Table of contents
    March 23, 2020

    Age is just a number

    Gaming isn’t just a pastime only enjoyed by teenagers and young adults anymore. The average age of gamers has risen over the past years – and more and more elderly people discover the joy of gaming. What can we learn from them?

    Shirley Curry is a YouTube star – 800,000 people have subscribed to her channel to see her play the RPG masterpiece The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. What sets her apart from most other content creators: she’s 84 years old, as of April 2020.

    Curry has started her channel in 2015 and quickly gained a following. Elder Scrolls developer Bethesda even promised to include a character resembling her in the sixth part of the series. The gaming grandmother is appreciated even beyond the Skyrim community and shows that enjoying what you do has nothing to do with your age.

    Curry is by far not the only YouTuber or streamer who reached a high age. Even in esports, elderly people have entered the competition and made a name for themselves. In 2017, the “Silver Snipers” entered a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament at DreamHack in Sweden. With move to age stat nicknames such as “Teen Slayer” and “Knitting Knight”, they underlined the fact that they were there to have fun, which is the main goal of gaming after all..

    Average age of gamers increases

    According to Statista, only 21 percent of gamers in the US were under 18 in 2019, while as many gamers are 50 or older. In fact, the average age of gamers has increased significantly over the last years. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too surprising that also elderly people take on playing games.

    After all, thanks to tablets and mobile phones, the access to video games is much more widely spread than 20 years ago. And this trend is going to continue in the future. Just ask yourself: are you going to keep playing games as you grow older? The answer is probably yes.

    Playing video games has positive impact on the elderly, as they can stay in touch with other people leading to a more vivid social life. In addition, research[1]suggests cognitive stimulation can slow down or delay diseases like Alzheimer’s.

    What we can learn from elderly people today

    What is remarkable about older generations playing computer games today is they usually did not grow up gaming. This pastime used to be almost exclusively associated with children and young adults. Younger brains have a much better capacity of learning things, therefore elderly people often have to make an extra effort to be good at games.

    People like Curry or the Silver Snipers are so fascinating because they took up this hobby only in later stages of their lives. On the one hand, they display an almost childlike curiosity, while they are, on the other hand, really experienced in life. This blend might be a huge factor that makes them so appealing for their fanbase.

    What can we learn from them? Stay curious and never be afraid to try out something new – even when it doesn’t make sense for you in the beginning. This doesn’t apply to gaming only. It is surely the thing which keeps these inspiring personalities young.


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