Ever since it became possible to game online, the demographic of gamers has been evolving. Gaming is no longer the preserve of single men and teenage boys (if it ever truly was). As more and more people have access to the internet at home and via their smartphones, the range of people who game online extends ever wider.
There are not only more men gaming, but a lot more women as well. And the age of gamers is steadily on the rise. Whether that’s due to the generation who were teenagers or younger when video games first came on the market still making the most out of gaming, or because more of us have access to online games now and so are coming to it later in life, is not really certain. However, the Entertainment Software Association 2014 report that came out towards the end of last year highlighted a 36% increase in the women over the age of 50 who were gaming between 2012 and 2013.
The sheer variety of gaming you can do online has to explain the fact that almost anyone can be termed a gamer now. Whether it’s your mum or aunty playing Words with Friends, your teenage son playing Assassin’s Creed or you making the most of being able to play casino and bingo games online, gaming has definitely become a universal pursuit. Even the games that were around long before video games existed have been adapted to work as online games. Take bingo as just one example. The number of bingo sites such as Costa and Coral Bingo seems to be ever growing. And while few of the sites retain the tradition of using the rhyming bingo calls, there’s still the feel of a community game when you play because of the bingo chat rooms. You can also find out lots about the history of bingo on the sites, about bingo balls and how the different calls came about. All this makes bingo one of the most popular online games around – with over 100 million players registered on different online sites around the world.
According to Dutch research and marketing firm Newzoo, the mobile gaming industry is where we’ll see significant growth this year, with players making full use of the possibility of gaming on handheld and mobile devices. The company forecast that the mobile gaming revenues for 2015 will be $30.3 billion worldwide, and that mobile gaming will eclipse console gaming revenues for the first time. Now that gamers have four screens to choose from when playing – the TV, PC, tablet or handheld and the phone – it is predicted that in the coming years, there will be a gradual evening out of where people spend money on games, so that eventually there will be an even spend split over the four screens.
Just because gamers are choosing to play on their mobiles – a survey by the Internet Advertising Bureau in the UK reported that 54% of respondents cited their mobile as their gaming platform of choice – it doesn’t mean that everyone playing mobile games is doing so on the move. A survey by comScore reported that of the 20m mobile gamers in the UK, over two-thirds played in the living room, and another 23% in the bathroom. This highlights that it’s about the convenience of playing on a mobile more than the desire to play while away from the home.
While the number of older gamers is increasing, there’s also more evidence from the Entertainment Software Association report that gaming is now more of a family activity than it used to be. Of those parents surveyed 58% said they played video games with their children once a month or more, and 42% said they did so once a week or more.
Whatever stats you look at, it’s clear that the gaming demographic is becoming more and more all-inclusive, with people of all ages and both sexes enjoying the option of video gaming when and where they can.