What makes something niche? The fact that there aren’t many people who know about it, or the fact that people don’t know about it yet? Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a lot of surveying and research for work, and one thing I realized is that something that seems niche to me might actually be mainstream to other communities. So for example, let’s take this game: Mobile Legends. None of my friends play it. I’ve heard a decent amount about it, mostly through ads on YouTube and people discussing it on Reddit but I had no idea how huge it was until recently.
During some focus group testing we did with local kids, it turns out that a lot of them played the game. Some of them were as young as 6 years old! At an age 9-12 focus group we had today, all of them played the game – girls and guys. Later in the day, I found out that Tony Fernandez just signed an esports team. I initially thought it was a Dota 2 team until I looked it up – it was a Mobile Legends team. Turns out the game is pretty damn big. But because I didn’t know people who played it, the thought never crossed my mind.
The other day, at the smoking area, I heard some random people discussing Fortnite. I only know a handful of people who play it. Turns out, it’s one of the most popular games right now. The other day, I discovered that a friend didn’t know who Jimmy Eat World was and to me, they’re like one of the biggest bands in the scene. How can you not know Jimmy Eat World? It was mostly due to a difference in age. The same friend listed a bunch of bands I had no idea existed either, so I guess it goes two ways.
So now, I’m sitting here thinking – is something niche to me only because I don’t know about it? Or am I just not doing my due diligence to keep up with the times? What defines a niche though? Does it require to be a percentage of a population and if it surpasses that it becomes mainstream? Is everything I like that is unpopular at the moment an example of a niche? Why am I even contemplating the meaning of the word? Google defines it very clearly:
a shallow recess, especially one in a wall to display a statue or other ornament.
“each niche holding a shepherdess in Dresden china”
recess, alcove, nook, cranny, slot, slit, hollow, bay, cavity, cubbyhole, pigeonhole, opening, aperture;
“in a niche in the wall is a statue of St John”
a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.
“he is now head chef at a leading law firm and feels he has found his niche”
ideal position, calling, vocation, métier, place, function, job, slot, opportunity
“he feels he has found his niche in life”
denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.
“other companies in this space had to adapt to being niche players”
place (something) in a niche.
“these elements were niched within the shadowy reaches”
Why am I even thinking about this? Maybe it’s time to update my music playlist and install Mobile Legends and Fortnite. On a side note, Aliexpress is having a big sale now and I ordered a bunch of things last night. Should be fun getting gifts in the mail over the next few months. Woot.