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Older gamers are a growth opportunity for AA(A) publishers – here is how to capture it

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by Rhys Elliott

The days of gaming as a hobby only for young people are clearly over.

Unlike in the past, gamers are now sticking with console and PC games into adulthood and old age. Consumers aged 55+ account for a quarter of gamers now, and that share is on the rise.

Game publishers should strike while the iron is hot, as older gamers are underserved when the market’s growth is stagnating.

To help our clients tap into this opportunity, we just published a new report on the topic, Golden years, golden opportunity. This article dives into some high-level findings from the report.

Ready to dive deeper now? Let us know.   

Older players aren’t just on mobile – far from it

It is tempting to assume that older gamers exclusively play low-fidelity games on their smartphones. This is simply untrue.  

While mobile is certainly the biggest part of the games market in terms of revenues, 55+ gamers account for 23% of monthly PC gamers and 11% of monthly console gamers. Yet, the product and marketing (e.g., campaigns and promotions) for games on these platforms mostly target younger players.

The influencers that publishers partner with –and music choices for trailers, for example – usually exclusively cater to younger gamers. A whole segment is not being addressed. Or worse, they feel alienated.


As the full report delves into, older gamers account for just a slither of spending in games.

This might seem concerning to some. After all, 55+ consumers usually have more free time compared to other groups, and many older gamers have plenty of disposable income.

However, we see their lower spending as a call to action to better cater to this group – an opportunity. Game makers overprioritising younger players naturally makes their products less appealing to older gamers. This is a missed opportunity.

Older gamers are happy to spend time and money on games –but it is important to understand that the current generation of older gamers plays differently and for different reasons (versus younger gamers).

Games companies need to work to understand the unique aspects of older gamers’ preferences, in terms of products and what makes the group tick with marketing efforts, to capitalize on this opportunity.

One focus area of the report is single-player games, which older gamers are drawn to.

Premium games should remain a key strategy for game makers, and older players should be part of that

Older players value single-player games way more than any other game types:

  • 74% of the 55+ group said playing solo against the computer was their favourite gameplay type, compared to just 3% for playing online in a big team (and 7% in small teams)
  • The 35-54 group is also likely to enjoy single-player games, but less than the 55+ group 
  • Meanwhile, the 16-34 group is more likely to prefer playing online (compared to other groups)

Publishers should continue making premium, single-player-focused games to appeal not only to older players but also all players.

After all, a third of 16-34 year old players also cite single-player games as a favourite game type.

While it might be enticing to focus more heavily on live-service games, which are the most lucrative games on the market, the reality is that entering this segment is difficult and doesn’t necessarily cater to the consumption preferences of older gamers:

  • The number of AAA live-service games that have struggled to make an impact points to a zero-sum game that’s essentially already been won
  • Top games like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Call of Duty – hold a strong grip over the live-service market, and have done so for years now
  • Pulling players away from these titles is a difficult sell due to their powerful network effects and established communities
  • Older gamers cite ‘escapism’ and ‘me/alone time’ as their most important reasons for playing games. Meanwhile, younger gamers cite ‘meeting with friends’ and socialising much more than older gamers. Youngsters are playing games for different reasons to older gamers

Of course, there are ample opportunities to appeal to older gamers with online games, which we also cover in the full report, but it is not a silver-bullet solution. Different age segments have different entertainment consumption needs.

Appealing to older players

To leverage the older-gamer opportunity, game markers – as well as decision-makers in other segments – need to grasp the group’s nuanced behaviours, preferences, and attitudes. They play (and pay!) differently and for different reasons.

Our full report dives deep into these preferences. Here’s a sneak peek at what else we cover:

  • Preferred genres are vastly different for each age group: Older gamers are more drawn to strategic and puzzle-solving elements than their younger counterparts. There are plenty of crossover opportunities, however
  • Reasons for playing are also vastly different: Many of the trends that hit among younger players are a complete miss for the 55+ group
  • Accessibility implications: Older consumers’ bodies and senses of older gamers are different from younger players, so the games market’s fantastic emphasis on accessibility settings and controllers can also democratise play for older consumers
  • Older gamers can help growth-strained subscriptions grow: It is no secret that console / PC multi-game subscriptions are facing growth challenges and have moved on to user retention. Unserved and untapped older gamers provide an opportunity for growth
  • Other strategy recommendations: The full report features a data-backed list of recommendations for product teams, marketers, and non-game companies looking to target these companies

In the end, publishers should cater to older gamers now to pave the way for the future, when the group will be even bigger and more engaged with games.

When this happens, more publishers will take note and start catering to the group. The publishers who act now and get a first-mover advantage for opportunity will be in a more secure position for the future.

Want to learn more about getting ahead of this opportunity? Reach out to us here. We’d love to help!

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Sheree Honeyfield-King
I'm an older gamer, at 62, introduced to Minecraft a few years ago and now playing Medieval Dynasty...I agree 100% with this report. As a psychotherapist with an interest in gaming to improve early onset dementia, I welcome the possibility of more games suited to us older folks