm of a friend touch­ing you acci­den­tal­ly or there might not be some­one spilling a beer on you in front of the main stage, but instead, a friend’s friend who lives across the world can join the gig with you. And, some­one might get lucky enough to float with Travis Scott above the par­ty island.

The video game industry was a 180 billion dollar business last year. That is more than music and sports combined. 

The video game indus­try was a 180 bil­lion dol­lar busi­ness last year. That is more than music and sports combined. 

I’m keep­ing my fin­gers and toes crossed, that it would be pos­si­ble to go to an actu­al music fes­ti­val next sum­mer. But if even after the pan­dem­ic music fes­ti­val crowds seem small­er, you might want to take a look at Fortnite.

That’s where the youth are.

Lau­ra Olin works in vir­tu­al real­i­ty but refus­es to give up the paper news­pa­per. In her arti­cles, Olin tack­les new tech­nol­o­gy and phe­nom­e­na relat­ed to it through a marketer’s glasses. 

First pub­lished on Markki­noin­tiuutiset in March 2021.