As Gamers Age, The Appeal of Competition Drops The Most. Strategy is The Most Age-Stable Motivation.

By | 2016-10-17T20:02:33+00:00 February 10th, 2016|Analytics, Video Games|77 Comments

When I first started running large online surveys of gamers in the days of EverQuest, I was a 20-year-old undergrad psych major. I remember looking at the age distribution of those online gamers where about 20-30% were over the age of 30 (and a fair number above 40), and thinking to myself, wow those gamers are old.

The Gamer Generation Grows Up

Well, now I’m “old” and still gaming. And so are many other gamers who, like me, grew up with video games and have no plans to ever stop gaming. According to the ESA, the average gamer is now 35 years old. And that average will keep rising as the first gamer generation gets older.

There’s a generation of people who grew up with gaming and they have no plans to ever stop gaming.

In both the gamer and game research communities, we talk a lot about how men and women like different kinds of games or what games for women ought to look like. And yet, even though the 35+ gamer crowd is clearly growing bigger each year, it’s much less common to see discussions about how gamers change as they grow older.

The data we’ve collected from over 140,000 gamers via the Gamer Motivation Profile allows us to see how gaming motivations vary by age.

Want to see how you compare with other gamers? Take a 5-minute survey and get your own Gamer Motivation Profile.

Competition is More of a Youth Motivation than a Male Motivation

Among the 12 motivations we measure in our model, the interest in Competition changes the most with age. In our framework, Competition is the appeal of competing with other players in duels, matches, or team-vs-team scenarios.

Competition

The gender difference in Competition is large at first among younger gamers, but then disappears with age. As gamers get older, the appeal of Competition declines, but this happens more rapidly for men than for women. Thus, by the time we’re past 45, the difference between men and women largely disappears.

The gender difference in Competition is large at first among younger gamers, but then disappears with age.

There’s another interesting take-away here. The biggest gap between men and women (among younger gamers) is smaller than the difference between the youngest and oldest men in our data. So age in fact explains a bigger portion of the variance in Competition than gender does.

Strategy is the Most Age-Stable Motivation

We then looked for the motivation that changed the least with age. In our model, Strategy is the enjoyment of gameplay that requires careful decision-making and planning. You might think that strategic gameplay appeals more to older gamers than young gamers, but we found that the appeal of Strategy is the most stable motivation overall.

Strategy

The data also showed that there is a fairly consistent gender difference in Strategy, with men indicating a higher enjoyment of Strategy in gaming compared with women independent of age.

Do Any Motivations Increase with Age?

In our data, we found that, overall, motivations decline with age. We think this is happening for 2 reasons.

First, as gamers get older and have a broader range of responsibilities and pursuits, they are less likely to rate any particular gaming activity as “extremely important/enjoyable”. Thus, their overall gaming profiles might appear deflated, but the relative order of their motivations would still be revealing.

Second, lower scores on these motivations aren’t necessarily “less” of a motivation. For example, low Excitement implies a specific kind of gameplay, and calm/stress-free gameplay is no less valid than fast/stressful gameplay. The same is true for preference for solo play (as opposed to highly social play). The appeal of solo play isn’t any “less” of a gaming motivation than social play.

What About You?

There’s always a risk of extrapolating longitudinally from cross-section age data. After all, there may be generational cohort effects that are separate from the effects of aging. But what’s interesting is that our data shows consistent age trends in both the pre- and post- 35 age groups. In other words, the changes in motivations after age 35 are consistent with how motivations are changing prior to age 35.

What’s changed the most in terms of your gaming habits and preferences as you’ve grown up?

But enough about us and our data. If you’re a 35+ gamer, we’d love to hear how you perceive your own gaming habits and preferences to have changed as you’ve grown up with gaming. What’s changed the most for you?

Explore Our In-Depth Motivation Insight Report
Contact Us For Custom Analysis
By | 2016-10-17T20:02:33+00:00 February 10th, 2016|Analytics, Video Games|77 Comments

About the Author:

Nick is the co-founder and analytics lead of Quantic Foundry. He combines social science and data science to understand gamer behavior in large-scale game data.

77 Comments

  1. T Wright February 10, 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Great study Nick! In fact I would be interested in exploring age and gaming more deeply with mmorpgs. Especially those who play in their 50s and 60s.

  2. Chris February 10, 2016 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    As a 42 year old male, I used to prefer long, drawn out RPGs, but now I find that I gravitate more towards games that can be worked on in smaller doses. That includes MMOs with easily definable micro-goals (crafting, a dungeon, a few nearby quests), epsiodic games (Tales from the Borderlands, The Walking Dead), and even lobby-based games (Mechwarrior Online, Rocket League). I also like games I can get into and out of quickly (Destiny, The Division). I suspect this IS because of “adulting” that I need to do at a moment’s notice.

    What I don’t think has changed for me is my social interaction. I was never much of a competitive gamer, although I do enjoy playing competitive games with friends. I do so mainly because A) they might want to play those kinds of games, and B) it’s enjoyable when I know for certain that there’s an understanding between us that this is ACTUALLY just for fun.

    • Nick Yee February 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm - Reply

      The “predictable dosing” theme was also something we noticed as well as we were analyzing the data. We often think of MMOs as big time sinks, but it’s absolutely true that many MMOs provide these bite-sized goals that are great for small chunks of downtime.

