Game on for older Australians

New research shows older people were the largest group of new computer and video game players in the past six years.

Forty-three per cent of over 65s now play video and computer games.

And far from being a waste of time, as some people believe, the Bond University and the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) report Digital Australia 2018 showed that games can be beneficial.

The researchers studied 1,234 Australian households and 3,135 individuals, showing eight out of 10 people believed playing games could improve their thinking skills and dexterity, while 59 per cent said video games could help manage pain.

Ninety per cent of the over 65s surveyed reported they played to increase mental stimulation, 80 per cent believed video games helped fight dementia, and 54 per cent agreed playing games could help increase mobility.

Bond University’s Professor Jeff Brand, lead author of the report, said while the percentage of Australians who played video games remained relatively steady (67 per cent), we’re also playing to achieve an advantage.

“The fun continues through interactive games, but the research shows that games increasingly serve other uses,” Prof. Brand said.

“Australians are playing to improve their health and for positive ageing. They’re using games in the workplace and at school.”

Other key findings of the Digital Australia Report 2018 included:

The average Australian consumed games just like other entertainment media – 89 minutes is the average daily total of all game play. The modern face of gaming – The average player age has increased by a year to 34. Forty-three per cent of Australians aged 65 and over played video games, and females accounted for 46 per cent of all players. Games are up there with the kitchen sink in family households – 97 per cent of Australian households with children stated they had video game devices, eight out of 10 owned multiple game devices.

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