When you hear “video game” you might imagine a teenage boy who doesn’t do much except play or think about video games. To be sure, teenagers do love video games, but they’re not the only ones playing them. In fact, more and more adults are playing and enjoying video games these days.
According to a survey by AARP, about 40 million adults aged 50 or older played video games in 2016. By 2019, that number had grown to more than 51 million. Adults in their 30s are still the largest market for the gaming industry, but seniors make up more of the demographic than ever. There are even seniors broadcasting their gaming adventures online. Look no further than Shirley Curry, an 84-year-old grandmother best known for playing Skyrim on her YouTube channel.
But if you don’t pay attention to the industry, it can be hard to understand the appeal. So why are more older adults turning to gaming? There are many reasons.
First, thanks to new consoles and new ways to play, gaming is more accessible than ever. Whether you like action-filled stories, challenging puzzles, or even digital versions of beloved board games, there’s something for everyone. Plus, despite their reputation, games can keep your mind active and sharp.
Secondly, there’s a fulfilling social aspect to many games. Take Nintendo’s Wii and Switch consoles. Both were built with multiplayer games in mind—look no further than Wii Bowling or Mario Party’s wacky minigames. For many, games offer ways to connect with grandkids or friends.
Finally, games can help you find community. For seniors, this may be an especially lucrative benefit. It’s no secret that many seniors struggle with feelings of isolation as they get older. This is especially true in 2020, when many of us are unable to enjoy the things we used to, such as visiting friends. Online communities and online games offer a way to connect with others without having to meet up in person. With all of these factors in mind, the number of senior gamers is sure to continue to grow.