In newly released data from a PopCap customer survey, casual gamers over age 50 cited physical and cognitive health benefits as primary reasons for playing games.
PopCap, provider of best-selling casual titles like Bejeweled! and Zuma for the PC and other platforms, randomly surveyed more than 2,191 visitors to its games website during a ten-day period last August. Nearly half of the participants were discovered to be over age 50, and their responses indicated that their casual gaming was motivated by more than just entertainment.
In fact, only 16 percent of survey respondents over age 50 listed "entertainment" as their single most important reason for playing casual games. Instead, they chose "stress relief/relaxation" and "mental workout" as their primary motivators. In addition, 86 percent of respondents over 50 said they believed that playing casual games offered them physical and/or mental health benefits.
Of these benefits, the group chose "cognitive exercise" (74 percent), "memory strengthening" (62 percent), and "distraction from chronic pain/fatigue" (32 percent) as positive effects they experienced from playing. Nearly one in ten subjects said they derived actual pain relief from casual games. Younger respondents noted similar benefits, but in reduced percentages.
Earlier data from the same survey was announced by PopCap last September, though it did not include the newly released figures for respondents over the age of 50.
PopCap is currently extending its products into the Japanese market, where casual titles like Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day for the Nintendo DS have been received with great enthusiasm by Japanese gamers in the same demographic.