Gaming is a large and profitable industry both in the US and worldwide. In the US, gaming now generates over $36 billion dollars per year. It has now overtaken China as one of the world’s biggest markets.
Console and mobile games are the most popular, followed by PC download games, online browser games and then games played on tablets.
When we hear the word ‘gamer’ we usually associate it with teenagers playing on their PlayStation or Xbox consoles. However, research actually suggests that in reality people of all ages and genders enjoy gaming as a hobby. In fact, the average gamer is 34 years old.
The popularity of different game genres and device types varies for different demographics.
Here’s how gaming habits differ between genders and age groups:
While gaming may be considered more of a male pastime, women actually make up around half of the global gaming market. This number is steadily increasing year on year. Despite this, gaming companies and developers still seem to market their products predominantly at a male audience.
Mobile gaming is more popular among women than men. Statistically, on mobile devices women prefer puzzle or problem solving games such as Candy Crush or Monument Valley. Whereas men tend to play more strategy or sports games like Fut Draft.
Online gambling has also seen exceptional growth, the thrill of playing online poker is most enjoyed by young men, while online bingo is predominantly played by women. A lot of bingo websites market their products specifically at women through using feminine branding and other marketing techniques. It is thought that bingo appeals more to women because it is more sociable than other types of gaming. Even most online versions of bingo have a chatroom for players to chat and share their experiences with during gameplay.
People of all ages enjoy playing games. It allows them to relax, have fun and escape reality for a little while.
Gaming is most popular with younger adults aged between 18 and 35 years old, this is closer followed by those aged over 50 and those under the age of 18. Accessibility to technology, life stages and the amount of free time available are all factors that influence this trend.
Players aged between 15 and 19 years old devote the most amount of time to playing games, with the average being 49 minutes per weekday and 90 minutes at the weekend. By contrast, players aged 45 to 54 spend an average of just 10 minutes per weekday and 22 minutes at the weekend.
Those in the ‘Boomer’ category, age 55 to 64, show a stronger preference for virtual board games, card games and puzzles. They particularly enjoy games like solitaire and scrabble. This is because these are games that are familiar to them, having been originally designed and played as physical offline games.
Female generation X players, age 35 to 54, prefer casual games including puzzles and arcade classics. These might include bingo, Tetris and Pac Man. Whereas, Gen X men mostly enjoy sports, racing and first person shooter games, such as Forza or Call of Duty.
Millennial men aged 19 to 34 have fairly similar interests, their most popular game types include action, shooters and sports. Favourite games for millennials are Fortnite or God of War. Millennial women also enjoy action games like Tomb Raider or Assassin’s Creed, as well as casual games like Candy Crush.
Consoles, mobiles or PC – Who plays on which device?
Smartphones and other handheld devices like tablets are beginning to take over the gaming market. In 2015, they possessed 34% of the market, a figure which has continued to increase every year since. As mobile technology improves and more gaming apps reach the market, more people will have access to games that they enjoy.
It seems that smartphone games are most popular with younger people. 62% of Generation X players most often play games on mobile. They also have a preference for playing competitive games socially with friends.
66% Millennials also enjoy playing games with friends rather than alone. Their favourite device type is the console. In comparison, 66% of those in the Boomer category most enjoy playing games on PCs, they also prefer to play alone rather than with friends. This likely due to the nature of the games they play, puzzle and problem solving games are often single player, whereas first person shooters and sports are often designed to be multiplayer games.
These trends show that gaming is an activity that everyone can enjoy. While younger people enjoy playing socially and competitively, older people prefer games that provide entertainment through mental simulation.