Video games are (not) for kids!

If you grew up playing video games in the 70s or 80s, it’s likely that at some point in your life you heard someone tell you that they were nothing more than toys, a kid’s thing. These people may not have imagined that our passion for the media would remain, and as the years progressed, the number of seniors who play games has increased significantly.

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This information they brought Matt Piscatella, CEO of The NPD Group, a market analysis firm, to the public. They found that looking only at people over the age of 45 in the United States, the country had about 64.9 million gamers in 2018, a number that rose to 82.9 million in 2020 and 87 million two years later.

Already, according to a survey conducted by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the 45 to 54 age group today represents 12% of North American consumers. In addition, the average player would be 33 years old and it is worth noting that 76% of electronic game users are over 18 years old.

That is, at least in the United States, three-quarters of the population is now adults, and if you look at the share of players over the age of 45 alone, it already exceeds the number of minors. This confirms the idea that many people carry with them a passion that may have started 30, 40 years ago.

Credit: Disclosure/ESA

Also according to the association, whose main goal is to protect the interests of the video game industry, 70% of respondents usually play on smartphones, while 52% choose consoles, 43% computers and 26% tablets. Additionally, 60% admitted to gaming on more than one different device, with the majority (36%) splitting their time between mobile and consoles.

When it came to style preference, puzzles were ranked as the favorite, with 71% of smartphone players and 64% of PC players. This genre was not distinguished only on consoles, arcade games were in the first place among the respondents, 68%.

It’s also worth noting that 48% of people identified as female, helping to demystify another long-held idea that this is a male-dominated media.

Finally, the ESA study serves to illustrate a trend that has gained traction in the industry, which is that video games are not just for entertainment. For 91% of respondents, games are great for mental stimulation, while 89% defend them as stress relievers. As for 86%, games can still be educational, 91% believe they can develop problem-solving skills, and 80% think games help improve communication.

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Returning to the question of an aging population, the explanation for this increase in recent years and observed in a survey conducted by the NPD Group would be the COVID-19 pandemic. As people spent a lot of time indoors, playing video games would be one of the main means of entertainment for many. According to the Nielsen Company, between March 23 and June 3, 2020, the number of players increased by 46% in the United States, by 41% in France, by 28% in the United Kingdom and by 23% in Germany.

And this is a trend that will not stop. A survey by the ESA found that 92% of respondents said they continue to spend as much on games today as they did during the turbulent period we went through due to the pandemic. As for 61%, the idea for the coming year is to maintain the gaming habit, and another 19% hope to spend even more time playing.

Although this data only takes into account the North American audience, a market that has more than 215 million players, it gives us an idea of ​​how the industry has changed in recent decades. With the popularization of smartphones, even here it is common to see older people enjoying themselves with a wide variety of games, many just to pass the time and some aimed at stimulating the brain.

Credit: Play/Liks Digital/Unplash

On the other hand, we also have a large number of users in their 40s and 50s who have never been away from gaming. While many of them still look at video games as mere entertainment, others have made the medium their profession, but what is common among this audience is a passion for something that comes from the cradle.

Most importantly, today the industry is so mature that there is room for everyone. From kids who are still taking their first steps into this fascinating world, to seniors who have embraced it after some reluctance, we won’t stop playing for lack of options.

A few years ago, even declaring that we love games is not seen as a bad thing anymore, most people don’t criticize us for it. Today, liking video games has become almost as common as liking movies or music. Some people still don’t understand the fun we see in this form of entertainment, but the fact is that video games are no longer something (only) for kids.

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