Community, cognitive challenges, fun. Young people report gaining lots of positive things from gaming. Still, old people hardly get electrified from this concept. Is there a tendency in the world of video gaming to neglect the older audience? And if so, why?
Tilda Publishing
Among gamers the elderly are a clear minority. In 2017, less than 10 percent of all video gamers range in age from 51 to 65. It speaks for itself that there are no numbers for people older than 65. But there is potential.

A survey from GameTrack has uncovered that there is a rise in gaming among older generations. In the largest European markets (UK, Germany, France, Spain) 46 percent of people between 45 and 64 years old played in 2016 some kind of video game. Four years before, the number was at 36 percent. Also, according to The AbleGamers Foundation guesses that "as much as $3 billion of potential revenue is not being realized because gamers are being removed from the market space as they age."
With all those numbers in mind, the question arises on what are the reasons of old people not playing video games. Serhiy Grinets and Maxim Khrapai from the game development company "Nravo" try to give the answers based on their experience working in the industry.
Research shows, that there's a variety of factors which make a game enjoyable for the elderly. According to a study from 2015, a personal relation to the game is a key factor. This can be a childhood memory they associate with the game. One woman in the study explained, how she played the card game Solitaire throughout her whole life. When she was taught how to play Solitaire on the computer, "she gravitated toward this because she found numerous other versions of Solitaire."
Another personal relation can be a coherence between the game and personal interests. The study shows people interested in aviation playing flight simulators, people fascinated by languages playing Spanish word games, or one man even playing World War II shooting games because he is fascinated by the war "that he experienced on the home front as a child.

Elderly also play games, because they want to spend time with their descendants:
"We spend a lot of times playing these games [Mario Kart and Mario Party, N. B.). We played for hours and that was a big chunk of our socialization together at that time. I think, the better I got, the more inclined they were to play."

De Schutter, Brown, 2015
A personal relation to the game can also be achieved just through a familiar concept. Researchers from Florida State University found out, that old people enjoyed Mario Kart more than Lego Star Wars, because they could relate better to the concept of a car race rather than the concept of a "platform adventure game" in Lego Star Wars. Another factor is the change in what old people want and expect from games. While the demand for competition is decreasing by a growing age, the demand for strategic challenges stays roughly the same.
In terms of gameplay, a Swiss Study noted that old people prefer casual slower games over faster action games. This correlates with the fact, that reaction time decreases while getting older, as shown in the chart below. Scientists found out though, that skills don't matter when it comes to a decline to reaction time. More skilled players experience the same decline than less skilled ones. Among faster games they prefer cartoonish games with a positive attitude over realistic and potentially violent games. Also, they want some feeling of ownership, which is "the extent to which player sees the actions in the game as a result of his own efforts." The study concluded, "that puzzle games are the preferred game genre of older adults and the easiest to interact with."

Considering all these factors, what do you have to keep in mind if you want to design a game especially for old people? Denis Romas, game designer at the gaming development company "Gameloft" has the answers.
Reaction time, being not familiar with the concept of video gaming, or the lack of suitable games. There are various reasons why old people are underrepresented in the gaming industry. Sociologist Halyna Herasym brings up another point: "In USA or the United Kingdom, video games are far more affordable than in countries like Ukraine. Old people can't afford the necessary devices, also the games are more expensive here."

Looking into the future, she is pretty optimistic that the situation will improve for old people: "The older people get who grew up with video games, the higher the average gaming age gets. Additionally, for a long time, the gaming industry was oriented towards a typical kind of person: male, white, straight, young. But in the last couple of years this has changed a little bit for women or the LGBT-community, and soon it will change for old people too."

Sociologist Halyna Herasym
This site was made on Tilda — a website builder that helps to create a website without any code
Create a website