Study: Millions of US Seniors Aged 65+ Spent $500 on Gaming in The Past Year

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Video games have been around for decades, with the world’s first commercial video game Pong being released exactly 50 years ago in 1972. And it seems that the original gamers have aged with the video game industry.

When you think of senior citizens, video games are probably one of the last things you think of. Yet there are a huge number of senior citizen gamers in the US – 16m to be precise.

We conducted a survey of gamers aged 65+ to find out what their motivations behind gaming are, what they spend on gaming devices, accessories and games per year, and their preferred games.

We found that:

  • The top motivation for senior citizen gaming is for brain stimulation, with over three quarters (76%) agreeing, and some going on to explain further that it helps them to keep a healthy, younger mind
  • This was followed by 71% saying it helped them to bond with friends and family
  • And the third most popular reason is that it helps with mental health (55%)

Almost half of the senior gamers (49%) said video games directly helped with their cognitive ability. Of these, some went on to say that family members or close friends had noticed a change in their mental state and commented that they’d been “quicker”, “sharper”, or less forgettable than usual.

A major issue affecting American senior citizens in America is loneliness and boredom. 44% of senior gamers that we surveyed said that gaming eased their boredom, and 63% said they felt less lonely as a result of playing.

Like everything, gaming can come at a cost.

Senior gamers are running up the costs with almost half (47%) spending $500 on gaming, which includes buying:

  • Consoles
  • Video games
  • Accessories (like headsets, gaming chairs, and custom controllers)

Even the senior gamers that stick to mobile games shared that 79% had spent at least $50 in the past year on in-game purchases in free-to-play games.


Popular Games & Consoles

The console wars carry on with senior gamers too, with the battle between Xbox and PlayStation.

Of the senior gamers that use either of these two consoles:

  • 58% said they used PlayStation
  • 36% said they used Xbox
  • And there was a crossover with 12% saying they used both Xbox and PlayStation

Aside from seniors that only play Sony or Microsoft consoles, the Nintendo Switch also showed to be quite popular, with 61% using Nintendo’s home console.

Other data also showed that smartphones are a particularly popular way for senior citizens to game, with two thirds (65%) opting for mobile as one method to play games.

Mobile games such as Angry Birds and Candy Crush are thought to contribute to this trend due to their accessibility – from their easy controls to being free to play.

And finally, our study discovered the favorite and most-played games of the nation’s senior gamers. Here are their top 10:

  1. Candy Crush
  2. Wordle
  3. Animal Crossing
  4. Madden 2022
  5. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  6. Mario Party Superstars
  7. Overcooked 2
  8. Mario Kart 8
  9. Monopoly Plus
  10. Tetris

We really enjoyed running this study into senior gamers. Hopefully more of those aged 65+ will take it up as a hobby, since so many agree there are many positive benefits for doing so!

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