    • Sylvansight February 11, 2016 at 9:23 am - Reply

      When transitioning from 5hr raids to games which can be played in smaller chunks, you need to factor in experience (ie burnout) as well as pure age I suspect.

    • Calamasaby February 11, 2016 at 9:31 am - Reply

      Are you me from the future?

  3. Marguerite February 10, 2016 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    So excited for this study’s release. I was going to email you asking about something exactly like this and now I don’t have to! Can’t wait to download and dive in, will be a great reference for our consulting clients. Thanks for all the hard work. Would love to learn more about your polling methods in the future.

    • Nick Yee February 10, 2016 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Marguerite – We’ve been so busy with putting out findings that we’re definitely not as on top of providing methods descriptions as we would like. But please feel free to ping us if you’d like to chat informally about any of the underlying methods!

  4. As Gamers Age, The Appeal of Competition Drops The Most. Strategy is The Most Age-Stable Motivation. | Flexibility Enables Learning February 10, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    […] Sourced through Scoop.it from: quanticfoundry.com […]

  5. Marshall February 10, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    How does your study control for the fact that gamers of different ages grew up playing different styles of games, and that this may affect their preferences more than their age?

    • Nick Yee February 10, 2016 at 11:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Marshall – Great question. These findings are based on cross-sectional data, and we comment on this potential risk in the second-to-last paragraph. The generational cohort effects are difficult to quantify and control for unfortunately. And the larger problem is that even if we did actual longitudinal tracking of the same gamers over time, we would still only have one cohort in the oldest bucket and no one else to compare them with.

      On the other hand, if the effects were entirely driven by cohort game styles, it’s strange that the trends across the 12 motivations are almost always linear and not more chaotic due to the rise and wane of different game genres, etc. The stable linear trends across the 4 decades of data seem to be better explained by age.

      To fully address the confound, we’ll have to wait till several generational cohorts pass through the 35+ threshold, and examine the stability of these trends. Since that kind of research takes decades, the cross-sectional data, imperfect as it is, gives us the best clues as to how gaming motivations change with age.

      • Marshall February 10, 2016 at 11:16 pm

        Thanks for your prompt and thorough reply :)

  6. Steve February 10, 2016 at 10:47 pm - Reply

    46-year-old gamer checking in here. I’ve been playing computer games since the late 1970s. My preferences have actually not changed a ton over the years. RPGs and adventure games like Zork were my favorites when I was a kid, and I still spend more time on single-player RPGs than on any other class kind of game. I was never into competitive gaming but used to enjoy, and still do enjoy, a good couch co-op experience. (Incidentally: why are so few multiplayer games designed to accommodate players of vastly different skill levels? My wife isn’t a lifelong gamer and we find most co-op games more frustrating than fun because she can’t keep up with me, with some notable exceptions like Puppeteer.)

    Like other commenters, I prefer games that can be consumed in shorter doses, which is a change from when I was a young adult and would take a few days off work when a new Final Fantasy came out. I still sometimes get to spend hours on end engrossed in a game, but a more common scenario is that I’m getting in a little game time between the end of my work day and dinner time. Games with checkpoints or savepoints are therefore far less appealing to me now than they used to be; my family won’t pause itself to wait for me to get to the next milestone in the game. Mobile games get the “pausing by way of quitting the program” idea right a lot more often than console or PC games and I hope the growing influence of mobile gaming will cause that particular feature to catch on on other platforms.

  7. keimax February 10, 2016 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    35 year old gamer here. I am living proof of the study. When I was young I played all sorts of games. I must say I did not focus on competitive games I just played them all. I might stuck longer to those who gave me a social and competitive element.
    Now I do not play competitive games any more. Granted – from time to time you would see me play Company of Heroes2 or 1-2 rounds of an COD title, but I really do not care much about beeing first in a score table :) You will never find me playing League of Legends, or any other MOBA / Arena game since they are purely based on hardcore teamplay and competitive core mechanics. They yell at you if you are not 120% efficient :)
    All other type of games like Adventures or Jump and Runs are still liked and played by me without any significant change.
    I spend less time with games and I lose interest in games much quicker than back in 80s and 90s but I am ok with that.

  8. Sean February 11, 2016 at 1:23 am - Reply

    47 year old gamer here, gaming since 1980. I can see some of myself in these results: all those hours in EUIV have to be explained by something. I still play competitive games, but perhaps it is notable that they’re all Wargaming titles (WoT, WoWP, WOWS) that are designed for an older audience. Certainly, my days of playing twitch-based shooters is gone: when I log into Destiny, it’s certainly not to do PvP. And although my students all play MOBAs, they’re not something I have any interest in playing.

    The timelength I lay for hasn’t notably changed, however: I either play for hours or not at all – although luckily for me, my wife is also a gamer, and so we can play for hours together (and the kids are old enough to live by themselves).

    I wonder about the interpretation that age is a greater determinant of the variance of Competition than gender is. I mean, it is of course true, as the data indicates – but it might be more useful to express these as cohorts. That is, for younger players, gender is a determinant in playing of Competitive gamers, but for older players, Competitive games are played at equally low levels by both genders. I dont know, maybe I’m making too much out of straightforward data, but it does feel like it’s the *relationship* between age and gender that determines whether a given player is likely to play Competitive games.

