I have been fortunate enough to see gaming progress from the early Atari days into something I always dreamed about when I was a kid. Looking at how most games are marketed, I recently had enough self-awareness to ask myself the question “Am I too old to still be playing games?” The obvious stereotype is that all gamers are teenage males, but is this really the case?
A recent report from the Entertainment Software Association threw me a lifeline, revealing that the average age of someone who plays games is 31 years old. In fact, more gamers are over the age of 36 than between the ages of 18 to 35 or under the age of 18.
I believe most people reading this are more than aware of that, but it is somewhat refreshing to see many of the age-old stereotypes debunked, regarding both the age and genders of gamers in 2014.
There is no longer a stereotypical game-player. Most people have a job, relationship and responsibilities, and fit time in for a game around that, whether it takes them four hours, four weeks or four months. Regardless, none of us fit into one, nice easy-fix box, suitable for marketers.
The report contains a fascinating amount of data, providing essential reading for anyone with a genuine interest in games industry. For instance, this is the first time digital game downloads now represent 53 percent of software revenue.
And with 48% of gamers being female, maybe developers will finally begin to feature more female protagonists who are not just in need of being rescued/protected or lusted after. This has been pointed out numerous times, and in particular by Brenna Hillier in her acerbic, yet hilarious article from earlier this year once she discovered that the game Deep Down will have no female characters.
Very often, the media concentrates on the negative aspects of our favourite past time, but personally I love the fact that, regardless of age, gender, sexuality or creed, there are a community of gamers who are not isolated in a dark room in silence, but are actually interacting with thousands of people from all around the world. Maybe I am in danger of sounding like a new age hippy, but what could be more beautiful than that? It’s such a shame that these sorts of stories don’t sell newspapers…
Gaming also brings some families closer together, and I have witnessed many three-generation families chatting and playing together for hours, rather than sitting in silence watching soap operas on the tellybox.
We should be concentrating on how video game communities are evolving and rapidly becoming the preferred method of entertainment, rather than trying to repress that. More and more people are turning away from vegetating in front of reality shows and picking up a gamepad.
Change is the only thing in this life that remains constant, and while many wish to see games completely overthrown, others perceive this ever-changing medium as a good thing and are finally starting to see that this can only be a great thing.
As for myself, I can confirm that reports of me hanging up controller are somewhat premature. And so I raise my sword one last time and announce that the game is never over.