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More Women 55+ Than Men Are Playing Games As Market Looks For Growth

The Australian games industry has doubled in size during the past six years according the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, IGEA, however retailers are reporting a slowdown in demand in 2023 across both PC and console gaming and gaming accessories, despite some of the biggest gamers being women who in the over 55 market outperform men.

In 2022 the total market was valued at $4.21 billion dollars; mobile revenue came in at $1.56 billion which was one of the biggest contributors with the bulk of the sales from downloads.

in August 2023, the IGEA released the results of its Australia Plays study in partnership with Bond University. This study of 1,219 Australian households, including 414 parents, explored the demographics of game players in the nation, showing that 81% of Australians play video games (up from 67% the year before).

According to the study, 9.4 million Australian households (94%) have at least one device that is used to play video games by at least one member of the home, up from 92%, with 76% being home to two or more.

Consoles were the most popular devices, with 81% of households reporting they used these to play games, followed by smartphones at 70%. 59% play on PC, 43% on tablet, while 6% use dedicated games handhelds, and just 5% have a VR headset.

According to Game Industry Biz, Data group Newzoo tracked a slight decline for the global games market in 2022, the IGEA reported in June 2023 that the total market value for Australia actually grew by 5% to AU$4.21 billion ($2.67 billion).

Retailers who are witnessing lower sales appear to be backing the Newzoo data.

The market also saw impressive digital revenues of AU$1.5 billion, this included AU$499 million from full game purchases and AU$750 million ($475.6 million) from in-game transactions.

While the IGEA did not release a specific figure, it also reported revenues from subscriptions were up 55% last year.

For retailers the revenue came from the release of new consoles and handheld gaming machines from Nintendo, Microsoft Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation all three consoles delivered A$607M in sales for retailers, who have lost the bulk of software sales with the exception of EB Games who are doing a good trade in Nintendo software which appears to younger audiences.

In the IGEA report, Sparkers’ regional manager for Asia Pacific Aidan Sakiris wrote: “The Australian video game market thrived in 2022, driven by a diverse range of new software releases and improved hardware availability compared to the year prior. The retail software market experienced a healthy growth of 10% in value spend, but the significant takeaway was the increase in overall spending in 2022 compared to 2021, attributed to a substantial portion of software sales being driven by new releases rather than the more typical back catalogue titles.”

“Australians love to play video games; they use them for entertainment, to have fun, to relax and connect with friends and family.”

IGEA CEO Ron Curry added: “It’s great to see consistent performance of sales across games channels. Australia’s traditional games retailers continue to perform well… Bricks-and-mortar retailers continue to play an important role in game distribution and are a strong indicator of the industry’s stability.

In the IGEA’s year-end report from December 2022, the trade body reported that the amount of revenue generated by Australia-developed games had leapt by 26%, reaching almost AU$285 million.

IGEA also claims that 48% of all Australian players are women, up from 46% percent the year before, with the IGEA and Bond University reporting that “more women and girls are playing [games] than ever before.” In fact, over the age of 55, more women play video games than men.

84% of people between the ages of 18 and 64 play video games, representing 69% of all of Australia’s players. The average age of players is 35 years with an average playtime of 90 minutes per day (81 minutes for women, 97 for men).

This isn’t just the result of the pandemic boost either; the average Australian gamers has been playing video games for 11 years or more.

75% of respondents said they play games with others, with 91% of 414 parents saying they play with their children. 95% of parents also confirmed they implement some form of rules and restrictions in how their children play, such as time limits and whether they can play online.

TV remains the preferred entertainment medium across all Australian households, but video games were ranked in joint second with music, movies, social media, and YouTube.

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