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On the age disparity in gamers

A new report from the U.S. Entertainment Software Association headlines the finding that the average age of gamers is now between the 37 and 41 years old. I’d be wary of accepting those lumpen figures at face value, until I can see the breakdowns by platform. Such self-reporting surveys usually lump Flash browser games and occasional games played on cel phones in with proper $20m+ titles. This makes aggregated figures fairly meaningless, although good fodder for lazy journalists. My hunch is that the age range skews even higher for those gaming on expensive desktop ‘decent graphics-card’ PCs rather than consoles, cel-phones, or handhelds — and that male gamers still heavily outweigh females on gaming PCs. So… why are so many games being made as if the 14 year old boy market was the One True Way to Profit? My guess would be that chronological age and emotional age are no longer running in sync, in this era of infinitely-extendible adolescence and the likelihood for the middle-classes of living to a healthy 100 years old. Hitting 40 without getting tied down to kids and a family seems to mean that you’re only just about a grown-up, these days.


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