The Average Age of a "Gamer" Just Dropped by Seven Years. Um, What?

As video gaming has become more popular, thanks to platforms like Facebook and mobile phones, the industry (and passionate fans) took a lot of pride in seeing the average age of a "gamer" climb out of the teens, into the 20s and then the 30s.

So it's a bit weird, then, to see that the average age of a gamer in the United States has suddenly dropped from 37 to 30. In just one year. That's an age the industry hadn't seen since 2005.

What gives? Did a whole generation of Wii Sports-addicted pensioners suddenly kick the bucket? Was the year 2005 a bumper crop for newborn babies, who are only now reaching for a Nintendo handheld?

Sadly, it's nothing that dramatic (or morbid). Seems the Entertainment Software Association, who track such things on an annual basis, decided to change up their methodology, expanding a range of questions that used to be based only on consoles and PCs to include newer platforms like the iPhone.

The result is that a whole bunch of kids and younger humans who weren't originally being included in the data now show up, dragging the age down. It's good news for stat lovers, as it's obviously more accurate data, but bad news for those who took some sense of pride from seeing the average age be somewhere clearly in "adult" territory, rather than "should be adult but really isn't".

Oh, and if you're wondering what kind of criteria you had to hit to be considered a "gamer", it was basically anyone who played any of the listed devices for an hour or longer a week.

How gaming's demographics reverted to 2005 [Ars Technica]