One of the most-watched statistics when it comes to esports is its demographics. While the viewers and revenue of the industry are growing, the shifting demographics appear to be less prosperous. Males between the ages of 21 and 35 make up the majority of those interested in esports. This stands to reason as these figures were similar for gaming some years ago. But how can esports appeal to a broader demographic – the older audience?
Seniors Only Esports Center Opens
Summer 2020 saw Japan launch its first-ever seniors only esports center. The ISR Esports in Kobe opened as both a learning center and a gaming hub for those over 60 years old. Not only are older people able to play esports, but first they can learn the basics. Video games have been proven to help with issues of memory and concentration, as well as being a good social activity.
Moreover, as esports has been dubbed one of the industries that will dominate in years to come, it makes sense that it is accessible as possible. The appetite for players shows that while esports demographics may skew younger, this isn’t due to a lack of interest. The industry should therefore focus on ways to improve the accessibility for those less likely to be engaged with esports already. Removing these barriers will help audiences become more diverse.
Esports Should Copy Other Digital Dominators
One key area for the esports industry in broadening its audiences is to follow in the footsteps of other industries who have done the same thing. Bingo, for instance, had a challenge when it moved online to attract older audiences who liked the game but were less familiar with being online. Equally, they had to also consider appealing to a younger audience who were looking for something new to do online.
By harnessing the benefits of being online while keeping the game essence the same, the industry was able to thrive. For example, there are no wagering requirements for welcome bonuses that many sites offer, and it’s clear that the growth in the industry is proof of its prosperity. The offers are designed to appeal to new players and be competitive for those who are already active players. So it is possible that something can be tailored to appeal to older and younger demographics simultaneously.
Improving the Industry’s Legitimacy
One of the other barriers for new people engaging with esports is that it is still viewed negatively in some circles. However, the commitment by the industry to be taken seriously has paid off. Sports stars have been involved in tournaments, as have other celebrities such as One Direction’s Liam Payne and Sir Chris Hoy.
Moreover, ESPN features a section on their website dedicated to esports. This will help those who are sports traditionalists to warm to the idea that competitive gaming is as legitimate a sport as competitive hockey, football, or soccer. Those who are less likely to already be convinced of this authenticity are likely to skew older, so these measures could help bring in a wider range of fans.
Getting different kinds of people into esports doesn’t just enrich their lives by showing them a completely new past time they may become enamored with. It also enriches the industry as more viewers will lead to more sponsors, advertisers, and more tournaments. Gaming managed to break its gender gap, so there’s no reason esports can’t fill in its age gap.