The reasoning that I will present now serves several areas of creation, but here we focus specifically on games and how different ages affect this age-old activity.
As humans, we feel that we're different from all animals, and in fact we are unique: each person is a unique individual (which does not mean that we have nothing in common), and has differences, but mostly has similarities with others. Generally speaking, in order to generate a product, we separate people into groups, which can be different: football players, social class, location, and mother tongue, among others. There is no official means of separating these groups, but two variables are very dominant in the market, and I'll get one of them in this post:
0-3 years: Newborns / Babies - This group does not have much value for most game developers, as this audience has several limitations related to the area of games, including coordination, sound discrimination, power of speech, movement and choice.
4-5 years: Preschool - This age is already gaining interest in games, almost always presented by their parents, since they have the power to adjust the rules of the game, and select what is appropriate for their children. Here is an outline of parents and children playing together.
6-9 Years: Children - Known as the "age of reason" (this age is decreasing with succeeding generations, as children are becoming smarter). Children this age usually are attending school, able to read, think, solve problems and interact socially with other people more easily. Usually these children feel very motivated to interact with games, and get to choose what they like or dislike; it is no longer the parents who give them what they want.
10-13: Pre-Adolescence - This is a new age bracket, as marketers have begun to recognize this group something between "children" and "teenagers". Pre-adolescents can already think more deeply. There is a lot of brain development at this point, which leads to the name "age gap" due to several discoveries about yourself and your personality. Thus pre-teens begin to become passionate about their interests and it is very common to find matches between part of the public, especially the male.
14-18: Adolescence - At this point a gigantic difference between boys and girls develops, with all the self-discovery, boys begin to forward or deepen in competitions in feelings of domination while girls focus on real world issues, precision in describing feelings and communication becomes very strong. These changes make these young people want to try new things, and some of these might come through games.
19-24: Young Adults - Here now is the first stage of adult life. This marks an important transition, which is distinguished by factors like "serious life", "family", "money", and "independence", thus placing different occupations and other concerns for the "adult." Thus, adults in general play less, but are also an audience who know well what they like or not, and have money to spend on their personal pleasures, making possible large consumers .
25-34: New Adults - Now 24-hour-a-day gaming is no longer frequent, as time is shorter, and minutes become more precious. Here there are many casual gamers with really expensive and powerful devices in their pockets, playing and spending money on their games, but also working hard with responsibilities related to family, occasionally showing their games to children, nephews and others. Even within this range there is a large number of people who play as their primary hobby, so are great influencers. They also know what they like, but do not change their minds easily and convince many of their vision.
35-59: Old Adults - Here are adults with advanced careers, already have children some years ago and are more stable with their lives, and have responsibility and experience but less ability to learn new technologies. It is very common at this age to seek casual games, or those that allow interaction with the entire family and exchange their experiences, even mixing ages (wife 40, son 8, son 16, daughter 23).
60+: Advanced Age - This age is beginning to subdivide given the increased length of life, but for now we will face more than 50 as a single division that provides gigantic free time and some difficulty moving and with complex interactions . Here the children have left home, we live in retirement. Related to games, some nostalgia pulls us back to playing what gave pleasure in younger days, while others seek certain changes. These people have little social contact and tend to seek it to feel better. It is very common to seek people of the same age for championship golf, tennis, bridge, cards and even something broader, forgetting one's age and entering a virtual world like a massively multiplayer online game (MMO).
Sure, there are several ways to divide groups by age, but this is my division, based on what I read, experienced and learned from studies books, business and graduate school. Not the right vision, it does not exist yet, but it's something that can be based to explore and develop their game.
It is interesting to see that youth groups are separated by physical and mental development, while older separation is the availability of time and social character.
And to conclude it is good to remember that games are fun activities and can strike all ages, and you can quote different people who fall in other subdivisions, that is completely natural, and should not be defensive to feel generalized or to generalize others . But the most important question you raise is a very strong sense of all childhood, so in order to truly communicate with these people in a playful manner, you must speak the language spoken in childhood.
Photos - Google Images, weheartit and Scirra
The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses
English Translation by RandomExile