There has been a lot of debate about adult gaming and its effects lately. Some people have claimed that it can make people lazy. Others claim that it will boost your productivity and make you more sociable.
Some adult gamers even feel guilty or ashamed for their choice of entertainment, causing them to shy away from announcing their true passion.
All of this can make it hard for people to understand the truth about adult gamers and adult gaming.
As an adult gamer myself, I wanted to take this opportunity to clear up some misconceptions and help shed some light on the benefits that gaming regularly can provide for adults.
But most importantly, I want to show adult gamers that there’s nothing wrong with being an adult gamer. In fact, I would argue that gaming as an adult is a far better activity than watching TV.
Adult Gamer Stereotypes
Adult gamers get mislabelled as being lazy, immature or just plain “weird”. There’s this idea floating around that gaming is meant for children, but this is simply not true.
First off, who do you think makes video games? Children? Adult gamers are making video games so it’s no surprise that adults would want to partake in the pleasure and joy of gaming.
And gaming is far from a lazy activity. It requires a ton of critical thinking, communication and focus.
Most adults spend their free time during the week watching TV. Sure, there’s a bunch that engage in physical activity, but just because you’re an adult gamer doesn’t meant you’re not active.
Gaming is a great way to unwind, take a break, and engage in a more playful activity. With so much of life being so serious for adults, gaming is a fantastic opportunity to do something purely for the sake of doing it.
And to shed some legitimacy onto adult gaming for those who may be unaware, people are obtaining scholarships for gaming and attending college or university playing on a varsity esports team.
Unique Challeneges for Adult Gamers
Adult gaming comes with its own unique challenges. Gone are the days where you could stay home sick from school and put 10-12 hours into the new game that just came out.
Sure, you could call in sick to work, but unless you live alone, it’s still unlikely you’ll have the ability to game all day.
Adult gamers have different kinds of responsibilities and priorities in their life. If they have a family, they want to make sure they spend quality time with them. If they have a career, they’ll want to prioritize that for many different reasons.
This is a big reason why you don’t see many professional adult gamers. There’s misinformation out there around reaction times dramatically decreasing after the age of 30 and that’s why you don’t see many adults on professional gaming teams.
The reality is that adult gamers just don’t have the time available to them to dedicate becoming a professional gamer. Many esports get patched and updated frequently which requires the gamer to be on a constant treadmill of learning and adapting.
And I know from personal experience that I can’t be in a serious match or game when on night time baby watch. There’s no way I can dedicate multiple hours in a row completely uninterrupted!
Adult Gamers Can Enter An Immersive World
There are many, many gamers in the world (approximately 2.4 billion worldwide) and a lot of people, adult gamers included, watch esports regularly.
One of the best parts of gaming is the ability to enter a new world. In many cases, gaming is more immersive than other forms of entertainment, like books or movies.
This can be the perfect way for you as an adult to leave your world and its challenges behind for a bit of time.
For many people, adult gamers included, this can bring a great sense of joy. When you want to take a break from stress, you’ll be able to escape to a video game, either by yourself or with a team.
This can help people relax. It can also help you connect with the story, experiencing it on a more emotional level. As new technologies, like virtual reality, are being invented gamers can become even more invested in the worlds that they create.
As a result, gaming is rising in popularity, entertaining people all around the globe.
If you’re unfamiliar with esports and competitive gaming, then check out this video for a quick glimpse into the world of esports. Many of the competitors can be considered adult gamers, but their usually on the younger side.
And while the gamers are typically on the younger side, all those behind the scene, like casters, team managers and coaches, are often adult gamers themselves.
This makes esports and gaming a booming industry and viable career option.
Adult Gaming Can Improve Mental Functioning
For a long time, gamers have been accused of being lazy and unintelligent. However, the more we learn about gaming, the more obvious it’s becoming that these claims are unfounded.
In fact, routinely playing video games might actually have a positive impact on your mental functioning. There are plenty of ways that this can occur and plenty of benefits of gaming.
First, it’s been shown that gaming can help improve your hand-eye coordination. While I’m playing, I need to pay attention to the things that are happening on the screen.
And this isn’t anecdotal, Professor Ingo Froböse’s research on esports athletes found that the needed hand-eye coordination went far beyond that required for table tennis.
At the right, split-second moments, I need to hit the button(s) on the keyboard in conjunction with the mouse. The harder the game, the more important hand-eye coordination becomes.
I like to think of it as “chess on steroids”. Gaming, especially competitive gaming, requires players to take in mass amounts of information of a consistent period of time and constantly make split-second decisions.
Secondly, exploring the worlds of a video game can be a great way to improve spatial awareness skills.
The more I explore the map, the more I get used to the positioning of certain landmarks, using them to guide my way.
Another key benefit is the ability to improve memory. Many gaming worlds are rich with details. This can be information on the races or a series of spells that you need to remember.
Remembering these details is key if you want to progress through the game. For more popular franchises, there will be lore. These can be books or movies, based on the world of the game.
Remembering the storylines from these materials can add more emotional depth to the game, helping you create a better experience when playing.
Interestingly, the more time you spend playing, the more you will be able to hone these skills. This means that each trip into the world of the game can deliver distinct benefits. Increased mental functioning can be seen in all aspects of your life.
I’ve found that the skills I’ve learned through video games have made me more productive at work.
In fact, I still have a perfect driving record, which I give some credit to gaming, which has increased my “meta” awareness, always trying to think what other drivers are thinking (ok, maybe this is a bit of a stretch).
Video Games Can Relieve Stress for Adults
Another misconception that gamers often face is that violent video games can transfer to real-life violence. As someone who regularly enjoys action games, which can sometimes include violent elements, I know that this isn’t true.
