New study proves there’s a much older crowd for video games

Video games aren't just for kids anymore, and kids aren't the only ones playing them either. New research1 from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has revealed a somewhat surprising stat: Forty-eight percent of American adults (age 50 and older) say they pay video games.

Then again, it really shouldn't be too much of a shocker considering the average age of a person who plays video games is 30. Someone has to be pulling that number up, right?

“Video games are enjoyed by millions of consumers of all ages. The popularity of video games is expected given the innovation and sheer entertainment this industry offers,” said ESA president and CEO, Michael D. Gallagher. “Across all game platforms and genres, Americans age 50 and over are exercising their minds and bodies, connecting with family members, and having fun with video games.”

The report, "Gamers Over 50 Study: You're Never Too Old to Play," breaks down the survey even further, pointing out that 80% of these adult gamers play video games on a weekly basis and 45% play on a daily basis. Furthermore the survey reveals that 92% of these adults play at home, with 55% playing during the evening hours — perhaps after the children are asleep.

“These are extremely exciting results and really highlight that people of all ages play video games,” said Jason Allaire, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and co-director of the Gains Through Gaming Lab.

“There is no longer a ‘stereotype game player,’ but instead a game player could be your grandparent, your boss, or even your professor," he added. "I suspect that the percentage of older adults playing video games will rise as Baby Boomers enter retirement, increasing the focus on positive effects of playing games."

And that's exactly the point. Baby Boomers have grown up alongside the gaming industry, and there's really no reason to expect someone to stop playing simply because of age. I grew up with NES and SEGA Genesis; now I write about video games. I have a hard time imagining myself, in my 50s, not playing games simply because it's something I've done my whole life.

So this begs the question: do you think there's an "appropriate" age one must be to enjoy playing video games?

1. The NPD Group conducted the survey for ESA among a U.S. representative sample of approximately 1,800 gamers age 50 and older. Survey respondents said they play video games on at least one system or device, such as a smartphone, video game console, portable game console, computer, or other game system.