RPG Evolution: When Gamers Retire

Adults gamers are always pining for more time to play. What happens when they retire?

pensioners-3347948_1280.jpg

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

Retirement Is Coming​

We've discussed previously how difficult it is for tabletop game designers to retire. But for the bulk of gamers who play as a hobby, retirement is a new stage of life that changes gaming opportunities.

The 76 million boomer generation in the U.S. have already retired of course, so they're finding out just what it means to be retired gamers. But the next generation of Gen X (my generation) is right behind them at 55 million in the U.S. alone, entering their 50s now with retirement looming large. The Millennials (62 million strong in the U.S.) are an even larger cohort. More important, people are living longer, with adults in their 60s having a roughly 50 percent chance of reaching 90. For many, they have around 20 years before their minds enter decline.

All this adds up to more retirees and more potential gamers.

What You Do in Retirement​

Being able to retire at all is a privilege. Not everyone can afford to do it, and the social safety nets in many countries have withered over time. But for those that can, retirement is a new phase in life, as lifestyles shift from working to what happens after the workforce.

Unfortunately, there are few guideposts as what retirees are supposed to do with their free time (besides keep working). Many turn to community efforts, giving back in some way. Still others pursue their hobbies -- the image of retirees golfing exists for good reason. So what do gamers do when they retire?

Game of course. Or they would, assuming they still want to.

Do You Want to Play a Game?​

Retirement often comes with adult children and grandchildren who put demands on the retirees time. And giving back to the community is a powerful pull, finding meaning in sharing experience with others. For those who can afford it, many seniors travel too.

But with the potential for a very large senior gamer cohort, the possibility of large groups of gamers finding each other over the Internet and playing more often is a real possibility. One of the players in my group is about to retire, and we're looking forward to her being able to play into the evening without worrying about going to work the next day.

We know that tabletop gaming is good for you: it establishes lifelong friendships through share experience, it helps players work through their emotions and frustrations, and--critically for retirees--it stimulates the mind. Many retirees try to keep busy to keep their minds sharp, and gaming requires full use of mental faculties.

Will we play RPGs after we retire with our newfound free time? If DndGrandma is any indication, most of us certainly will be.

Your Turn: Do you play with retirees? Do you plan to game when you are one?
 
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Well, if their parents are rich boomers anyway.

I have a feeling a bunch of the rest of Gen X and younger (and their parents) will find out that the Medicare that kicks in for folks at age 65 doesn't pay the $8,000 a month for a long-term semi-private nursing home room. And similarly doesn't pay for long term at home care. That's Medicaid kicking in after they've burned through all of their money and assets (some set aside for a married spouse to keep living at home). There is even a claw-back if they tried to give the money away in something like the previous 5 years.
Yep. Caregivers (nursing homes, medical service providers, retirement communities, etc.) are keenly aware of how this works and have planned accordingly. As more and more people retire, the demand (and therefore, the cost) for these services will increase to meet them. Like any other business, they have yearly projections, they have target demographics, they have research teams and marketing departments. They know how many people in a given city are due to retire, and when, and how much they will have to spend, and for how long. And they intend to capitalize on them.
 
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Thomas Shey

Legend
This is, of course, very much the elephant in the room; whether a lot of these people will even have anything resembling what we think of as retirement.
 



aramis erak

Legend
At the risk of being macabre, there will be a very real risk at care homes of characters outliving their players!
I expect to see a lot more sharing the rent like we did in college... multiple "families" of two adults in a 4 to 8 bedroom dwelling ...

Which, BTW, isn't that far from several universities' married student without children housing situations...

Here in Corvallis, many rental listings are for a single bedroom in a 3 or 4 bedroom unit.... not just for students, either.
 

I retired in my late 50s just as the local gaming community imploded, and figured that hobby was gone. Less than a year later I discovered online gaming. For a while I gamed twice a week, but I've since cut back to one weekly session. I have too many hobbies to GM more than that.

Time and money aren't an issue anymore, but I find that competing demands for my time have increased. I GM a weekly game, read, watch movies (I've just discovered the massive library of outstanding short films on YouTube), shoot, write, play Fallout 76 daily, have a huge backlog on Steam (am currently playing BG3), exercise, maintain my house and property, and keep up with my wife's chore list. I'm branching out into cooking more, too.

So every time I turn around, I find something else to do.

My financial state is substantially better than when I was working; expenses are significantly lower, while my pension is inflation-adjusted, and my alternate income streams are doing well. I haven't bothered with Social Security yet.
 
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Thomas Shey

Legend
I've already written an article and it's in the queue on this very topic. Not surprisingly it was the logical follow-up to the retirement article, so I'm just following the path you all did.

I'm just very conscious of it because, besides the two I was referring to above, I lost two long-time players/GMs who I hadn't played with recently (one because of distance and his health (Scott Bennie) and one because of the pandemic (Steve Perrin). The prior two were just particularly painful because one had replaced the other one in the same campaign. I pretty much dropped the campaign at that point; it felt accursed.
 

talien

Community Supporter
I'm just very conscious of it because, besides the two I was referring to above, I lost two long-time players/GMs who I hadn't played with recently (one because of distance and his health (Scott Bennie) and one because of the pandemic (Steve Perrin). The prior two were just particularly painful because one had replaced the other one in the same campaign. I pretty much dropped the campaign at that point; it felt accursed.
I am so sorry for your loss. I feel you: https://www.enworld.org/threads/rpg-evolution-take-care-of-your-players.675828/
 

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