How baby boomers are shaping the gaming segment

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / PixelsEffect
Getty Images / PixelsEffect

Related tags eSports gaming Cognitive function Memory Brain health Baby boomer healthy aging

Esports players retire extremely young compared to traditional athletes. But for older generations who missed the gaming craze, it’s game on.

While video games are typically associated with younger generations, older gamers make up a significant portion of the industry’s consumers. 

Data from esports analyst firm NewZoo has found that 42% of baby boomers are gamers. That’s according to its gamer consumer insights research, which also found that gaming takes up 10% of entertainment leisure time for baby boomers, and that 53% of baby boomer gamers are women — the highest share of any generation.

NewZoo’s Generations Report​, which looked at over 72,000 people aged 10-65 spanning across 33 markets, “Gaming isn’t just for younger generations. While Gen Z and Millennials are much more likely to spend their free time on gaming than any other form of entertainment, there is a growing number of older consumers (re)engaging with games.”

The report found that older players are more driven by casual reasons to play, such as relaxing and unwinding. Therefore, they prefer single-player experiences because multiplayer games tend to be more competitive than relaxing. But there is also another reason for seniors to get in the game. 

Gaming as therapy

According to research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, some forms of cognitive stimulation may slow down the onset of degenerative neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Other research​ found that a combination of playing a specially-designed video game and regular telemedicine visits can help people who suffered a stroke recover function in their affected limbs just as well as traditional physical therapy.

Now in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, boomers are using the fast pace and complex controls in gaming to improve manual dexterity and to get a mental workout in.

NewZoo found that 14% of baby boomers prefer to play using a handheld controller, 27% like a PC and 34% prefer to play on their mobile. However, as technology gets more sophisticated, so do the boomers.

Virtual reality is quickly becoming more commonplace at home and in the senior center market as experts recognize VR’s potential for physical therapy and  address a variety of mental health challenges.

These interactive programs involve patients wearing headsets, using handheld controllers, and eye tracking, allowing therapists to track progress in realtime. 

Supplementation for senior gamers 

Whether it is to have a fun way to pass time, keep the mind or hand/eye coordination sharp, or have companionship from an online community, gaming for seniors is on the rise. According to a 2019 AARP survey, roughly 51 million seniors were active gamers,”​ explained Sara Zoet, Senior Expert, Global Communications, OmniActive. Zoet said because seniors are already a high-risk population to suffer from age-related vision impairment, having clinically-studied eye health and sleep solutions presents a major opportunity for the brand to provide supplements like lutein and zeaxanthin isomers to older gamers. 

“The good news is that multiple studies have shown that the macular carotenoids—lutein, RR-zeaxanthin and RS (meso)-zeaxanthin—play an important role in the prevention of age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration,” ​said Zoet. “The macular carotenoids’ primary role in the body is to protect against oxidative stress and are also thought to play a structural role in the eye. However, most people fall below beneficial dietary intake levels and since these carotenoids cannot be synthesized by the body, supplementation with a clinically relevant dose has been an important facet of maintaining healthy vision for a lifetime." 

Shane Gierhart, Senior Director of Ecommerce, EyePromise, added that being proactive with health can help gamers stay ahead of the curve. “Like any other organ in your body, the eyes need certain nutrients to function optimally. While proper nutrition is key to overall health and eye health, including vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and beta carotene, it’s lutein and high amounts of zeaxanthin that have been proven to help keep your eyes healthy and improve visual performance.”  

With its line of eye health supplements designed to combat vision problems, EyePromise also advocates for carotenoids.

“Dietary zeaxanthin and lutein are critical antioxidants that help protect central vision, relieve the symptoms of screen time, and improve visual performance. While both zeaxanthin and lutein are found in foods such as eggs, leafy greens and berries, the standard American diet does not provide the necessary amounts of lutein and especially to protect and improve vision. (You’d have to eat about 50 ears of corn to achieve this.) EyePromise Screen Shield Pro contains the highest amount of these critical antioxidants to help bridge the dietary gap. It is also the only eye vitamin on the market to have the patented amounts to achieve this,”​ said Gierhart. 

Baby boomers top list of supplement users in US

According to market research​ from Glanbia Nutritionals, boomers are the most frequent users of supplements globally. The brand surveyed consumers between the ages of 55 and 70 in the US, UK and China and found that seniors are more concerned about healthy aging than their parents’ generation, and are also the most proactive about health.

Glanbia surveyed consumers to determine the top health benefits and found that eye health ranked 2nd for US consumers, just behind brain/cognitive health. 

The report concluded that baby boomers make up a massive and powerful consumer segment and that this demographic is mentally sharp, internet savvy and make their own decisions, so marketing messages that target them directly are more effective than those directed at caregivers.

Upcoming esports webinar

Please join us on April 28 for the panel Maximizing esports success: Meeting gamer demand,​ featuring experts Jason Chung, Executive Director of Esports at the University of New Haven, Holden MacRae, PhD, Co- Founder, Chief Science Officer, Technology, Research & Data at FITGMR and Joshua Schall, CPG industry strategist at J. Schall Consulting.

For more information and to register for this FREE webinar, please click here.

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