The Average Age Of A "Gamer" Just Dropped By Seven Years. Um, What?

As video gaming has become more popular, thanks to platforms like Facebook and mobile phones, the industry (and passionate fans) took a lot of pride in seeing the average age of a "gamer" climb out of the teens, into the 20s and then the 30s.

So it's a bit weird, then, to see that the average age of a gamer in the United States has suddenly dropped from 37 to 30. In just one year. That's an age the industry hadn't seen since 2005.

What gives? Did a whole generation of Wii Sports-addicted pensioners suddenly kick the bucket? Was the year 2005 a bumper crop for newborn babies, who are only now reaching for a Nintendo handheld?

Sadly, it's nothing that dramatic (or morbid). Seems the Entertainment Software Association, who track such things on an annual basis, decided to change up their methodology, expanding a range of questions that used to be based only on consoles and PCs to include newer platforms like the iPhone.

The result is that a whole bunch of kids and younger humans who weren't originally being included in the data now show up, dragging the age down. It's good news for stat lovers, as it's obviously more accurate data, but bad news for those who took some sense of pride from seeing the average age be somewhere clearly in "adult" territory, rather than "should be adult but really isn't".

Oh, and if you're wondering what kind of criteria you had to hit to be considered a "gamer", it was basically anyone who played any of the listed devices for an hour or longer a week.

How gaming's demographics reverted to 2005 [Ars Technica]


    It's called an average for a reason Luke. Take a whole range, add them together... Divide by the number added. Bam. An average.

    I think 30 still counts as 'definitely adult' anyway, really, we're not talking early 20's here. :P

    The age dropped because they started asking Dudebros if they're a gamer, who obviously said yes in order to try and act cool.

    Only 1HR/WK minimum? what a load of bullshit.

      yes that is bull shit should be a minimum of 40hrs/wk

        I walk two hours in the snow every day to get to my console and still manage to game three hundred hours a week!

      Why? I consider myself a gamer and some weeks I'm lucky to fit in 3hrs a week. It's my favourite thing to do to unwind and enjoy myself and my main hobby but part of being the "older demographic" is being saddled with a full time job, a wife, kids, a house that needs maintenance, a social life as well as some education courses in some cases (mine). Even though I don't get to play much I still firmly believe I am a gamer.

        imo there's a big difference between someone who plays games for a hobby and an actual "gamer". To be completely honest, I couldn't point out the distinction or codify the conditions in any significant way, but there is definitely a distinction between the two. It is the media and the elder generations who haven't grown up with computers and consoles and the like, and who rarely use them, who have watered down the two classifications, however. In their eyes, 1h/week really is a gamer, because they waste one valuable hour of their week doing this thing they don't understand called playing a game.

        Gamers are players who don't just play social media games, or chill on their iphone whilst waiting for a bus, or kill a couple of hours a week on Civ 5 or the like. Gamers are people who sit down to a game and make a significant emotional investment in enjoying and participating in the game, immersing themselves in it and evolving themselves to the game's demands. A gamer lives the game. People who don't do this are people who play games.

          Your comment became less credible when you put Civ5 in the casual basket.

          I agree one million percent. However don't let Mark Serrels see your comment.

    I agree with Jamie and also L45T,
    I wonder how many people play ten hours a week or more as 1 hour a week is less than the average bus user plays while waiting at bus stops.
    I feel that the stats will always be low as people over 40 tend to be a little embarassed about playing games at all and don't like to admit to their Angry Birds/Farmville obsession. You should also add fruit machines to the list of games as they are computer games with gambling.

    Maybe its time to get rid of the stupid term 'gamer'.

      Oh yes, definitely! I much prefer the term Porn-star to label people who play and love to play video games.

      pretty much this, but for the sake of argument, I think it probably should be somewhat higher than an hour a week, maybe an hour a day? means we still get a decent demographic while clearing the outliers.
      I am not saying that playing only 1 hour a week doesn't mean you don't play games, but for the purpose of the statistic, saying that you are a gamer for 1 hour a week might as well mean you are a carpenter because you nailed in a replacement floorboard on the verandah, or a doctor because you put on a bandage and took a panadol. They are simply tasks that we do that, in the grand scheme of things, really don't mean a great deal.
      I am a gamer because I put in 3 odd hours a day with a fairly heavy sitting on Sunday and Monday, my days off work. Back when I still played WoW that number would be up around 7-8 hours a day, every day of the week. Heh, on a slight tangent, there was a report not long ago in the herald sun that claimed, in shock, that people were spending as much as 6 hours a week in front of their console or PC playing computer games, I found it rather amusing.
        the article

    We need a goddamn better definition of "gamer". People who play with these app things to waste time while commuting or waiting for a no show date shouldn't be classified with the rest of us. We are a more distinct bunch then "practically anyone who owns a mobile phone" aren't we?

      Alrighty, lets work on a few criteria.
      I put forth that a "gamer" needs to be able to tick off some or all of the following
      -Acknowledges gaming outside of time spent gaming (reading kotaku, conversing with friends, listening to game music etc.)
      -Is competent across a variety of game genres (need not be amazing at them, but should be able to pick up a driving game, FPS or RPG etc. they have not played and have some measure of success)
      -Spends 1-2 hours per day 4 days a week (that equates to about 2 rounds of a moba, 4 rounds of a FPS, 4 games of an RTS)
      -Has pulled an all-nighter with the express purpose of playing a single game

      and some PC specific ones for amusements sake
      -has, in all likelihood, got yesterday evening's dinner plate somewhere in arms reach
      -has woken up on their keyboard

      The main thing that I would want to ditch from the definition/stereotype of "gamer" is the physical appearance idea of basement dwelling tubby bitches.

    Blah blah "adult" blah blah "gamer"... Seriously get over the whole age thing and just enjoy a game for what it is! Who really gives a rats arse if kids are "Gamers" now? Who cares if im an adult playing "Mario"? Either way I enjoy MY games reguardless.. Dont need no stupid label or age bracket to define it.

    Good to see they are better capturing the audience data, but doesnt change what I play, how I play or that im an old fart and still enjoy a good romp with "kiddy" games and occasional adult title..

    Interesting.... I wonder how this would work in other medians that also entertain us like movies, series and books...

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