YearBelgians over 60 201023.4% 202027.0% 203030.7% 204032.1% 205032.3% of the female Belgian population between 13 and 19 years played games in 2010 of the male Belgian population between 13 and 19 years played games in 2010
(e.g. Basak et al., 2008; Goldstein et al., 1997 ; Miller, 2005; Whitcomb, 1990) Improvement in reaction time Improvement in perception and motor skills Improvement in memory and divided attention Improving social interaction Develop new friendships Therapeutic applications Diagnostic tool Eager to learn more about computers Positive attitude towards digital games Emotional wellbeing Enjoyment
Lijst studies (Matrixgewijs) en vervolgens kadertje met resultaten. (e.g. Ijsselsteijn et al., 2007; Gamberini et al., 2006; Van Gils et al., 2008; Neufeldt, 2009)
Lijst studies (Matrixgewijs) en vervolgens kadertje met resultaten. Qualitative; Semi-structured interviews; n = 12; ages 50-76 Quantitative; Internet survey; n = 96; ages 50 - 66 Qualitative; Online discussions & interviews; n = 22 Qualitative; Focus groups; n = 10; aged 65+ Qualitative; Contextual Inquiries; n = 4; aged 65+ Qualitative; Interviews; n = 5 (50 – 73) PC Gamers Driven by challenge and fantasyDriven by relaxation and diversion Avid & experienced fansLittle knowledge about gamer culture Low social acceptance Community-oriented online playersSolitary offline players Contextual factors influence gameplay
Call for participants on Gameonderzoek.be (my site). Global announcement on the forums of Arena 51 and 9lives.be (i.e. the most popular Flemish sites that are oriented towards gamers). Global announcement on the forums of Seniorennet.be, Seniornet Flanders, en Seniornet.be (i.e. the most popular Flemish sites that are oriented towards older adults). Page-wide interview in two national newspapers (Het Nieuwsblad and Het Volk) and an smaller article in another national newspaper (De Standaard) with an announcement. Interviews in EOS and Plus Magazine with an announcement. Distributed the announcement through the network of the “Vlaams O.O.K.”, a platform of organisations aimed at older adults.
Quantitative internet survey (n = 239; ages 45+) – To find out if we could find enough older players in Flanders for a qualitative study. – To obtain ‘benchmark’ data with regards to the older audience of digital games. – To select information-rich cases for the qualitative study and to ensure that the qualitative study includes the maximum variety. Qualitative interview study (n = 35; aged 50 - 70) – Analysis using Grounded Theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), as described by Fred Wester (e.g. Wester & Peters, 2004). – Suitable to construct a conceptual framework through constant comparison using descriptive, qualitative data (which is the goal of the main project).
Meanings related to the time expenditure of older adults. Meanings related to the social context of older adults. Meanings related to the content preferences of older adults. Meanings related to continuity and change during the lifespan of older adults.
Cooperation – Combining the reaction time of a grandchild with the knowledge of a grandparent. – Vicarious play; a form of collocated play in which one player is playing a game, while the other is participating mentally without actively using game controls. Competition – Competition was not a common motive for play. – Seperated competition with the partner through high scores on the same system. – Younger respondents played competitive (and co- operative) multiplayer with their adolescent children.
Many female respondents request help from their sons to play games. In-game assistance – Sons help their mother or grandmother to get beyond a difficult part of the game. Godelieve (68): “I played Tomb Raider, but I didn’t dare to go into the water because that would surely cause her to drown. I couldn’t stand that, so I forced my son to play those sections.” Technical assistance – Sons help their parents with their PC-related questions. Henri (66): “Whenever I can’t get it to work, my son will help me. But I’ll give it a try if he can’t come fast enough, so I have learned a lot myself as well.” Bernadette (62): “My son used to help me, but he has grown tired of it and now I’m forced to do it myself. I often manage to do it myself, but some things are just too difficult.” Sons assisted their fathers with advise on future purchases.
Both age groups and both genders used digital games within this strategy. Collocated – Handheld consoles (the classic Nintendo Gameboy) – PC positioned closely to the television set Contact with partner Keeping an eye on the television while playing casual games Separate – PC in a different room to avoid distraction from the television screen – PC in a different room due to their constant VoIP chatter
Avid players of games like Chess, Bridge, Scrabble, Rummikub, etc. – No longer needing to relocate themselves for competitions. – Playing in the comfort of their own home. – It is often cheaper than being a member of a real-life club. – More control over possible distractions. – Find a human playing partner in minutes, or play the computer. – They often still play the non-digital version as well because a substantial part of the social interaction is lost on PC.
