Big Survey Thing: “50% of Adults Play Games”

Some adults, yesterday.
A survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project (pew-pew!) has shown that 50% of American adults play games. Lazy bastards, why aren’t they out shopping and working their way out of the recession, eh? Anyway, Gamasutra offers a breakdown of some of the results including this: “Older gamers are also more likely to play games on PC as opposed to consoles. Among adult gamers, proportional PC usage steadily increases from the 18-29 age group, to 30-49, to 50-64, reaching a high of 83 percent, then slightly dropping off for 65-plus. Meanwhile, console usage drops in parallel to a low of 23 percent.”

I built my parents a PC, but they bought a Wii instead. Bah!


  1. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    Although it’s probably stating the obvious, I think we’re probably going to see this increase over the next few decades until that figure is more like 90%. Even my bloody parents got a Wii the other week. End times!

  2. Srejv says:

    Stupid old people! Don’t they know that PC is the way to go?

  3. The Poisoned Sponge says:


    I think that is what the study have found… that the young people play on consoles and the older people play on PC…

  4. kenoxite says:

    Does this mean consoles are for the mentally challenged and PCs for males that never will get laid?

  5. Chris Evans says:

    Well my sister wants to play PC games more than the PS2…shame she bought such a crap laptop, I would’ve built her a decent PC for a great price. It would’ve given me a reason to buy a new graphics card for my machine :D

  6. egg says:

    So… the future is not bright for PC gaming at all, eh? ZE DOOM!

  7. Nimic says:

    I can thank my dad that I’m a gamer, and a PC gamer. The first thing we got when we were kids was an Amiga 500 that he had bought used, with about a gazillion games. Then came the PC, and my geekiness got off to a start.

    He was actually a bit of a gamer himself, in a way. He played a lot of the C&C games. Eventually he played so much that to make it a challenge for himself, he only used in infantry.

    So I’ve got that to throw in his face if he ever complains about my PC-usage. That’s more my mothers way, though :P

  8. Baggie says:

    I wonder if this is due to the older people sticking with what they’ve always gone with, or if they don’t want to play with an imprecise controller when a keyboard mouse is far more accurate for them.

  9. Chris Evans says:

    I wouldn’t be suprised if that plays a part in it Baggie. However in a theory I have just come up with, I feel that as people get older they realise the immaturity that is present in console gaming is slightly worse than what we see on the PC. As such they may want a more civilised gaming experience.

    Who knows really?

  10. MacBeth says:

    Hive mind infection symptom checklist:

    When reading the first line of the post
    A survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project
    you feel:
    a) an immediate need to say ‘pew-pew!’
    b) a pressing need to add a hilarious ‘pew-pew!’ based comment
    c) a disturbing moment of mental synergy with Jim when you see he did the same
    d) all of the above

    …d, obviously

  11. Bobsy says:

    Only 50%? That’s RUBBISH.

  12. qrter says:

    I wonder if this is due to the older people sticking with what they’ve always gone with

    I’d guess that’s part of it.

    Also, the 360 and the PS3 are agressively marketed towards the 18-24 year old male demographic, accompanied by the kind of games that would appeal most to that group (resulting in the “It’s-Not-For-Us” Syndrome).

  13. Malagate says:

    @Chris, I disagree with such a theory that the perceived maturity in gaming is their selection criteria.

    It’s all about accessibility.

    I find that the older people get the less patience and inclination they have to learn a new configuration or system just to have some fun or relax, as in I’ve seen my parents balk at even a humble SNES controller but be perfectly capable with a mouse and keyboard.

    The Wii really took off with them for a while, some of my friend’s parents even went out and got themselves a Wii which they use regularly, yet it’s surely one of the least mature consoles out there? It’s all about accessibility, if it can’t be learnt easily or requires some dexterous motions then most elderlies in my experience can’t be bothered.

    Also there is the issue of what constitutes gaming, I wouldn’t be surprised to know of lots of older people gaming on the PC if such games include Solitaire, Spider, Free cell and Hearts. They’re all easily recognisable and easy to use games and found on pretty much every home PC, perfect tools for procrastination from actual work/during retirement.

    Unless the idea is that there are a lot of Silver Surfers running around Azeroth or making the headshots in de_dust2?

  14. noname says:

    I bet a lot of those older peoples gaming limits to solitaire, minesweeper etc that comes with Windows. If this statistics would be about “real” (hell don’t know what to call it, well games that don’t come with Windows :-p ) I think console vs pc ratio would be quite different as well as the whole % of people playing games.

  15. Nallen says:

    My Dad is approaching 60 (about 3 weeks away) and only uses his PC for Silent Hunter IV these days. He used to like BF2 but CoD4 was the step too far.

    I think it’s all about pacing really. That said, he doesn’t show even the remotest interest in consoles.

  16. Lim-Dul says:

    Well – my grandparents (on both sides) bought computers recently but they only use them for browsing the internet. Still an impressive feat if you consider that my grandfather is 85 years old. :-P

  17. Pags says:

    My 55 (56? 57? I cannot remember) year-old dad is currently building a fourth PC, recycling the two old 8800GTs and a Core 2 Quad Extreme he had left over from his last project. The man will not stop, I tell you!

