Playing video games is more popular now than ever. The industry has been growing steadily for the past several years and, because of the pandemic, more people identify themselves as gamers.
In 2020, the video game market was worth over $90 billion. For comparison, in 2017, the industry revenue was $78.61 billion. By 2025, analysts expect that the video game market worldwide will be worth $256.97 billion.
Today, more than 2.5 billion people around the world play video games. Most are so-called casual gamers who only play whenever they have spare time. Others spend more time playing video games.
A new group of video game players has emerged in recent years: seniors.
The New Gamers
The average age of gamers has been moving toward the older generations in the past decade. This does not come as a surprise. The digitization of video games and the accessibility of smartphones made playing a mainstream form of entertainment.
Moreover, those who were kids when the first Atari was released are now approaching their senior years. This age group also experienced playing arcade games. While the video game landscape has changed since the 1970s, many still find enjoyment in playing.
One survey found that the number of gamers over the age of 50 grew from 40.2 million in 2016 to 50.6 million in 2019. There are also more women playing video games than men.
Almost half of all respondents also said that they play daily. On average, older adults spend 5 hours per week on video games.
Why Video Games
Most older adults play video games for the same reasons as their younger counterparts. It is entertaining.
However, some also ventured into video games for other purposes. Some wanted to bond with their loved ones. Their children, their nieces and nephews, or their grandkids play video games. So, to have something fun to do together, they pick up a video game console and play with their loved ones.
It is the perfect activity for older adults and younger family members because they can play as a team and connect even when they are away. As long as there is an internet connection, older adults can play with their loved ones.
Others play video games as a way to socialize. Nowadays, playing video games can open opportunities for interaction. Gamers can play multiplayer games online with other people. They also can now watch and chat with other gamers via Twitch and YouTube.
Better Emotional Well-Being with Video Games
Seniors should be encouraged to play video games. It is not a difficult hobby to start. In fact, most likely, they are already gamers playing Candy Crush, Angry Birds, and other mobile games on their smartphones or laptops.
But, if they are interested, it is easy to buy a gaming console or a gaming PC. These devices are available for sale in gadget and hobby stores.
Seniors who play video games have been proven to have better overall emotional well-being. In one study, researchers asked 140 seniors about their gaming habits. About 61 percent of all participants said that they pay occasionally. Meanwhile, 35 percent said they play at least once a week.
The researchers found that those who never played at all have a higher tendency to have more negative emotions and experience depression. While more studies need to be done, the findings suggest a strong and promising link between gaming and better well-being.
However, not all video games are the same. There are many types of video games, and they can have different impacts on the gamer. Previous research has shown that strategy games improve critical thinking skills. On the other hand, puzzles boost memory and visual recognition.
According to experts, the best video games for seniors are those that are unfamiliar to them. The key is to learn something new and build new synapses between the neurons in the brain. So, rather than playing the same video games over and over again, why not try something different? Encourage loved ones to venture into video games that are targeted toward younger players.
But, like in all things, playing video games should be done in moderation. It is a sedentary activity. Older adults need to regularly exercise to maintain physical and mental health. While video games are fun and good, they should incorporate physical activity into their day.
Playing video games is a fantastic way for seniors to build a stronger relationship with their loved ones and socialize with strangers online. Moreover, it improves their overall well-being. Older adults can gain so many benefits from playing video games.