The second part of our exploration of the adult gamer phenomenon and the specifics of this underappreciated demographic focuses on the Fortnite Over Forty (FOF) community, an online group connecting like-minded adults with the aim of playing the blockbuster battle royale title with people who have similar life experiences.
Part 1 of our analysis of the adult gamer demographic is available here.
The power of community
We’ve touched on the idea of adult gamers’ interest in playing with members of the same demographic group in the previous part of this discussion, but it’s worth highlighting again as it’s often in fact the main reason for some of these individuals to stay involved with video games.
“My close Fortnite friends are all streamers and I met them all through the FOF group. We bounce ideas off each other and collaborate as often as possible. It’s been a fun journey: the way they helped the most in my passion for streaming is by providing overall support in the form of tips, tricks and suggestions as well as positive reinforcement.”– Rachel (Troll-Doll)
Just like with many other aspects of gaming, the pandemic has also accelerated the growth of this particular group, going from around 100 initial members to over 1 400 globally at the time of writing.
“I joined FOF in October 2020 during the middle of COVID-19 lockdown and met some wonderful people. It was a way of connecting with people during isolation. Now I would call some of these people some good friends. It has evolved into something important to me, my spirit, and it provides a sense of community.”– Carrissa (CagsterRN)
This was also true in the case of members who have already been gamers long before joining Fortnite Over Forty.
“FOF has connected me to a community of like-minded individuals, people with families and careers who share my passion for video games. Furthermore, it has connected me to a group of people that enjoy highly competitive gameplay. “– Kaiju_xx
The reasons behind hobby streaming as an adult
Livestreaming your gameplay experience is a particular niche of the gaming world and it’s safe to say the demographic stereotypes hold even firmer related to this scene. However, as members of the FOF group show, older gamers also have an interest in showcasing their skills and entertaining others in the process, even if mostly on a hobby basis.
“I homeschool from around 10am until 12pm, then I do some chores around the house and work on my Etsy shop. I start up OBS and get ready to stream around 2pm. I’ll also sometimes take time to post on my socials, just to let everyone know I’m still alive.”– Daphne (WildOrkid)
This isn’t to say only those working from home are involved in this activity:
I wake up at 6:30 in the morning and usually get back to the house around 6pm. I eat dinner and then put my little girl to sleep. I usually start my stream at 9:00 pm and stay online until midnight.– Kaiju_xx
Multiple members of the group have voiced caveats about livestreaming as a potential full-time occupation.
“While I have brought in some income, I usually spend this on the kids. They giggle at “Mom’s paying!”. They have even had their friends drop by the stream and give a follow. I’d love to be a full-time streamer, but I’ve got a lot to grow with the game skill-wise to garner a large enough following.”– Carrissa (CagsterRN)
“It’s important to keep in mind that unless a streamer is at least a partner, making a full-time income is extremely difficult. The percentages taken from streaming services are quite high. My dream is for streaming to be my main and only source of income. I’m treating this as a trial run with Twitch. If I’m not able to reach certain goals by September, I may need to rethink my plan. My goal is to make it to Twitch partner for 2021. This would mean that I’m averaging 75 viewers, and I believe that’s an amazing accomplishment. It’s only uphill from there.”– Daphne (WildOrkid)
Thoughts on Fortnite and the industry
Some of the members of the Fortnite Over Forty group are actively following the esports scene and the world of competitive gaming as well as the wider streaming scene. Here are some of their thoughts.
“I would think that [esports orgs] would be missing a huge business opportunity if [they didn’t sign strong adult players]. The amount of capital invested into the gaming community by older gamers is huge and could mean high revenue for the esports org that made that investment.”- Kaiju_xx
“[Twitch] has become a very saturated market, and the only way to really get noticed is to stand out. Engagement with chat is extremely important. Invest in good equipment: I currently broadcast from a two-year-old laptop, and had I done my research, I most certainly would have invested in a better machine. Splurge a little on that amazing PC that can handle streaming and gaming: you don’t want to have to deal with technical issues while building a community.”– Daphne (WildOrkid)
“I don’t like the trend of “hot tub” streams and such, but unfortunately, that seems to be the trend to get viewers – or what certain female streamers feel they need to buy into in order to get viewers. I feel this trend is very degrading to women and facilitates a culture of discrimination. I realize this isn’t the platform for this, but I feel it is something that impacts women gamers over the age of 40 for sure.”– Rachel (Troll-Doll)
Summarizing the adult gaming phenomenon
Though many in the industry still think that video games mainly attract the 16-24 male demographic, data and anecdotal evidence alike suggests this hasn’t been the case for a long time, not even in the world of mainstream gaming. Adult gamers prefer each others’ company and are attracted to groups built around this concept. They offer a very different marketing and branding opportunity in the scene regarding revenues and interests alike. Members of communities like Fortnite Over Forty are also interested in the more “hardcore” aspects of the gaming scene like esports and livestreaming, which provides further opportunities for enterprising brands.
Additional reporting by Aashir Ahmed