The average gamer has shifted over the course of gaming since it’s almost 70 years on the mainstream. Although there are gaming systems older than the Atari 2600, the Atari put gaming on the map. Once considered family entertainment, the Nintendo Entertainment System became popular in the ’80s, so did its popularity with young boys.
This association with gaming and male children hasn’t changed since then, but the demographic looks completely different than it once has, especially since all those young gamers in the ‘80s grew up.
Gamer Profile Revealed
First, there is an odd association between casual gaming and hardcore gaming, and what is considered a “gamer.” For our article, a gamer is someone who plays video games as a hobby. So, yes, this includes people who solely play Candy Crush, but they do so at least 10 hours a week. Mobile gaming is a $36.9 billion industry, higher than PC and consoles combine, so it shouldn’t be ignored by gaming snobs. It’s significant, and it’s significance is especially relevant in female gamers.
Women have always been interested in video games, especially with the help of their older siblings, but it wasn’t until mobile gaming did it truly take off. Women prefer to play games in short bursts; ones require less commitment and have some level of freedom.
It’s why the Nintendo DS and 3DS became popular with female gamers because they were easy to pick up and put down. Women or girls now make up 48% of the industry, but most game developers act like it’s less than a percent, because most gaming media is still targeted towards men.
Game developers should keep in mind the female audience. For example, a smartphone app that’s focused on casual, quick, and smooth gameplay will be attractive to them, with many examples being casino games like those in Casumo, old classics like Flappy Birds, or tried and true puzzle games like Bejeweled. Casual games, which are primarily female, will play for a few minutes and take large breaks between sessions. This doesn’t mean that women don’t play long-form games like RPGs; after all, this is just a law of averages.
Gaming is also widely made up of people over 30, and it continues to get older. As mentioned, the ‘80s gaming generation is now reaching that higher 30s low 40s demographic, and if they were gamers at a young age, they’re likely to keep that hobby when they’re older — however, their taste in games do change. Younger players are more interested in competitive play, while older gamers like RPGs, platformers, or puzzles.
Older gamers don’t spend as much time playing games as their young counterparts since they tend to have more responsibilities like a full-time job, other hobbies, a wife/husband, and children. MMO’s are still popular with this crowd, and it may be due to the consistent gameplay. Game developers should implement simpler control schemes for senior players (over 50), so they’re more accessible to them.
With technology being so accessible, there are younger gamers than ever before. Gaming is also more socially acceptable and no longer seen as a “geeky” thing. Almost all children have at least heard or played Fortnight, Minecraft, and Angry Birds, and games are now becoming trendy like books, movies, or television shows once was for kids in other generations. If your friends are playing a game, you don’t want to miss out.
With a younger demographic, game developers need to understand that children want to be mature like their parents, or older siblings, so they’ll gravitate to mature-rated games. If this is okay for the parent, there will be no issues, but parents often have more of a problem with sex in gaming that direct violence. Although bizarre, it’s better to play to those themes than work against them.
Tablets and smartphones have made accessing gaming easy, especially for younger gamers. If you want to make more games for children, follow a cartoony, bright visual style as it’s attractive and pleasing to the eye. It’s also better to implement control schemes that are easy to understand, and children tend to do better with motion controls, swiping, and one or two button presses for movement.
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