Gaming and the Elderly: Will Today's Gamers Close the Gap?

Dennis Faas's picture

Can the video game industry break the technology-created age barrier? Although nothing is certain at the moment, Microsoft has made attempts to do so.

In conjunction with game maker Electronic Arts, Microsoft brought a day of gaming to a pensioners' settlement in Finland. This specific venue was a prime choice, since Finland is home to the most rapidly aging population in Western Europe.

The motive behind this day of electronic recreation was to gauge interest in gaming among pensioners. For the seniors, however, playing video games was merely a way to strengthen relationships with their grandchildren. Pensioner Kaija Ekstam happily stated that "My grandkids play these games so, it will be nice to join them." (Source:

I terms of research, the gaming day revealed that the seniors' interest in playing video games will increase as long as they are introduced to these electronics with enough information.

The elderly often resists electronic games because they are unaware of how to use them. "The aim was to create an atmosphere for people to try [the video games] out with experts' help. We first expected people to stay home, but about 70 people paid a visit here during the first hour," project head Pekka Roni confirmed. (Source:

Therefore, exposing seniors to the unfamiliar renders positive results. Even though they are no longer school-aged, learning is still welcomed among the elderly. For this reason, those barriers that deter the older generation from embracing technological advances, such as email and gaming, are collapsing. Pekka Roni validates this fact by saying that "seniors only need initial orientation into the world of electronic entertainment." (Source:

In the end, the opinions of the seniors parallel those of the researchers. Kaija Ekstam believes that "If you roughly know how a computer mouse works, there should be no problem." (Source:

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