The data we’ve collected from over 239,000 gamers via the Gamer Motivation Profile allows us to explore how gaming motivations do and do not change with gender and age with incredible detail. Back when we had a sample size of around 140,000, we blogged about the Competition and Strategy motivations. With the larger sample size, we have much better precision especially for older gamers, and we’re going to revisit and do a deep dive into the Competition motivation.

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1) The Appeal of Competition Declines The Most with Age

Across the 12 motivations in our model, the appeal of Competition declines the most with age. In our framework, Competition is the appeal of competing with other players, whether in duels, matches, or team-vs-team scenarios.

Competition Graph

Though the curves are not strictly linear, the correlation coefficients provide a sense of the effect size. For male gamers, the correlation coefficient is r=-.30, and for female gamers it’s r=-.19.

2) The Decline in Competition is Most Rapid Between Ages 13 and 35

Instead of decreasing gradually or linearly with age, the decline in the appeal of Competition drops the most between ages 13 and 35. After age 35, this decline slows down before hitting a trough. Women hit this trough much earlier than the men, by about 15 years. At age 35, we see the women entering the trough, but the men don’t level out till around age 50. That’s right around when the gender difference in Competition largely disappears.

After age 35, this decline slows down before hitting a trough.

What the graph shows is that in terms of designing for Competition, there is a surprisingly large and similar gamer cohort of both genders between ages 40 and 60 compared with any other point before age 40.

3) The Gender Gap Peaks at Age 22

Let’s now focus on the gap between the two lines, and plot out the difference year by year. While the gender gap may appear stable before age 35, this isn’t actually the case. As the graph below shows, the gender gap doesn’t peak until age 22.

Gender Gap Graph

Given that the gender gap closes with age, the most natural narrative would have been that the gender gap is largest among the youngest gamers. So why isn’t this the case? Let’s dig deeper.

4) The Sharpest Drop in Competition Is Among Female Gamers Aged 13-20

We can look at the gender difference in another way. We can calculate the slo