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Games for the 50+: Benefits Include Socialization, Activity
Posted By Bob Stephen On April 8, 2013 @ 12:06 pm In Notebook | Comments Disabled
At a conference last year, several of us at AARP had the chance to hear about the ways in which the 50-plus and those not quite 50 find benefits in playing online multiplayer games. There are several parts of that last statement that tend to elicit pushback from others – first, many believe online multiplayer video games are played by teens or young millennial men. Second, the idea of a multiplayer video game may elicit images of violent games which in the mind of some do not have value . It turns out that data on gaming plus a soon-to-be released study show both of these assumptions are wrong.
Two associate professors in the Department of Communication  at Trinity University  in San Antonio, Aaron Delwiche  and Jennifer Jacobs Henderson , who is also the department chair, recently completed a study where they obtained information from over 32,000 users of the free online multiplayer game Wizard101 . The users ranged in age from 5 to 95 years old. As far as studies go, that makes it one of the largest gaming studies ever. They chose Wizard101 because of its large subscriber base  and its recognition in the industry for being nonviolent with an emphasis on problem-solving and collaboration. The game is intended for tweens, but its makers have made sure that controls are appropriate for everyone and that content is relevant to people of all ages. Unlike word games, this and similar games provide an online environment where players can interact with each other.
Online multiplayer games (referred to as MMORPGs – Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) are increasingly popular with people of all ages. While Wizard101 and the similar Pirate101  have appeal across generation, there are also games available for younger and older audiences. ToonTown Online  and Star Wars: Clone War Adventures  are appropriate for playing with younger family and friends and World of Warcraft , Star Wars: The Old Republic , and Lord of the Rings Online  are three popular games more appropriate for those in their teens or older.
From working at AARP, we know that the 50-plus (and Gen Xers) do play v ideo game s  and tend to play longer than younger players. (Hey, many of us were the original gamers with Pong.) Major findings from the study include:
While past studies have talked to who’s playing and for how long, the last four bullets above represent new insights.
View the entire Games for the 50+ series:
Bob Stephen is AARP’s Vice President for Home and Family. In this role he works on issues such as caregiving, intergenerational families, livable communities and technology across the organization. He connects with family and friends through online gaming.
Image Courtesy of: Kingsisle 
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URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/04/08/bob-stephen-games-help-isolation/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Blog1-Picture.jpg
 mind of some do not have value: http://www.medgadget.com/2008/08/studies_show_benefits_of_video_game_playing.html
 Get Your Brain in Shape!: http://brain.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-CONT-BHQ-REL-BL
 Department of Communication: http://web.trinity.edu/x5172.xml
 Trinity University: http://web.trinity.edu/
 Aaron Delwiche: http://www.trinity.edu/departments/public_relations/trinity_people/aaron_delwiche.htm
 Jennifer Jacobs Henderson: http://web.trinity.edu/x8206.xml
 Wizard101: https://www.wizard101.com/
 large subscriber base: http://onforb.es/NOU1Gf
 Pirate101: https://www.pirate101.com/
 ToonTown Online: http://toontown.go.com/
 Star Wars: Clone War Adventures: https://www.clonewarsadventures.com/index.action
 World of Warcraft: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/
 Star Wars: The Old Republic: http://www.swtor.com/
 Lord of the Rings Online: http://www.lotro.com
 the 50-plus (and Gen Xers) do play v: http://www.joystiq.com/2011/06/08/esa-2011-essential-facts-note-rise-in-women-adult-gamers/
 Caregivers: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/02/13/sally-abrahms-study-shows-caregivers-may-slow-dementia/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL
 isolation: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/27/risk-factors-of-elderly-isolation-social-isolation-may-speed-up-death/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL
 Games for the 50+: A New Outlet for Mentoring: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/05/13/bob-stephen-online-games-assist-in-mentoring/
 Games for the 50+: Games Provide Family Caregivers With Time to Recharge: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/05/06/bob-stephen-caregivers-benefit-from-online-games/
 Games for the 50+: Grandparents & Grandchildren Find Adventures, Memories: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/04/23/games-for-the-50-grandparents-grandchildren-friendly-video-games/
 Games for the 50+: Strengthening Friendships: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/04/15/bob-stephen-boomers-meeting-friends-through-gaming/
 Games for the 50+: Benefits Include Socialization, Activity : http://blog.aarp.org/2013/04/08/bob-stephen-games-help-isolation/
 Kingsisle: http://www.kingsisle.com
 Brain Fitness: Four Strategies to Keep Your Wits with Aging: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/06/brain-fitness-four-strategies-to-keep-your-wits-with-aging/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL
 Valerie Harper’s Rare Brain Cancer: What Caused It?: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/06/valerie-harpers-rare-brain-cancer-what-caused-it/?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS
 Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM
 AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP
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