Second from right looks like our own Darren Calvert, but without facial features
Second from right looks like our own Darren Calvert, but without facial features (Image: Quantic Foundry)

This writer remembers a time when gaming was largely the preserve of children and teenagers, with parents wondering what it was all about. Of course, that very memory makes your scribe 'old', as it's all downhill once you reach the big three-zero. Or so we're told.

Yet the gaming industry, as is clear to any individual with basic skills of observation, is growing up with its veteran gamers. The average age of gaming enthusiasts is reckoned to be about 35, and now some extensive research by Quantic Foundry has looked into how gaming habits change as gamers get older.

The company gathered data from over 140,000 gamers to quantify their gaming motivations. Two key areas it's highlighted are the rapid decline in interest in 'competitive' games, while Strategy games have the smallest difference in interest between age groups. The popularity of competitive games explains why so many voices yelling at you in Call of Duty have only recently broken.

Competition age.png
Image: Quantic Foundry
Image: Quantic Foundry

In terms of why motivation drops with age, the following explanations are given.

First, as gamers get older and have a broader range of responsibilities and pursuits, they are less likely to rate any particular gaming activity as "extremely important/enjoyable". Thus, their overall gaming profiles might appear deflated, but the relative order of their motivations would still be revealing.

Second, lower scores on these motivations aren't necessarily "less" of a motivation. For example, low Excitement implies a specific kind of gameplay, and calm/stress-free gameplay is no less valid than fast/stressful gameplay. The same is true for preference for solo play (as opposed to highly social play). The appeal of solo play isn't any "less" of a gaming motivation than social play.

If you want to read the full report you'll have to spend $2500, though, so we're left with these snippets from the company's summary.

This old man (below the average gaming age, though) does still enjoy playing Fire Emblem: Awakening while wearing comfortable clothes, so these results seem sensible.

[source, via]