    • Nick Yee February 11, 2016 at 1:39 am - Reply

      Fair point on interpretation. In research psychology jargon, they would describe it as a significant interaction effect of gender and age on competition. In the post, I was definitely emphasizing the effect size difference more.

  9. Diarmid February 11, 2016 at 1:48 am - Reply

    42 year-gamer here. I used to play a lot of competitive games with my friends when I was younger (mostly other men). Then when I got married and had kids I have much less free time so when I do play games now, i often try and combine it with time with my wife. She is not such a game and so takes much longer to get good at a new game than me so competitive games are no fun for either of us – the best times have been had playing co-operative games (e.g. Pixel Junk Monsters, Little big planet) or ones with a big story that are as fun to watch as play (Heavy Rain).

  10. Marsflyboy February 11, 2016 at 1:53 am - Reply

    I’m 44. Loved strategy all my life. With age comes wisdom or at least many game overs. I for one find myself perhaps in my prime of strategy. I prefer RTS, my 13 year old son prefers FPS and my 15 year old daughter prefers RPG. I don’t have reflexes for COD. Game such as this years RB6S allows us all 3 to takes turns having fun. Team based strategy is great. My son plays attacker and my daughter and I take turns defending.
    In regards to mostly pure strategy, old guys kick butt though! I put in over 10k+ games of TC EndWar on PS3. Every great player was over 30 I found out. We described the experience as being like modern day chess. No meeting in park or library to battle. The online MMO and RTS was a perfect fit for us to get off work, take care of domestic duties and then play an hour or two with minds from around the world and build friendships in the process. Only game I’ve ever played I can say that about.

  11. Un sondaggio analizza come cambiano le abitudini dei giocatori durante la loro vita - Games February 11, 2016 at 2:51 am - Reply

    […] Quantic Foundry ha proposto un sondaggio a più di 140.000 gamer per capire in particolare come l’interesse verso la competizione cambi nel corso degli anni. Sembrerebbe che questa particolare motivazione cali sempre più nettamente man mano che passano gli anni, esattamente come è sottolineato dal grafico qui di seguito: […]

  12. Un sondaggio analizza come cambiano le abitudini dei giocatori durante la loro vita - Miroku's Games February 11, 2016 at 4:38 am - Reply

    […] Quantic Foundry ha proposto un sondaggio a più di 140.000 gamer per capire in particolare come l’interesse verso la competizione cambi nel corso degli anni. Sembrerebbe che questa particolare motivazione cali sempre più nettamente man mano che passano gli anni, esattamente come è sottolineato dal grafico qui di seguito: […]

  13. Matt February 11, 2016 at 5:03 am - Reply

    I must be an outlier. I’m 39 and gamed since the early 80s. I was slightly competitive in my youth with Tekken down the pub and some Doom era LAN gaming. However since I discovered Battlefield, I now play 90% online PvP having logged over 1000 hours on BF3 and near to 800 on BF4. I still play the occasional single player arcade style game but the thought of wading through a narrative driven, cut scene heavy game as a content tourist is a complete turn off for me. If I want a good story, I’ll read a book or watch a movie.

    • Candice February 11, 2016 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      I’m 35 and my fave game type is still FPS. Although I rarely play alone, I’d much rather play with friends. The main reason I’m not big on single player games like Fallout, Shadow of Mordor, etc, is because it lacks the social interaction. Every time I convince myself to shell out money for a single player action title I end up regretting it because I lose interest after a few game sessions. I don’t usually turn on my console unless I know there’s a friend or two I can play a game with.

    • Human_170716 February 15, 2016 at 6:58 pm - Reply

      There will always be outliers, with any set of data; what’s more interesting is not that you’re an outlier, but what makes you an outlier: your particular vocation (if any), your relationship (if any), etc.

      Not that you are one, but I imagine a shut-in or person with mobility issues (wheelchair, cane, etc.) that had gamed heavily earlier in the youth might “keep up the habit” more than someone else.

  14. James Lee February 11, 2016 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Interesting. I wonder to what extent older players are put off competitive play simply because of the perception that it’s a young person’s arena. Many gamers who are 30+ may want competitive games but weigh up the ideal scenario of playing with peers against the perceived likelihood of playing against sweary teenagers.

  15. Edward February 11, 2016 at 9:00 am - Reply

    I have personally noticed a difference in gaming over the years. I am a multiplayer gamer on the border at 33 and enjoy the social interaction. As I have gotten older the groups I have formed have changed greatly from a sense of desire in dominating opponents to a more collaborative, project goal driven, environment. The groups have also become more diverse in sex and ethnicity.

  16. New study shows how age affects our gaming habits - GeekTechTalk February 11, 2016 at 9:03 am - Reply

    […] new Quantic Foundry study looking at the gaming motivations of different generations has found that competitive gaming […]

  17. Kim February 11, 2016 at 10:52 am - Reply

    I’m a 54 year old female gamer. I started playing in the late 70’s, mostly coop games on the old Atari systems, then graduated to exclusively single player PC games in the mid-80s. I did come ’round to online multi-player games until I was in my mid-40’s.