A way to meet new people – Seeking companionship Some respondents were often alone and sought companionship through digital gameplay. The game provides a topic for conversation. – Seeking good games Some respondents had formed meaningful long-term in-game relationships by joining a clan. – Online social interaction occassionaly lead to real-life meetings. A way to stay in touch with people Preference for solitary play – Difficult to find a suitable playing partner. – The (casual) games I like to do not have a multiplayer version. – On-going in-game conversations distract me from play. – Online communication is a poor alternative to face-to-face communication.
Games are played in English, which is not the mother tongue of our respondents. – Good at English => Positive evaluation “Fun, an opportunity to hone my skills. (Yves, 69)” – Bad at English => Negative “They (i.e. the chat room users of Pogo) force me to writeEnglish, because that’s the only language they know. My English is not good, but I know Dutch, German and French as well. But still they mock me. (Myrian, 56)” – VoIP is only used with people who speak dutch as well. Hardcore players among our sample had become affleunt at the internet-variant of English. – Respondents used words such as “lol”, “pwnage”, n00bs”, “frags” and “hax0r”. – It gave them a sense of being an insider, although they associated the term “gamer” with younger players. – Casual players disliked internet grammar and felt that it was bad for young players.
Criteria – Time – A suitable playing partner is online whenever I’m online. – Age – Age is not important, but being able to have a good conversation is important. – Gender – Gender is not important, as long as a common interest can be found. – Skills – A suitable playing partner has a comparable skill set. – Interests – Shared interests are an important step towards good conversations. – Fair play – A suitable playing partner does not cheat, and can deal with a loss. – Language – A suitable playing partner speaks the our preferred language. Our respondents had a very tough time finding suitable playing partners. For hardcore players, clans (e.g. TheOlderGamers [TOG]) for older players provide the best way to find suitable playing partners. – Clans also help them to teach younger ill-mannered players a lesson by defeating them.
Many respondents are careful that their gaming does not lead to conflicts with their partner. – “I’m allowed to play 2 hours each day and that’s it. But that’s fine by me. There’s more to life than playing games. (Didier, 66)” – My wife isn’t interested in the games. She’ll take a look and she loves how I play with my son. And I keep my gaming under control. I don’t play day and night, that’s for younger people. I tend to play 2 or 3 hours when I play. Most of the time I play when my work is done, or when I have a day off. And I make sure that the lawn has been mowed. (Jack, 50)” Even after retirement, games can be too time-absorbing (and cause sleep deprivation). – “There was a time, at the beginning, that I played from 18:00 until 2:00. But that’s behind me now. I still love to play games, but I’m not their slave. And that used to be different. While I was playing I kept thinking how I had to do this, and that, and that as well, and so on. Now I just think… Tomorrow, there’s another day and I’m always in bed around 24:00 (Godelieve, 68)”.
Many respondents felt insecure about how their playing would be perceived by their peers. Casual players had less issues with this than hardcore players. – Some of them felt that hardcore games were for children. – “I never had a Playstation or a joystick or something like that. The children had one but I’m not interested in it. (Luc, 57)” Hardcore players had various responses ready for their peers: – Careful respondents: “I do not talk about it and if I would attempt to, then I would be very careful and make some general remarks about it first. (Francis, 71)” – Their loss: “He who does not become like these children will not enter the kingdom of God. (Bernadette, 62)” “If it would play soccer at my age then nobody would be surprised and when I tell someone that I play games I’m a weirdo? That’s just silly. (Jacques, 50)” “It’s more fun and less of a burden on one’s life than going to the pub every night. (François, 55)” “It’s educational and a very useful way to spend one’s time. (Rene, 63)”
Design for Vicarious Play Offer time management tools Support their mother tongue Highscores are very popular and motivating Balance the playing field Allow players to disable the in-game chat and other distractions Cooperation is preferred over competition Help them to find the right playing partner
These recommendations are supported by the previous studies – Pearce (2008) and Nap et al. (2009) also found a preference for vicarious play among thier respondents. – Nap et al. (2009) discussed issues with poor language support, and underlined the value of high scores. – Vanden Abeele et al. (2008) indicated the importance of balancing games towards older age groups. – …. How unique are these recommendations for this age group? Some players felt that games were very meaningful, others felt that it was a meaningless activity or attributed negative meanings to digital gameplay. – These changes were reflected their playing behavior. – Future research should look into these differences.
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