Video games are Millennials too

Kyle Orland, Ars Technica:

A 16-year-old who was sinking all their free time into Diablo II when it launched in 2000 is pushing 40 these days. That means the core, nostalgic audience for the series is now very likely to have a career, family, and/or other responsibilities eating into their playtime. There’s nothing like a few decades of aging to make the prospect of sinking hundreds of hours into a loot grind seem less appealing.

I was 15 years old when Diablo II released. I’m pushing 40 these days. What is true of Diablo’s grind is true of video games in general.

As a teenager, I would dream of playing video games all day. The desire propelled my career ambitions. If I could make enough money to buy any game whenever I wanted, I had made it. (This motivation still lingers…) But it’s in the past five or so years that I’ve had to face the reality that time is scarce. Free time: Scarcer. I’ll spare you a write-up on the increased thoughts of mortality that sink in after you have a child, but that’s part of it too. Choosing what you do with your ever-decreasing free time becomes paramount.

And while decreased leisure time is not a new phenomenon, decreased time for video games is. Video games were a construct of the ‘50s–‘70s, but they did not become ubiquitous until the ‘80s. Add 10 to 20 years to that for the first player base, and you get people now in their late 50s/early 60s who grew up with games. But it’s likely the Millennials in their 30s and 40s who have the most profound attachment to the medium as they grew up alongside it. Video games are Millennials too.

The fact that we have yet to uncover the full spectrum of age demographics that are native to gaming is exciting but continues to throw wrenches in business models. As people age, how they choose to spend their time changes. In a few decades, we’ll understand how to meet every age demographic and their native technological culture where they are, with wider varieties of gaming genres and experiences. Until then, expect the old way of doing things to die on the vine.