    I was never very competitive, perhaps because I never had especially good hand-eye coordination. I would say, though, that my already meager level of competitiveness has probably declined over the years. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to care less about measuring myself against others and come to appreciate the value of cooperation more.

    MMO’s have changed my gaming habits significantly because of the easy access to cooperative play and social interaction (which I never realized I was missing until I stumbled on it). Over the years, my MMO play has changed from mostly playing alone to mostly playing with others, but I think that’s less about advancing age and more about access: I eventually found a guild of predominantly middle-aged gamers. Such a delight to have other “old” gamers to play with!

  18. Miranda Verswijvelen February 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    In the world of instructional design for online learning, the whole ‘gamification’ movement often gravitates towards competition as a motivator (with points and badges). Your findings prove again that this path needs to be treaded carefully and as always, learning design should be taking the audience in consideration. Mature students and slightly older employees may not be enticed by these tactics for inner motivation. Using other engaging game design techniques in online and blended learning, such as storytelling and personal discovery appeals to a larger audience. Great study, thanks!

    • Nick Yee February 11, 2016 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      That’s a very interesting point and pivot into instructional design. Thanks for bringing that up!

  19. Edward Crisler February 11, 2016 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    At 53 this year I have been gaming on computers in some form for 39 years. I have watched gaming change over the year and am not sure so much if what I enjoy from gaming has changed or gaming itself has changed.

    I was and still am a huge fan of role play gaming. I enjoy shooters but mostly when they have a story and some sort of strategy behind them others than quick reflexes.

    Online game play used to be amazing for me but over the last few years I have found I have no tolerance for the high “douchebag” quotient that seems to exist in many communities. Everything is homogenized so everyone uses the same armor, sword, spell or gun and if you do not use that one your a noob. Now I prefer a great solo game or co-op with my close friends a lot more.

    I am still very active in the gamer world, professionally and privately. I love gaming and cannot see ever leaving it.

  20. Shao February 11, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    For me, 31 old, it’s more about my time available for gaming. As getting married, having kids, graduated and start working, there is just not much time left for gaming. With less time, I find it easier to be good at strategy games as they have lower burden of mechanical skills.

    However I do remember seeing a research about reaction time vs age, and it concludes that there is no significant difference (couldn’t find the source atm). But as people get older and taking more responsibility on life, there just not be enough time to train up their mechanical skills with all the new games.

    So I will be very interesting to see this research to be done by categorize gamers into groups like competitive and casual gamer first, maybe determine by hours of game time per week, and see the age different within the group and population difference between groups.

  21. Gabe February 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    I think I’m probably in a less common category. I’m 45 and I just started playing games a little over a year ago. By “just started” I mean that I last owned a console in the 80’s (an Atari 5200), but even back then I never owned more than a few games and frankly just wasn’t into it all that much.

    What attracted me to buy my current console was The Last of Us and boy oh boy was that ever a good decision. Since then, I’ve played a number of other games and what I’m finding is that a strong narrative and compelling characters really seem to help my level of enjoyment. I am just now, in the last few weeks, starting to delve into multiplayer games where narrative and characters don’t really matter and while I’m having fun, I would easily put those games aside for a an absorbing story line like the The Last of Us.

  22. Study analyses gaming tastes as we age | The State of Gaming February 11, 2016 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    […] at least one of those has some truth to it. Gaming analytics consultancy Quantic Foundry has released a study of over 140,000 ‘Gamer Motivation Profiles’ to identify how our tastes in games change […]

  23. Pia February 12, 2016 at 3:56 am - Reply

    I’m a 24 year old female gamer and I started to play videogames 20 years ago thanks to my sister’s Amiga 500. My gaming skills are surely changed in 20 years, but I’ve always preferred single player games and games with a strong, addictive plot have always been in my top 10 list :) I grew up with every Final Fantasy game and RPG in general (both westerns and japanese) and when I was little (from 10 to 14 years old) I used to play only because I enjoyed myself, I didn’t care about strategies, levels, achievements, points… My only goal was to reach the ending, and I remember that I was super curious about “how the story goes…”. After a little rest from videogames during my High School years, I return into the videogame world when I started University and, suprisingly, I find myself able to organize my games with strategies and problem solving (infact, I love puzzle games combined with good stories, a genre that I was totally snobbing during my teenage years) and my gaming skills became more accurate. I like online games too, expecially cooperating with others during a single player campagn, and it feels great sometimes because it’s a thing that I’ve never experienced before PS3/PS4. Of course that it depends of which game you play, games like The Last of Us or Uncharted should be played in extreme silence IMHO, just like watching a movie at cinema. Anyway that’s an interesting study and I hope to work on something like that too… I want to be a social psychologist and I care about gamers and their way to play and interact with other players :) Bravo!

    Pia

  24. Come cambiano le abitudini dei videogiocatori nel corso degli anni? - Pokémon Millennium February 12, 2016 at 4:47 am - Reply

    […] che analizza tutto ciò che riguarda il mondo dei videogiochi e i videogiocatori, ha effettuato un sondaggio su oltre 140.000 videogiocatori per capire come le abitudini e l’interesse verso il lato vari nel corso degli anni. Stando a […]

  25. Yiktar Globovian February 12, 2016 at 5:03 am - Reply

    If you have observed retirees, they gravitate towards pastimes that reward patience, cunning, strategy, and guile.

