Preteen Gamers: Attitudes and Habits of the Newest Generation of Gamers


Children growing up in 2019 have more access to games than any generation that came before them. The smartphone in their pocket or the one borrowed from their parents is the only thing today’s young gamers need to play many of the world’s top games. Combined with the surging free-to-play business model, this widespread ease of access has led to the largest influx of new players the games industry has ever seen. It is essential for all makers to understand preteen gamers since their preferences will impact the games industry for years to come.

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Findings in the market brief include:

  • Many preteens are introduced to gaming through mobile devices. Many children rely on borrowing a parent’s smartphone, which can limit how often they can play

  • Consoles are still hugely popular among preteens 10-12 years old. Roughly 3 in 4 (76%) gamers in this age group play on consoles like the PlayStation 4.

  • The interaction with games doesn’t end when preteens put down the controller, it carries over into the media they consume. Roughly 4 in 5 (78%) 10-12-year-olds watch online videos about games on sites like YouTube and Twitch.

  • Purchasing game content is often frustrating for preteens and confusing for parents. Preteen gamers typically receive money to spend on games through store gift cards or cash. However, cash is not convenient since game content purchases are usually digital transactions.