In reality, gaming might be able to have the opposite effect, allowing you to improve your mental health.
Many people love to disappear into the world of video games. The experience of playing with their friends and family can reduce the amount of stress that they experience.
By finding an outlet for these feelings, they can release the tension that they are feeling. This can lead to an improvement in their mental health. It’s been shown that a build-up of stress can lead to depression and anxiety.
By getting these feelings out through a video game, players can lead a more balanced life. Because of this, some therapists might prescribe video games to help their clients.
There’s also a great book on this topic by the name of ‘Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games Is Wrong‘. In the book, the authors argue, based on research, how video games—even the bloodiest—can have a positive impact on everything from social skills to stress, and may even make us more morally sensitive.
Click to view on Amazon
Adult Gaming Can Improve Communication Skills
Many skills can be learned through a video game world. I feel that one of the most important is the ability to communicate effectively with others. In almost every game, there is some element of communication.
For example, you might need to understand the mission that a character is trying to send you on. In multiplayer games, you’ll need to talk to your teammates, come up with a strategy, and work together to complete the mission.
If you can’t communicate you won’t get any enjoyment from the game and will end up annoying your teammates.
Also, many games will require you to plan ahead. In some cases, only one approach will be able to let you achieve the end goal. If this is the case, you’ll need to talk to everyone, to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Like many other skills, the more often you practice your communication skills through gaming, the better they will become. I’ve found that communication skills have had many real-world benefits.
For example, these skills have helped me to craft this post, communicating some of the positives of the gaming world. In other cases, these skills have helped me to advance my career.
Improved Self-Control For Adult Gamers
There are many games that I’ve played that seemed designed to test my patience. Whether it’s needing to wait for an item to be crafted, or planning the perfect time for an attack, it’s essential to have plenty of self-control.
Learning the ability to wait until the right opportunity presents itself often won’t be the most enjoyable experience. But it is a valuable life skill to learn.
In games, as in life, you can’t get everything that you want right away. But, if you’re willing to wait, you’ll reap the rewards.
Adult Gaming and Problem Solving Skills
When adults game, they’ll be facing and dealing with a whole myriad of problems. You’ll need to how to deal with them and overcome them.
I’ve found that this often means that I’ll need to think outside the box to come up with a solution. And this isn’t a once or twice kind of deal, it’s constant.
There are some games that focus on this element more extensively, like strategy games. However, across all genres, I’ve always found myself challenged and need to come up with innovative solutions.
Video Games Can Be Addictive for Adult Gamers
While there are plenty of benefits that being an adult gamer can deliver, there are a few cons to consider.
A common complaint is gaming causing issues with sleeping. Gaming right before bed can negatively impact some adult gamers and their ability to fall asleep or stay asleep.
If you can’t fall asleep after gaming you may want to consider using a blue light app for your monitor, like f.lux.
If that doesn’t help then you can either try increasing you acitivty throughout the day to make your body more tired and more demanding of sleep or you’ll have go a bit more extreme and cut off your gaming an hour or so before bed time.
One of the biggest is how addictive being in this fantasy world can be or trying to improve your rank in the game you’re playing.
I’ve found myself struggling to put away the mouse and keyboard a few times, especially when a much anticipated game is released.
This can sometimes mean my gaming sessions got a bit longer than expected. But, like many adult gamers, I’ve found little difficulty balancing my priorities with my hobbies like gaming.
If you do find yourself, as an adult gamer struggling with video game addiction, it can help to set an alarm on your phone. This is the amount of time that you want to play for.
When the alarm goes off, you turn it off, no matter what stage you’re at. While it will take a lot of practice, this can help get your gaming habits under control.
If this seems like something you won’t adhere to, you may want to try installing an app that time restricts your gaming.
But if you suspect you’re losing a sense of control over your gaming as an adult, and the pleasure gaming brings and the escape from daily life it offers, you may want to consider finding professional help or taking more drastic measures.
Here’s a great video from a Harvard Psychiatrist who specializes in video game addiction and spends a lot of time working with gamers and adult gamers.
Research on Adult Gamers
I came across a great study while doing research for this post. It’s a data analysis on adult gamers, and it found some interesting information.
First, there’s a range of factors that relate to who plays video games, and these include:
- being a student
- being a parent
- being employed
- political ideology
I found it interesting that the study found there was no clear relationship with gender, highest level of education and job type.
But what I found most interesting was that older gamers, or adult gamers, contained the most females, while younger gamers are much more likely to be male.
The 7 Types of Adult Gamers
During the research for this post I also came across a hilarious yet factual list of the 7 different types of adult gamers. You can check out this full list on Gamer Solace.
Here are the 7 types of adult gamers according to Gamer Solace:
- The “I Know what I like” Adult Gamer
- The “Just a Shooter for me” Adult Gamer
- The “Connoisseur” Adult Gamer
- The “Online-Only” Adult Gamer
- The “They’re all installed but I don’t have time for them” Adult gamer
- The “Mobile-Only” Adult Gamer
- The “Games are a waste of time” Adult Gamer
I can, with complete confidence, identify with #5. Once I got into online gaming anything offline felt like I was missing a critical element. Plus, it’s so satisfying knowing the player you just eliminated is a real person banging their desk!
And I can also safely say I know at least one adult gamer from each of these seven adult gamers.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea about the realities of adult gaming. While this hobby can sometimes get a bad name, I think that the benefits outweigh the cons.
I’ve learned a ton of great skills by playing games. So, if you want to experience some of these benefits for yourself, don’t be afraid to pick up a controller and get involved.
Oh, and don’t believe I’m a real adult game? During quarantine I tried out some live streaming on my Youtube channel, check out one of the highlights.: