Picture a gamer. If you’re like many people, you’re probably visually someone young, a teenager or, at most, a thirty-something. But lately, there’s a new demographic of gamers on the rise — older gamers! In fact, there are around fifty-one million gamers over the age of 50. While this may seem surprising, video games and older people are actually a natural mix. Read on for three reasons why this pairing makes sense — and why the trend is likely to last.
Video Games Help Older People Stay Connected to Their Passions
It’s no secret that, when we age, it can become harder to do some of the things we love. This is especially true of hobbies that are visually or physically demanding, like sports or driving. But thanks to gaming, it can be easier to stay involved in your passions. If you love tennis or bowling, it’s easy to do that virtually. You can even try out a new sport, like snowboarding or frisbee golf. And it doesn’t end with sports; video games allow you to do almost anything you’re interested in. Run a farm, start a business, race cars or fly planes.
Don’t think the gaming industry hasn’t taken notice. AT Kearney’s head of global consumer industries, Greg Portell, predicts game-makers will begin targeting older people this decade. Games may even be designed specifically to make them easier for older gamers to play, like by including voice commands!
Older People Can Connect With Younger Relatives Through Video Games
Gaming is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between generations. With nearly 70% of Americans playing video games, it’s almost a certainty that multiple family members will share this passion. In fact, 67% of parents game with their children at least weekly — a tradition that neither ever has to outgrow. Video games can allow whole families to gather together; turning any hangout into a fun, active experience. Or an older person can have valuable one-on-one time with a younger relative.
Playing video games also provides a wonderful opportunity to communicate. While you both spend hours playing, you’ll have ample opportunity to talk and share. This is especially useful if either of you are shy or if you’re afraid you don’t have much in common. Using gaming as a starting point can help make family relationships stronger, deeper and more meaningful. And not to mention, more fun!
Playing Video Games Can Encourage a Sense of Community
Unfortunately, it’s a hard truth that many seniors are experiencing loneliness. Shockingly, around a third have to face this issue. And this isn’t something you can lightly brush off; loneliness can lead to physical and mental health issues. If you feel like you could benefit from some support for your mental health, click here. While many assume playing video games is an introverted activity, it can actually be extremely communal. Multiplayer games can become as much about friendship as they are gaming. And these relationships can be incredibly impactful. One out of every three multiplayer gamers has actually met a close friend or significant other while playing.
These friendships may even go beyond digital. Many multiplayer games host meetup events, from conventions to movie nights to gaming marathons. But even if it doesn’t stretch into “real life”, it doesn’t make these friendships less meaningful. The video game community can be a wonderful blessing, especially to older people who are homebound or isolated.
More Older People Are Playing Video Games — And Improving Their Lives
For many, the years after 50 are the time to try out new things or dive-deep into their hobbies. Video games are turning out to be a fantastic way to do this. From bonding with relatives to finding a new community to exploring passions, video games can do it all. This is a trend that shouldn’t be ignored and shows no signs of slowing down. Video games are here to stay — and older people are joining in on the fun.