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30.3.08

"One of the fastest-growing gaming markets are senior citizens. In 1999, only 9% of people over 50 played video games, in contrast to 24% in 2007."


image pinched from the kaiser edition, via Activision's COD4



I read this in a post today and it got me asking some questions:

Firstly, since when are over 50s 'senior citizens'?

Secondly, are these stats really surprising? Video games have now been a major element of pop culture since the early 80s. Hell, I used to go down to the fish'n'chip shop to buy my dad's cigarettes (with a note of course), and with the change i was allowed to buy myself a Chock Wedge and a game on the sit-down Space Invaders, but it would always be taken up by the older boys. Those older boys would be at least 45 by now, so it's hardly a stretch to think that there'd be a whole bunch of over 50-55 year olds who would play video games. Hell, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cave, Nick Hornby, Dan Castellenata (aka Homer Simpson), Daniel Day Lewis, Dawn French and Stephen Fry are all 50-51 and I could certainly imagine at least 2 of those hip'n'groovy cultural coolsters playing video games. Steve Jobs is supposedly a 'senior citizen' - surely he's a gamer from way back!

Plus, considering that this age bracket is also from the height of the baby boom, there are probably 24% more 'senior citizens' doing everything at the moment, just because there are 24% more of them!


I find it amazing that statistics like these continue to be used for market and cultural 'sensations'. Like there's a marketing glut in this new-found demographic. In fact, I find it quite weird that we continue to be shocked by the influence of pop culture at all. Surely that's the essence of it - that everyone is into it?

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4 Comments:

At 30 March, 2008 11:02, Blogger Stan Lee said...

Great post Lauren.

I remember the days when my sister and I used to pop down the corner shop to get a pack of cigs for my mum.

I'm still a few years off 50, but I'm definitely on the downhill run towards it, so your point about baby boomers playing games 'n stuff is spot on I reckon.

 
At 30 March, 2008 23:58, Blogger Cynical Rob said...

Good point Lauren - I think the Senior Citizen 'tag' is given more by other people than those 50+ - probably because we all seek to validate our own relevance at the expense of others.

My Mum is 75 and while she thinks she's old, she would never refer to herself as a Senior Citizen or OAP because it indicates [to her at least] her time is over, her relevance is out-of-whack and that is both [1] not the case and [2] not something anyone really wants.

In a similar - yet slightly different - perspective, I always find it funny that people who say 'Forty is the new thirty' are 40 year olds, you never get someone younger saying that do you?

It's all about making ourselves feel better and more relevant by either refocusing our situation or picking fault with another.

Sad - but we've all been doing it in some way or other for years.

 
At 02 April, 2008 12:37, Anonymous Jeff said...

Isn't it about being able to identify the best marketing channels for your product ?

If you know who's likely to buy it - you know where to sell it.

And re. 40 being the new 30 - 30 year olds WOULDN'T say it, would they ? They don't know what it's like to be 40.

 
At 02 April, 2008 13:07, Blogger lauren said...

tom, you're banned. now that you're a senior citizen, you're not allowed to have a blog, or visit other blogs. you have to sit at home all day and play computer games. i'm sure you don't have enough money to do otherwise anyway.

and i think its the 30-somethings that decide that 40 is the new 30 'cos we don't have to ever face getting old :)

 

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