    Check out the hobby of custom made target shooting guns. 99% are 65+.

    Face it as one gets into and beyond the 60’s your twitch skills go south, but your mind had years of experience and know how to exploit, so you use your strengths and avoid your weaknesses. So now I play WOW PVE which involves learning raid mechanics and knowing where to stand.

  26. Ravven February 12, 2016 at 5:32 am - Reply

    I’m 55 years old and started playing MMOs in Vanilla Wow in the first year of launch. Prior to that I played mainly multiplayer FPS games. The only way that I think my gaming habits have changed over the years is that I’m a bit less competitive and a bit less tolerant of bad behaviour and toxic communities. At one point I was heavily involved in progression raiding for about two years and now, although I miss the challenge and camaraderie, I no longer want a “second job” type of experience. I still log a lot of hours but play more casually.

  27. Rob Crowther February 12, 2016 at 5:59 am - Reply

    I’m 44, I started playing games in the late 70s on Binatone consoles and 8-bit computers, so online competitive play didn’t really exist for the first 20 years I spent gaming. I did get really into Counter Strike when I first got Windows back in the early 2000s but, while I did play online, it was the LAN parties that were the thing I really enjoyed. There is a big difference, to me, between playing competitively against complete strangers and playing competitively against people you know (or are at least present). I enjoy the latter far more than the former.

    As far as my tastes have changed, until a few years ago I would never have played a game for the story, these days most of the games I buy are ‘story rich’.

  28. osueboy February 12, 2016 at 9:53 am - Reply

    I don’t think my love for street fighter II/III/IV/V has diminished since the first time i played SFII in arcade when i was 8 years old. The times have changed… back then i would get home from school at … roughly 12:30 :13:00, eat something and go to the grocery store or anything with a SFII arcade and play till 21:00 when they literaly turned off the machine on me, tons of pvp, tons of real pvp when a bully didnt like how i grab it or my playstyle, that was the wild west, we grow up like that. Later came the console versions and honestly by the time 3rd strike came out i couldnt find an arcade to play it. The golden age had passed and then time passed untill it came out in ps3, then SFIV came out and honestly, the experience sucks, latency, you have not the same time to get better at combos… (combos are really insane now) and then you suck, which in turns makes you just play where you can beat someone with wits and not reflexes since you can barely play you dont have much practice… so life hits motivation because you know you would need to quit your job to play as you used to… but you cant quit because games are expensive.

  29. Study: Gamers Care Less for Competition as They Get Older | Digital Trends February 12, 2016 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    […] average game player in 2015 was 35 years old. Following up on this information, analytics firm Quantic Foundry released a report on “gamer motivations,” with insight into how players’ interest […]

  30. Weekly Roundup: On the Eve of Fear | The GameAgent Blog February 12, 2016 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    […] As Gamers Age, The Appeal of Competition Drops The Most. Strategy is The Most Age-Stable Motivation. (Quantic Foundry) […]

  31. Study analyses gaming tastes as we age | TRIFORCE STUDIO February 12, 2016 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    […] turns out at least one of those has some truth to it. Gaming analytics consultancy Quantic Foundry has released a study of over 140,000 'Gamer Motivation Profiles' to identify how our tastes in games change as […]

  32. New Gaming Habits Survey Finds Desire for Competitive Gaming Wanes as Gamers Grow Older February 12, 2016 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    […] Quantic Foundry […]

  33. Estudo mostra mudança no comportamento dos gamers conforme envelhecem February 13, 2016 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    […] se você também viu suas preferências e comportamento mudarem ao longo dos anos, um levantamento feito pela Quantic Foundry indica que isso é mais normal do que poderíamos […]

  34. OptiP February 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Does the study account that older gamers may have lower interests across games because the perceived quality dropped? Also, maybe the drop in competitive games comes from how competitive games were played in ye olden days compared to now.

    Now competition with/against strangers is practically forced upon you while in 90’s early 2000’s people had a lot more options in creating their own servers, server setups and more, to customize the game to their and friends’ liking. One commenter refers to the higher prevalence of LAN-parties. Games are essentially platforms for social interactions.

  35. Bear Shinn February 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    As a 32 year old gamer I love getting on XBOX LIVE with “Battlefield 4”. I used to play TBS-RPGs and FPS-RPGs as well as a lot of 3rd person adventure titles. I’ve always loved the “Fallout”, “Tomb Raider” and “Midnight Club” series. “Tomb Raider” and “Rise of the Tomb Raider” were both amazing!!! Fallout 4 is a blast, though I’d still like to see the hardcore mode from “Fallout: New Vegas” come back on Normal difficulty. Anyways, I used to get into a good Adventure or RPG for a few days straight. Now I generally tend to enjoy jumping into the chaos of “Battlefield 4” on a regular basis and the longer play-through titles tend to be fillers I may pick up here or there where I can. I love the open world titles with a scope and scale that easily makes them 50-100+ hour titles, but I really like to make “Battlefield 4” a regular part of my day for an hour or two. It’s nice to just be able to jump into a match and contribute to a bit of the epic player created chaos. I’ve noticed a lot of people on “Twitch.TV” that were variety streamers have also settled into titles and servers they’re regulars on. Anyone else in they’re mid thirties tend to play titles they can spend an hour or two in that they’d consider themselves regulars on???

