With gaming having come so far over the last few generations, there’s enough room for everyone. From the hardcore to the casual, the market size for developers and players means a diversity of enjoyment for players of all skills and interests. One of the more interesting components of the modern market is the time different age groups spend gaming. There’s significant variety here, especially regarding who plays the most, the implications of which are more important than players might know – particularly on gaming genre evolution.
Age and Play Length
ExpressVPN conducted a study that included responses from a thousand gamers in the US and another thousand in the UK, covering four different age groups in the 16-55 spectrum. The study didn’t just focus on age, it also looked at gamer emotions and gender gaming tastes. However, we want to focus on the time spent playing per week by group. Specifically, considering the following statistics:
- 3% of players aged 16-25 played more than 24 hours a week
- 6% of players aged 26-35 played more than 24 hours a week
- 9% of players aged 36-45 played more than 24 hours a week
- 18% of players aged 46-55 played more than 24 hours a week
The takeaway here is that even given equal levels of interest, older players tended to free up more time to play.
Genre and Time Spent
If you’re an old-school gamer, then you probably remember a time when it was a game’s genre that generally defined how long it could be played. These were traditionally RPG titles which, as ScreenRant details, is still often the case today. Often doesn’t mean always, however, as the evolution of gaming has expanded even less known titles into possibly lengthy experiences.
Genre, Age, and Gaming Time
It used to be the case that casual games were short, single-player action titles of medium length, and RPGs and online games could have much longer playtimes. The industry took issue with this because the longer that games were played, the more interest they would gather, and the more money they could make. To maximize play length, developers and publishers had to look at how the different genres tied to gamer ages to try to maximize engagement across all fronts.
Data from Statista suggests that older gamers with the most free time are also some of the most diverse in terms of what they enjoy. Taking advantage of this meant developers needed to add parts to games to naturally boost how players would engage with them. The solution, they found, was turning to the RPGs as a genre.
With RPGs being the genre that often took the longest to complete through leveling up, acquiring in-game gear, and progressing stories, different genres began implementing RPG mechanics. Sports games offered long RPG stat-driven story modes, action games featured a greater emphasis on leveling up, and racing titles included gear upgrades. Even casual titles now include gamification systems to keep players coming back, as a matter of standard fare.
In essence, all these developments tie back to wanting to drive the most engagement possible over all groups. In this regard, the oldest players served as a testing ground, with trickle-down effects on players of all other age groups. Love them or hate them, RPG involvement in the gaming genre evolution has a direct link to the importance of older players within the industry.