Huge surge in over-65s video gaming due to shielding measures

  • One in five UK grandparents took to playing virtual video games with grandchildren whilst shielding to stay in touch with them, according to a new report.

    The research by global recruiter Robert Walters and data provider Vacancysoft found that a further 40% of over 55’s said they regularly played games online with their own children during lockdown.

    Restrictions to physical social interaction due to the Covid-19 pandemic has seen the uptake of video game sales this year increase by 218% compared to the same period last year, suggested the Gaming: Perfect Play for Growth report.

    Thomas Shibley, Global Head of Player Support at Wildlife Studios commented: “With the unexpected behaviour pattern this year of more people staying inside and not having access to the same traditional methods of relieving stress, this allowed for more time to game and more frequent usage of games to bridge the social limitations we have all felt this year.

    “Not only are core gamers playing more, but there are many people trying out games for the first time, or people who were casual gamers who have made this their main hobby.”

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    According to the report, 42% of British people aged between 55 and 64 - and 27% of the 65+ population – have played video games in the last five years, with most drawn to classic puzzle, logic, card and tile games.

    During lockdown 40% of gamers who are over 60 stated that they played strategy games – such as Sudoku, Chess & Bridge - “to keep the brain in tip-top shape” whilst shielding.

    For millennials (aged 25-38), a third stated that their main reason for gaming during lockdown was to ‘relax’ and 40% of Generation X (aged 39-54) used online games to engage with their children during this period.

    Tom Chambers, Senior Manager Technology at Robert Walters added: “This increasing segmentation of gaming means that as the industry grows, there will be a natural explosion of gaming companies and hiring - where within the next five years the number of people employed in the sector could be tripled.”

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    While it’s anecdotally still thought that gaming chiefly appeals to younger people; 85% of under 35s state they frequently picked up a controller during lockdown, as well as 75% of 35-44 year olds.

    Tom concluded: “As these millennials mature, so too does the proportion of people gaming above the age of 40, meaning there is an abundance of untapped growth potential amongst older audiences.”

    To download your copy of the report click here.

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