  36. Omer February 15, 2016 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    26 year old gamer here and I’d like to say my drive for competition is already starting to die down. I’ve been SUPER SUPER competitive when I was 18-23 and it’s already starting to fade. I mean, top 0.5% in any game I took seriously or nothing at all. Top 50 in League of Legends ladder Season 2, Highest divisions in S3. Masters S4, etc. I played Heroes of Newerth, Starcraft 2 as well and was always super super competitive. I HAD to be top tier or I felt I was wasting my time. Nowadays I’m way more relaxed and play for fun. A few years makes a BIG difference. I’m still “good” but don’t have the drive to be TOP tier.

  37. Kyle Wadsworth February 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    As a 48 year old gamer I concur. I enjoyed online competitive MP for years as a fan of FPS, but my interest has waned whether due to less enjoyment of the genre, less opportunity to coordinate with friends or less tolerance for the stress of competitive MP. Instead I’ve gravitated toward the more casual, immersive and productive gameplay of RPGs, in particular open world titles with save anywhere features that are conducive to my more restrictive schedule. I actually prefer questing with companions, whether the AI or live variety, the latter via drop in/drop out co-op, though offline SP is still preferable to online competitive MP. My blogs (Shootist2600/Kyle Wadsworth at gameinformer.com) also chart my evolution as a gamer, via the games I’ve played.

  38. Chris February 18, 2016 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Would be very interesting to see how this lines up with any other studies into people’s motivational changes as they age. There are a few comments above that suggest that there’s a shift in what people enjoy as they age, even outside of gaming.
    Would also be interesting to control for gamers with and without children (and age of children). I know that this was the biggest driver in my change of gaming behavior. I can no longer spend an entire afternoon gaming online playing fps games, so my skill drops, so I don’t enjoy them so much, so I don’t play them so much. When my first child was just a baby I could get an hour or two in occasionally during the day, but as he got older, and didn’t sleep as much, that changed. Now my only time for playing games is after the kids are in bed, late in the evening, which obviously limits how much time I can spend while still being able to function the next day (knowing you’ll be woken up at 6am definitely cuts the appeal of gaming till 1am).

  39. Thomas February 20, 2016 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Im a 33 year old male gamer and Ive gotten MORE competitive with age. I played videogames religiously when I was 10 til about 15 years old when I discovered I loved chasing women and sneaking into the local park to drink Boone’s Farm and Mad Dog 20/20 a whole lot more than gaming. I gave up videogames until just after college. After college I found that going out every weekend or socializing all the time was becoming a chore and took up gaming as a way to have fun without leaving my house or spending ungodly amounts of money at the bar/club. Maybe its because I didnt experience my video game renaissance until my early 20’s that led me to become more of a competitive gamer in my mid to late 20’s and now early 30’s. I enjoy playing people younger than me and still being able to whoop some butt. Its the age old “Ill show these kids how its done” mind set we sometimes get into as we age. I like knowing I can still hold my own or better yet pwn gamers half my age.

    • Hsin Chih Wang February 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      Same here. I’m 30 and I still like playing competitive games. While playing the game “league of legends” I regularly find I’m going up against 16, 17 year olds and whooping their butts :).

      I think as people age they feel more pressure to conform to societal expectations, and I’ve never really felt that urge. I feel like I’m a better gamer than I was at 18, and until I see a significant, tangible decline in my hand-eye coordination and reaction time (not just what people tell me, etc “You’re over 30 you can’t beat an 18 year old!”), I’ll still be playing with a competitive mindset.

  40. Estudo mostra mudança no comportamento dos gamers conforme envelhecem - Tech February 21, 2016 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    […] se você também viu suas preferências e comportamento mudarem ao longo dos anos, um levantamento feito pela Quantic Foundry indica que isso é mais normal do que poderíamos […]

  41. Hsin Chih Wang February 24, 2016 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    As we get older (past our 20’s), I don’t think our innate desire for competition necessarily declines. What declines is the expectation of our general performance and ability in those games. Young men desire more competitive games because they expect to do well in games compared to the average, while women have been conditioned by society so that they naturally expect to be “worse” at games than the average.

    As men get older, they begin to believe that their own skills/reaction times/twitch gaming ability has declined, and thus they are more reluctant to play competitive games that put their skills up against others (because they expect to perform only average or worse than average).

    In a nutshell, if you believe you are good at something, you will naturally be more competitive at it. If you believe you suck at a certain activity, you will naturally be less enthusiastic about competing at that certain activity.

  42. Oleg February 28, 2016 at 8:21 am - Reply

    With age my taste changed, but more towards longer games side. Not online, but long singleplayer games. But i feel it’s not because of age but because of the amount of games aveliable – i had a few games when i was young so i just played what i had, but how with huge backlog that i have – i find gravitating towards long games or playing a series in succession, probably because it frees me from choosing what to play next for a longer period of time. There’s just too much games that i more or less equaly want to play – both old and new.

