Video games are just for kids? Definitely not in this day and age. Considering how massively video games have expanded in their approach to appeal to all age groups, and with most people having their own personal handheld computer already in their back pocket, it comes to no surprise that we are seeing an all around rise in gamer demographics. But is there a difference in gaming when it comes to different generations? Be warned, you might not leave this post with the answer you expected.Before we get into the meat and potatoes, please be aware that most of these statistics are based on research that was done in the US.
Let’s first settle who we’re talking about when we say "typical gamer". According to a survey held by the ESA ( Entertainment Software Association ), the average gamer is male, about 34 years old, owns a house and has kids. Not what you expected? Maybe. When it comes to female gamers specifically, the average is even higher, at about 36 years.
But it gets even more interesting when you look into what gamers are buying, when they are buying.
Gen Z (7 to 23 years old)
Starting with our youngest gamers in the bunch, Gen Z. The only generation, that has natively grown up on video games and smartphones, and the only generation that doesn’t remember a time before the internet- and that definitely shows in the statistics.
Gen Z loves mobile gaming. 86% of all interviewed teens and young adults use their phones for gaming in their spare time. Known as the "mobile first" generation, it comes to no surprise that Zoomers ( another nickname for Gen Z ) are making use of technology they already have in their pockets.
Surveys by the Pew Research Centre have found that a whopping 81% of all 13–17-year-olds either own a console themselves, or have access to one through someone they know, or use public gaming services. Of those, its around 91% for boys, and 70% for girls. Those are big numbers, but not too surprising when you hear that two thirds of male gamers would say, that gaming is a substantial part of their lives , and 68% say that gaming works as their main stress relief.
So, what kind of games does Gen Z enjoy? Well, the trend is significantly leaning towards action loaded, online compatible, fast paced games, that especially suit the social trend of shrinking attention spans. This is not a blow at our Zoomer generation, but more of a testament to the fact that our youngest are living more and more hectic life styles.
Millennials (24-39 years old)
Who would’ve thought— Millennials actually make up the biggest chunk of gamer demographic. With 29% they have overall the highest rate of active gamers, as well as one of the biggest audiences of people playing mobile games, with around 21%.
When it comes to a typical Millennials’ taste in virtual leisure activities, it seems like there is a big overall overlap with Gen Z. One very interesting observation you can make however, is the fact that we’re introducing a new genre of gaming in demographics: online gambling. A trend that only seems to get more popular, the older the age group gets.
Gen X (40 to 55 years old)
This generation has undoubtedly grown up with the very start of the gaming industry. When Pong was released for example, a lot of Gen Xers would have been around 10 years old. Very impressionable years for a child, to say the least. And when you compare Gen X with Millennials you’ll see, that it’s definitely left an impression.
A lot of more “regular Gamers” in the Gen X demographic, love playing computer based, text heavy, strategy games, whereas you can see that patience and attention slowly dwindling the younger a generation gets.
Another interesting observation is the fact, that differences between genders in gaming preferences seem to go down, the older the generation gets. With Gen X, we have almost the same statistics of male and female gamers who prefer mobile to computer gaming, and vice versa.
Baby Boomers (55+ years old)
By this point, you're probably curious about our beloved elder generation. Even if your grandma isn't the first example that you think of when you're picturing hardcore gamers, she might not be as out of the loop as you think.
First of, while the gaming industry has profited from every demographic during this pandemic, it's safe to say that seniors had the most marginal rise in gaming across all age groups. That becomes clear very quickly, when looking at some statistics; a survey done by Stannah, a service that assembles and installs chairlifts for elderly and disabled, finds that at least 1 out of 3 asked seniors admitted to only having started gaming since or because of the pandemic.
Whether it's an escape, a way to keep in touch with loved ones, or just a time killer; most seniors in this survey have reported to have had a very positive, long-lasting experience with gaming throughout the pandemic.
It seems like the stereotype of the technologically retired grandparent isn’t as true as we thought it was, especially considering that the most popular games among our seniors are mobile games, much like our other gamer groups. However, no other demographic has had such a firm grip around portable pocket gaming as our Baby Boomers. 23% of all people playing games on their phones are older than 55.
There are however some differences in gaming behavior; we see a comparatively low rate for elders playing survival-horror games , and a very big margin of the demographic playing puzzle games (which, admittedly is less surprising.).
Supporting games for all generations
So? Are you surprised by some of the findings from these surveys? While every generation seems to have their favorite way to consume video games, one thing seems to stand clear: Video Games are for everyone.
Looking at these findings from each survey, it seems sensible for game developers to tap into these newly distinct demographical markets. From Baby Boomers to Gen Z, it seems like there is endless possibilities for targeted marketing. Remember, some projects aren't a one-size-fits-all.
It is incredibly important for game makers to not only identify their main target consumer, but also shape their product to suit the consumers' need. Most developers have a target audience in mind when designing a game. But who thinks about the target audience when it comes to a game's dialogue?
Localization does not only allow your game to be translated and therefore understood by a wide range of people, but it also allows the game to be precisely tailored towards the cultural need of your audience. No matter where they're from and how old they are, generationally appropriate language is key when addressing your customer.
To ensure games will always be for everyone, Altagram is offering the specific localization solution that suits your game. Whether small indie project or big AAA title, we work to find the best option for your situation. With about 5,000 games in our portfolio and renowned business partners like Square Enix and Blizzard, you can be sure to have an experienced partner to rely on throughout all of the process.