The gaming landscape is rapidly evolving, defying certain stereotypes that have always defined the traditional game participant. Recent research reveals that though the typical gamer is relatively young, there is a growing appetite among older ones as well.
According to the research data analyzed and published by SafeBettingSites, the number of gamers worldwide aged between 55 and 64 years has surged by 32% since 2018. It is, in fact, the fastest growing demographic for gamers.
In North America alone, the number of mobile gamers aged 45 and above soared by 17% YoY in 2020. That was the highest increase reported among the different age groups. Among those aged between 25 and 44, the increase was 13% while for 13- to 24-year-olds, there was a 3% jump. For the lowest age group, two to 12-year-olds, there was a 9% uptick during the period. Overall, there was an increase of 12% in the number of active mobile gamers.
Additionally, a report by GWI reveals that the majority of old-aged gamers (OAGs) play for fun and to relax or unwind. Their favorite genre is action adventure, while puzzle comes second.
Around 24% of parents and grandparents view playing games as ‘family time.’ That view is likely to have been influenced by the pandemic. However, though the pandemic contributed significantly to the increase, it does not account for the growth in its entirety. According to AARP, the three-year period between 2016 and 2019 saw the number of gamers aged 50+ rise from 40.2 million to 50.6 million.
41% of Video Gamers in the US Are Women
Among the reasons cited for the trend is the rise in mobile gaming. Mobile games are usually free and easily accessible. They thus account for a higher number of older players than console games.
Furthermore, gaming has been mainstream for a considerable period now. As such, kids who grew up gaming are now adults. In line with that, the number of older gamers is likely to increase further in the coming decades.
According to a report done by the Entertainment Software Association, the young still dominate gaming, with 38% of players ranging between 18 and 34 years. 26% of gamers are in the 34- to 54-year bracket while 21% are under 18.
Notably though, those aged 55 and above are a significant number, accounting for 15% of the total. Interestingly too, the age demographic that spent the least amount of time gaming was that of 45 to 54-year-olds.
Other stereotypes associated with gaming, such as male dominance, no longer hold true. Statista reveals that 41% of all gamers in the US in 2020 were females. This tallies with the report published by the Washington Post which reveals that more than 40% of US gamers are women.
Close to 50% of Americans aged 50+ play video games at least once every month. Not surprisingly, Esports Earnings’ list of the 100 oldest eSports players who won prize money has more players aged 50+ than those below. As of May 28, 2021, it consists of 61 gamers aged 50+.
90-Year-Old Gamer Grandma Has 494k YouTube Subscribers
According to Guinness World Records, the world’s oldest gamer is 90-year-old Hamako Mori from Japan. Fondly referred to as Gamer Grandma, she started gaming at age 51 and has 498,000 YouTube subscribers as of May 2021.
The world’s oldest competitive gamer is Abbe ‘DieHardBirdie’ Drakborg, aged 78. He started playing CS:GO after his retirement, joining a team known as the Silver Snipers. They won the Dreamhack Senior League competition. He now focuses on streaming.
On the other hand, the youngest professional eSports gamer in the world is Victor de Leon III according to Guinness World Records. Playing under the username Lil Poison, he started gaming at the age of four. He got his big break playing Halo and signed a pro gaming contract in 2005, at the age of seven. Currently signed to Mantra Esports, he plays Fortnite.
Close behind him is Joseph Dean, an eight-year-old who signed a contract in December 2020 with Team 33. He had been training for competitive eSports since age six, two years after he started playing Fortnite.
eSports is typically considered as a domain of the young, just like professional athletics. The average age for females is 27 while men, who make up the majority, are aged 24 on average. Fortnite, however, is known for having an even lower average of 16 to 17 years old.