    I don’t play alot of comepetitive multiplayer nowadays, but i like hard singleplayer games like Dark Souls or some tourcher platformers and play every game on maximum difficulty. Mostly because there’s too much team-based games now. I like just straight deathmatch where i’m not expected to care about anyone but myself. These Free-for-All matches in Shootmania beta was extremely fun for me.

  43. Anth March 1, 2016 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Very interesting. I am curious to know if this study also analyzed ability vs age. Many competitive games require a higher level of dexterity/reflex to perform. As we get older we lose some of our ability. I think that’s why we see professional gamers in esports retiring by age 25. They physically cannot compete with the other often much younger players anymore. I wonder if there is any correlation to a decrease in ability to that of the actual desire to compete.

  44. The Best Of Levelcapped | Levelcapped April 1, 2016 at 11:07 am - Reply

    […] I wrote this. Nick Yee of Quantic Foundry has published some info on how age affects the kinds of games we […]

  45. Richard April 10, 2016 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Hi, I’m a 36 year old male gamer whose mostly played RPG’s but came out of the DOOM/Wolfenstein generation for shooters. This is an interesting study and I have a question for you about it, one that is particularly of interest to me. In your study and taking RPG’s into account which I still love, I am curious as to what age group in your study played the most diverse variety of games. I have never been that competitive in many games except when I was growing up and my mom and i would try to outscore each other on Tetris, on the NES of course. Considering the kind of work you did this is quite fascinating, so yes I’d love to find out what age group played the broadest variety of games, and it is interesting to know that the mid 30’s is now the average age of any gamer.

  46. دراسة كيف تتغير هواياتنا باللعب مع تقدمنا بالعمر؟ | سعودي جيمر April 18, 2016 at 4:56 am - Reply

    […] المصدر […]

  47. Study analyses gaming tastes as we age | Joy Stick Report April 18, 2016 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    […] out at least one of those has some truth to it. Gaming analytics consultancy Quantic Foundry has released a study of over 140,000 ‘Gamer Motivation Profiles’ to identify how our tastes in games change as we […]

  48. Cammy H May 3, 2016 at 5:40 am - Reply

    I just turned 35 and my taste in games hasn’t changed dramatically as I’ve aged, but I’ve probably always been considered a casual gamer. I used to love playing Tetris, old Atari games, Oregon Trail, Myst, SimCity and Ceasar III. As an adult I found the synergy with mobile gaming simply because of the portability and the games on mobile tend to be more for casual players. Current favorites are Clash Royale and Hearthstone. Also loved fallout shelter. The great thing about Clash Royale and HearthStone is that they are strategy based but still casual fun. You can play as short or long amount of time as you want and there’s no real penalty for not playing it every day. yet, every time you play you earn the satisfaction of honing your skills a little more. I also enjoy some casual three match/puzzle type games like candy crush Yo-Kai watch wibble wobble or 2048. Seems like my choices pretty much lined up with your study. I definitely enjoyed the article. Thanks for posting!

  49. What I read in April–Nicholas Lovell | GameInTheShell May 5, 2016 at 5:20 am - Reply

    […] Gamers Age, The Appeal of Competition Drops The Most. Strategy is The Most Age-Stable Motivation, Quantic Foundry: What is it that people like playing? In particular, it emphasises that players associate less with […]

  50. how to hack monster legends June 19, 2016 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Many technicians are extremely related to
    oodles of previous games.

  51. Why Pokemon Go became an instant phenomenon - Australian Startups July 19, 2016 at 10:22 am - Reply

    […] and share locations of creatures, engaging in deeply collaborative rather than competitive play. Not all gamers like fierce competition, so the collaborative aspects of the game broaden its […]

  52. Why Pokemon Go became an instant phenomenon - Bonjour- world news, hi-tech news, auto news, finance news, journal,... July 19, 2016 at 11:59 am - Reply

    […] and share locations of creatures, engaging in deeply collaborative rather than competitive play. Not all gamers like fierce competition, so the collaborative aspects of the game broaden its […]

  53. Is Pokémon GO an extremely fun game? | Marries van de Hoef July 20, 2016 at 10:44 am - Reply

    […] of the leader players. This is especially appealing to players below 30 years old (see for example this post, which aligns with other […]

  54. Why Pokemon Go became an instant phenomenon – Red Pepper Mergers July 22, 2016 at 3:04 am - Reply

    […] and share locations of creatures, engaging in deeply collaborative rather than competitive play. Not all gamers like fierce competition, so the collaborative aspects of the game broaden its […]

  55. louise August 14, 2016 at 7:36 am - Reply

    37 year old female gamer here. Grew up with ZX spectrum and played a whole host of different types of games. In my 20s I was mostly into horror, sci fi games and stealth games like Dino crisis,soul reaver, MGS, resident evil, tenchu stealth assasins, GTA. I fell in love with open world games and having more freedom and choice rather than linear story telling games. Now my desire for violence has dropped off as the graphics and realism has progressed and I don’t care for violence any more. I prefer games like Elder scrolls where I can choose my gender and set blood gore to low. I also like games like the sims and creative games like minecraft. For the casual game I still love playing tetris in a competitive way although I prefer vs computer.

