More older adults play games than ever before, according to AARP study of people over 50

    
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Earlier this week, we wrote about Skyrim’s “gaming grandma” and other older gamers who’ve staked out claims in the online gaming space on platforms like Twitch and YouTube, but if you didn’t click through the links, you might not realize that this is a growing trend for the 50+ age bracket, not just for a few superstars, a pattern backed up by a trending AARP study.

The AARP (fka American Association of Retired Persons) might seem like an odd group to be promoting gaming, but it’s gratifying. The study suggests that adults over 50 are playing more video games than ever before: 44% say they play at least once a month, averaging five hours a week, a figure up 6% over the last three years, making for over 50M gamers over 50 in the US alone. Oh yeah, and more women over 50 play than men.

The downside? “Older adults have moved their game play to mobile as they abandon computers and laptops and turn to smartphones and tablets to play video games.” The AARP also declares that old-school games aren’t dead, though of course they’re talking about puzzle and card games, which are now being played on devices instead.

I love the chart about why the non-gamers in the study said they didn’t partake: A clear majority say “they identify as someone who does not play games.” Weeping for them, since a large percentage of older gamers say they play to reduce stress. Like, perhaps, the stress of identifying as someone who does not play games.

It’s a lengthy report and worth a peek if you’re curious about what the older generations are up to in games. It’ll be you someday!

Source: AARP via GIbiz
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Kevin Gray
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Kevin Gray

This statistic does not surprise me. I am going to be 47 next month and I have always loved playing video games since arcade machines and the Atari 2600 was a thing. I started playing mmos a little after Ultima Online launched. I do not think that more older gamers are playing games. But instead I think that all of us older gamers never really stopped.

Down_To_My_Last_Fudge
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Down_To_My_Last_Fudge

I’m 55 been playing MMO’s since Ultima, Have been involved in nearly every triple A title released in the west since that time.

gylnne
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gylnne

62 here and not been here in awhile. Nice to see some folks around I still remember from when massivelyop was born.:)

I started playing games a bit older than most in my early 40’s when I was out of work and still do to this day.

I have never been a tv watcher after getting home from work this to me is more fun and relaxing.

P.S. I don’t you on my lawn just make sure you leave it the way was when you got here.:P

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

This should be a surprise to no one: the oldest Gen-X’ers (aka the first generation to grow up with video games) are nearly 60. The fact that those over 50 are playing mobile more than the “core platforms” (PC amd console) is all about convenience: mobile games are all about being able to play for exactly how long you want, when you want; whereas “core” games, both single player and multi player, are increasingly about longer experiences with fewer opportunities to quit without some sort of inconvenience. Essentially, the only real division of demographics we see in video games is basically “core games are for those under 35, and mobile is older people”.

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Armsman

That’s not quite correct. The YOUNGEST Baby Boomers (those born in 1965) are 55 this year; so there’s no way any Gen-Xer is near 60 yet. ;) (I’m one of those younger Boomers – born in 1963 – and I’ll be 57 this year.)

The above said – we Baby Boombers grew up with video game too as I had a Pong console when I was 10; I was working with (and playing a Star Trek simulation/game on an HP 2000 mainframe in Jr. High on a teletype connected via a 110 Baud acoustic modem at 12), a mainframe in 1975; and I had one of the first generation of the Atari 2600 when I was 14 in 1977 – the year STAR WARS came out. ;)

So yeah – GET OFF MY VIRTUAL LAWN YOU WHIPPERSNAPPER! :P

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

When generations start and end is always dependent what source you use as your definition. The easiest definition to use is simply: 1941 to 1960 = Boomers, 1961 to 1980 = Gen- X; 1981 to 2000 = millenials, etc. That is definition I’ve always used and am using here. But even by the other various definitions out there, “nearly 60” is pretty accurate, even by whatever definition you’re using, which places the oldest Gen-Xers at 55.

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TL

ok boomer. sorry had to…

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firithnorm

Another 50+ gamer here. Started with the Atari 2600 (before it was called the “2600”), played Star Trek on my school’s HP3000 minicomputer, did the Zork thing and even played MS Decathlon on our old IBM PC 2-holer (it had tons of memory – a whole 64k!). Now, I’m trying to keep up with the kids on Apex Legends, ESO & GW2. I think it keeps me young and my mind sharp (or at least sharper than otherwise). It’ll be interesting to see how/if games evolve to attract/keep gamers as they enter their twilight years.

taradyne
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taradyne

Once a gamer, always a gamer. And why not? It’s one of the cheapest forms of entertainment and fulfills social needs, which may be more true for women than men. Since women live longer, it makes sense that in senior years there would be more women, and more women who game.

I burnt myself to a crisp being a guild leader and raid leader in WoW but I didn’t stop gaming; I just moved on to a different game where I didn’t have those responsibilities. I expect to be doing the same thing when I’m 65.

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ichi sakari

my first computer game was called ‘Doctor’ and it was programmed on punch cards, played with a comp so big that it had its own air-conditioned room at the community college, because that’s what we had back in the day

now I romp thru fields of high rez graphics and kill people thru the cloud

jasper.jpg
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Toy Clown

Another middle-aged gamer here at 52. My friends and I often joke that we’ll be happily playing Star Citizen in retirement homes and they better-by-gosh have decent internet when we get there. The nursing home my mother is in doesn’t have internet for the residents and that’s a darn scary thought!

All joking aside, my dream retirement that I’m working toward is retiring into an RV and traveling around, stopping for a season here and there where I can find good internet hook-ups for gaming, or finally stopping where I find my gaming tribe. My BFF’s retirement dream is living in a lighthouse with an excellent internet connection.

That’s what it boils down to: The world better have decent internet connection for us when we’re ready to finally retire from the workforce. We’ll have earned it!

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Ashfyn Ninegold

We were always here. We just weren’t counted. Now we’re being counted.

I started gaming with Windows 95, when I was 45. I’ll be 70 this year. And I’ve been here the whole time.

People think that because you get old you stop being who you are. Never happens. You don’t magically become an out of the box “old person”. You’re just as competitive, just as interested, just as nerdy. You might have less range and ability, which might make you more interested in easy, low-twitch, low stress games, but you still want to mash those buttons and kill that sucker.

Hope devs take note that there are a lot of us enjoying our senior splendor years by gaming.

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Sorenthaz

Back when I was in my mid-later teens over a decade ago I was in a WoW guild full of folks in their 30’s+, some of whom were huge Everquest players from back in the day. So I guess it’s not that surprising given now most of my old guildmates would be in their late 40’s if not 50’s.

My dad would also be 69 right now and he was big on computer games from like the 80’s/early 90’s. Probably would’ve been an MMO fan if he had the chance to get into them.