  18. AbyssUK says:

    Did you know the humble mouse is nearly 40 years old…. 40!

  19. Pags says:

    We should hold it a birthday party.

  20. itsallcrap says:

    I think the reason for older people playing games on PCs is rooted in shame.

    Despite games being played by most of the population, everybody still likes to make out that they’re not the sort of masturbating teenage boy that would waste their time with that sort of thing.

    PCs can be owned for repectable adult things like writing letters and checking your email; with consoles you have no excuse.

  21. SuperNashwan says:

    Both my parents play games on PC and wouldn’t touch a console. My dad loves his war sims and I even got my mum playing Civ4, which I hesitate to recommend to gaming friends for its complexity.

  22. Bobsy says:

    As an aside, I think it’s a shame when Civ is considered “complex”.

  23. itsallcrap says:

    Anything requiring the operation of a PC has its effective complexity multiplied by 10 as far as the ‘layman’ is concerned. I know this as I’m a SysAdmin at a secondary school.

    P.S. Teachers are stupid.

  24. pepper says:

    both of my parents play games on the computer and my father got a Wii as a christmas gift, so there also playing consoles now, offcourse, they sometimes played on the SNES with me and my brother when we were young.

  25. RichP says:

    My grandpa was the only member of my immediate family who played videogames, and the only one he played was Goldeneye for N64. But damn, was he good at it.

  26. cliffski says:

    Pcs’ have hit rough times lately, and the wii is all the rage. There are some bic companies throwing billions at consoles to try and ‘win’ the console war. Once that settles down things may tip slightly back towards PC gaming?

    besides, almost everyone I know owns a PC, but not all of them own a console. The potential for PC gaming remains vast.
    And don’t forget that in a post-credit crunch recession economy, PC games are WAY cheaper than the console equivalents. More people should be making £10-20 PC games that run on older systems to take advantage of this (like me!).

  27. Pidesco says:

    And people say I’m childish. this is just another way in which I’m getting older. First goes the hair, then comes the back hair and the PC games.

  28. Tim says:

    My granny, who is nearly eighty, asked me to help her buy one of the brain training things. Turns out she meant a DS, which she now plays on every day. She wanted a black one as it looked better.

  29. Erlam says:

    Keep in mind too that the genre’s overwhelmingly present on consoles are less attractive to older audiences. Would your dad/mum rather play as a half-clad bouncy vapid girl, or the stoic leader of a vast army?

    You’ll find that fighting games and RPG’s are much less popular amongst ‘older’ gamers due to their difficulty of entry if you haven’t played the genre in the past.

  30. CG says:

    I’m 26, and I think I’m too old for consoles. Why? I’ve been a PC gamer since I was 8 years old (the only console I owned was the NES), and I am just too used to the mouse and keyboard, and too scared of the console controller. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it — the few times I’ve tried console shooters it has been a disaster… It’s taken me years to get a certain amount of FPS mouse-and-keyboard skills, and I don’t want to learn that all over again.

    Getting a console might be a good idea, financially, since the biggest drawback to PC gaming is upgrading every couple years… and I like the looks of a lot of the recent console games… but I feel like a foreigner in the console world.

    There are a lot of people like me. This is why PC gaming is on solid ground.

  31. phil says:

    This is excellent news, I’ll feel marginally less like a gigantic man child using my DS on the tube.

  32. qrter says:

    It doesn’t say anything about people playing games in public spaces, phil, you fantastically big man baby.

  33. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I’d agree with Erlam on this. I think the general appeal of the games for consoles steers more of our elders toward the PC (I know that’s how it is with me at least). PC games occupy a wide breadth of stuff, and most of it is a little more sedate. My father got me into PC gaming with Civilization and wargaming, but the last wargame that he bought for PC was Norm Koger’s The Art of War, which was a long time ago. He’s kind of excited about Total War: Empires, but not too enthused about the real-time battles. It’s really about the level of input. Most people over forty aren’t prepared to be l33t-sk33t h4><0r snipers, or do a lot of rapid clicking/thinking that’s rooted essentially in muscle memory (this includes RTS). This is a generation that grew up on board games.

  34. Anthony Damiani says:

    Sure, 50% PLAY games…. but surely 90% pirate them!

  35. Mr.President says:

    Every single person over 50 in my office plays Solitaire when there’s no work to do. Mainly because they don’t know shit about computers and have no other ways to derive entertainment from a work PC.

  36. Nitre says:

    As Poisoned Sponge said, i think that the number of adults playing games is going to increase quite a lot in the next 20 or 30 years. Since most young people these days play some form of games, and were brought up with them, they’ll be much more willing continue playing when they get older, and will also introduce their children to games. The reason, i think, that only 50% of adults these days play games is because they were born too early to appreciate games when they came out.

    I’d say if people were over the age of 30 or so when the first games were being developed and released they wouldn’t have been interested.

  37. Moonracer says:

    I’m still waiting for the point when nursing homes start advertising themselves as nonstop lan parties.

    “frag till you die!” could be a great retirement home slogan.

  38. Kadayi says:

    I think we require some penis reduction around here by the looks of things….