Thursday, November 13, 2008

Computer Games Rock -- Even for Boomers

Video games aren't just for pimply teenage boys with a sword-and-sorcery addiction. Women and Baby Boomers are driving traffic in the fastest-growing component of the entertainment sector. A recent report by IBISWorld, reports PC World, finds that 38 percent of US gamers are women, the average player is 35 years old, and 24 percent are over 50.

All trends point to continuing growth, especially if game designers transcend the adolescent lust for gore and cater to middle-aged tastes.

I can confirm, from personal experience, that computer gaming is alive and well among 50+ males. In college, I remember being entranced by the world's simplest video game -- Pong -- in which the players tried to bounce a moving ball past the other's defenses. As a young adult, I escaped from work for extended lunch breaks to play Robotron and Missile Command. As a middle-aged adult, I've lost way too many hours of sleep playing Civilization and other strategy games into the wee hours of the morning.

In the coming age of frugality, simple economics make gaming an attractive entertainment option. A new video game retails for $50. For the same amount of money, you can rent 10 moves online (or buy them in the Wal Mart discount DVD bin). Ten movies provide about 20 hours of viewing pleasure. A serious gaming addict can burn through 20 hours in a day -- then wake up the next morning craving more. Here's another way to look at it: Gaming is also cheaper than buying crack.

For those who feel guilty neglecting their family playing solo games, the gaming industry has invented a whole new category of family-friendly titles. My 10-year-old son and I have played more than a few hours of Guitar Hero together. (As a bonus, I've exposed him to a number of Baby Boomer rock anthems he never would have heard otherwise.)

Computer games, unlike golf, vacations, books or other ways to wile away your leisure time, benefit from the phenomenal increase in microprocessor performance. Video game graphics are improving with awesome speed. Characters in games with interactive plots are depicted with ever greater authenticity. Players can interact with one another in imaginary worlds. The immersive experience is becoming ever richer.

Who needs Las Vegas or Disney World at $500 per night when a $50 computer game gives you the whole world -- or the whole universe, for that matter?

(Hat tip: Paul Briand with

1 comment:

Gamer Coach said...

Jim Bonfield: This is exactly why exists. For video game players who are new to the sport and maybe a little older than most gamers. LIKE ME. Not a lot of time to figure out the finer points of that game you bought a few months ago? Tired of getting your tail handed to you by 15 year old players? I was and that's why I created this video game lesson site.
Just because we are a bit older doesn't mean we can't get it. You may just need an overview in plain English that you can understand from someone who has been there and done that. Go Adult Gamers!

This is a video game training site for regular players who just want to catch a clue, not get fragged so fast and level up. No pressure. No egos. Just fun and infotainment. Gift cards are available too if you know players who need training but are just to embarrassed to ask! ;-)

Valuable Insights into the Hearts, Minds and Wallets of Today's Baby Boomers

This blog is by the authors of Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group, on sale now.

Here is where you'll find information referenced in the book, as well as updates, news and perspectives from Matt Thornhill and John Martin, founders of the Boomer Project.