  56. The Average Gamer: How the Demographics Have Shifted | Game Sparks August 19, 2016 at 6:53 am - Reply

    […] there hasn’t been much discourse on how people’s gaming habits change as they age. Some surveys suggest age is actually the biggest factor in different gaming tastes and motivations, especially […]

  57. Nick Yee: Player Motivation | Video Games As Learning Tools September 8, 2016 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    […] all ages and genders. High scores indicate people who are more motivated by competition. Source: Quantic Foundry, reprinted by […]

  58. Hiro September 15, 2016 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    The Brain is always looking for new stimulus at a sub conscious level. Imagine if you only had one game to play with for many years depending on the game mechanics and utilisation of creativity there is a limited amount of stimulus the Brain can get from that specific game. So gradually the game would get boring over time.
    When your young you are zombified into gaming because of the excitement of Brain stimulus you get from discovering so many genre of games mechanics. Your brain constantly tries to get more games to experience stimulus. Gradually over time you hit an age you become more AWARE of this when you get used to the same similar game mechanic stimulus. It becomes boring tedious and dull. ( CoD games, doom clones far cry clones , games that have same mechanics as original games etc etc) .Then you become more AWARE that you need Brain stimulus so your brain then targets specific types of games that give you as an individual stimulus ( Usually games that use high creativity, logic , a challenge, social multiplayer , something to gain like points, rankings etc etc ).
    At a subconscious level your Brain requires NEW stimulus or optimises with what’s available that gives stimulus. More FUN new games mechanics, compared to competitive play games ( same map, same game mechanics , less stimulation, less creativity) because people have less time to train for competitive play because of real world duties. When you get old your reactions and alertness are reduced but NOT by a significant amount ( ive found drinking coffee improves your competitive gaming performance). That’s all I have to say about this matter VR gaming coming yay!

  59. Bajer October 3, 2016 at 9:14 am - Reply

    My son is a University lecturer on Games Animation, so I know quite a lot about the industry and how building and gaming works etc as I’ve always been very much involved but seldom had time, to actually play games. Also I figure though that writing machine code back in the days of the Amiga, sort of qualifies me as having understanding about how gaming works. Due to on-going ill-health I’m now faced with long days (and nights too), so I went looking for PC games that would suit a 63 year old lady, who has problems with her co-ordination, (pressing lot’s of keys or controls is of no use to me) . Now I don’t want Brain exercise or Sudoku or any of the games for Seniors (I find them quite patronisingly slow)…At the moment I’m playing Child of Light and find it pretty boring. My Son is quite fed up of me trying out all his games Portal and Gears of War (whatever) and complaining that I can’t use the controller or press the keys so end up constantly dead. Osteoarthritis in your hands isn’t something you think about when you’re a young agile gamer, but honestly you will get there!! We are told to stimulate our brain and at 63 my brain is in need of keeping busy, so where are all the exciting games for us ‘little old ladies’?

  60. Richard Lee December 11, 2016 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Just my two cents worth input. I am a lonely gamer, at age 56 and still playing every night. Currently, playing Solid Metal Gear V. Both my sons in Uni are online PC gamer who love League of Legends or Overwatch while I am a console gamer and only prefer 3rd person with good story like, The Last of Us, Uncharted series, Tomb Raider, Witcher 3, Resident Evil series, Assassin’s Creed series, Masseffect series, Dragonage ans GOW. Tried COD but after awhile got dizzy. Love The Last of Us and managed to get my Platimum trophy. Can’t wait for Part 2 to release. Not highly competitive player but do like challenges. Was happy for PS3 free multiplayers games but upset with PS4 that need subscription to play online. Thinking of moving over to PC. I do like to play co-op but can’t find any of my peers play video games. I do feel lonely because I couldn’t share my gaming experience with my friends who don’t play video games.

  61. Kevin December 18, 2016 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    As a strategist, I know I will never stop playing video-games, card games, ect. They just hit a certain spot in me where the analytical part of my brain just loves it.

  62. Rob January 15, 2017 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Just ran across this. Very informative. I’m a 41 year old male,been playing console&arcade,PC(like chess,Oregon Trail lol,not anything for 20years) games since like 82. I’m a Gemini so I like a variety of gaming styles just like everything in life has variety…I still play games like Battlefield 1,solo long RPGish like Skyrim/Fallout/FF. I’ve bought every Madden for 26 or so years. I’ll play an old school side scroller. I’m playing This War of Mine right now so I like small Indie games. I love games like Final Fantasy tactics. Where are those games btw? Long lovely stories where I control the action like Mass Effect…Some games grow old after like 15hours(Mafia3) or are time warpers like Oblivion where I wasted weeks of my life lol

  63. Marc January 28, 2017 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    43 years old and I’m still in Battlefield 1, World of Tanks, World of Warships, Warthunder not to mention Miscreated and DayZ.

  64. 98Sheri February 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    I must say you have high quality posts here. Your page should go viral.
    You need initial traffic only. How to get it? Search for;
    Etorofer’s strategies

  65. 79Jami May 30, 2017 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I must say you have very interesting posts here. Your website can go viral.
    You need initial traffic only. How to get it? Search for: Miftolo’s tools go viral

  66. www.Giantladder.co June 11, 2017 at 2:11 am - Reply

    Hi there would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this
    blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a
    good internet hosting provider at a reasonable price?

    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

Leave A Comment