Gamer Burnout

It’s a phase that most if not all gamers go through and based on the fact that according to statistics, the average gamer is a 35 year old, the chances are that those who read this article have experienced Gamer Burnout at least once.

Gamer Burnout is the term I’m using to describe that time when you load up a game, any game, and you just feel bored. Your desire to actually play it has gone, so you stop and stare at the rest of your collection looking for inspiration for something else to play but, horror of all horrors, nothing catches your eye. The thought suddenly enters your head, “Am I too old for games?”. When you hear this thought the chances are that you are hearing it in the voice of you partner, parents or non game playing friends, who at one point in time will have questioned your hobby and suggested that you will eventually grow up. So are you too old for games? (of course not!)

Usually there will be a trigger that shakes you out of Gamer Burnout but it will be different for each person. Whether it lasts a few hours, days, weeks or longer, during Gamer Burnout there are many phases that you will go through but everyone will experience them in a different order and some not at all.

Been there, done that: Every game you read about or try to play just feels like its a recycled idea that you’ve played before. You tut and shake your head at the lack of originality and you don’t see the point in experiencing the same old set piece again. The anticipation to look out for that one unique twist is simply not there, you just feel like you’ve seen it all.

The Great sell-off: Not only are you bored of games but you feel like you should sell your collection and the consoles you play them on. Sure, if you are now too old for games, why should you keep them collecting dust?

Just cancel it!: You systematically work through any games you have on pre-order and cancel them. Similarly, any magazines or online game websites that you subscribe to are usually cancelled too.

Denial: You start to pay less attention to Twitter and gaming feeds that you watch regularly. You may even un-follow people who tweet about games or people in the gaming industry. Less temptation to be pulled back into the hobby that has sucked so many unrecoverable hours from your life. (but who are you trying to convince?)

Social circle shift: You make an effort to socialise with all those people who turn their noses up at games. They could be family members, colleagues at work or just friends who think games are just for kids and are a waste of time. You may even take it further and do you best to work it into the conversation about how bored you are with gaming and that you’re too old for it.

Surfing Habits: Your force a change in your internet surfing habits, possibly even deleting those gaming websites from your bookmarks. Real world news websites that you generally skipped over before start to look more appealing. That local community newsletter might even get read before being put straight in the trash.

Disposable free time: With all your spare time that’s now available you question why you wasted so much time pushing pixels around a screen. At least once a day you just sit back and think about all the free time you now have. How will you fill your day?

It’s All Child’s Play: If you reach this stage then you are dangerously close to the point of no return. When you see someone else playing a game, you look at them with mild disgust. They are playing games that only kids should play, or are they?

This is by no means an exhaustive list but, fellow gamers I’m sure most of you can relate to at least one of the phases. I’ve tried to pinpoint the cause for gamer Burnout but it seems to affect everyone at different stages. Age milestones seemed to be common, turning 30 often raises the question of being too old. Having a gaming backlog that is huge also appears to be part of the problem.

Each time I’ve experienced Gamer Burnout it’s been for a different length of time. It may last a few days, it could last weeks, but each and every time something pulls me back to gaming goodness. It could be a trailer before a film or on TV during a commercial break. It may simply be a poster, or maybe overhearing someone else describing their last play session, but sure enough I come back from the wilderness and jump full on, back into game playing. The game that pulls you back is usually then treasured for all time as it has that special something that you like.

My questions to you today are:

How long did you experience Game Burnout for and can you relate to any phases mentioned in this article?

Which game pulled you back in?

Leave a comment below to let the guys here at Platform Nation and your fellow readers know about the time you thought you had outgrown games, and also about the game that brought you back to the fold.

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  • I’m actually in the middle of an abnormally long burnout right now. I still enjoy reading and writing about industry happenings, but for the life of me, I can’t bring myself to put in more than an hour on the 360. League of Legends is still fun for me, which is odd, since I’ve never been a PC man, but that’s about it.

    I’ll be getting Dragon Age: Origins pretty soon, so hopefully that’ll be just the ticket to bring me out of my funk. Oblivion is still a treasured experience for me, so hopefully Origins can do some good.

    • Schobeleth

      Not to flame you, but I honestly think it’s because you’re playing on the 360. Do you own a PS3, or have tasted any of the insanely awesome exclusives it offers? I’ve been overwhelmed lately at all the exclusive stuff coming the way of dark machine. There is too many games coming out for the PS3!

  • I go through short spells where I just am not interested in what I have. I can play several games I haven’t yet beaten, but each time I load up, I either default to a mind-numbing CoD4 multiplayer match, or putz around on an old arcade game.

    Whenever I feel like I’m about to lose grip, though, I just load up Rock Band and let the fun of games come back to me. Playing online for some reason is just enjoyable, and it never fails to get me back into the swing of things.

    Speaking of which..

  • stringa93

    I’ve just had a GREAT sell off. Got rid of about 30 PS2 games and 10 PS3 games, with more to go. On the positive side, i’ve been doing unusually high amounts of socialising!

  • Whatisup

    I currently feel as though every game I play is boring, no matter how innovative, I felt this way during my playthrough with GoW 3 :S I’ll have another playthrough, don’t worry, so what I did was I bought a game in a genre I’ve never played this gen… I bough street fighter 4 or 20! Gonna burn some time, it feels fresh!

  • Whatisup

    I’d like to point out my observation about gamer burnout. I think I occurs from too much gaming, taking a 2 week break and not thinking about any gaming is what I will try after my go with street fighter 4.

  • mezanninetrojan

    my ps3 YLOD days ago put me in a forced burnout phase heheh its ok but it coincided just when i was considerin a laptop. Damn! isnt that ridiculous


    How the hell you can get that horrific feeling??? I’m 40 year young gamer and in all my gaming history i’ve NEVER felt that way. Never!!! And i dont wanna feel it!!! I’ve played on any possible system that was produced ,now i’m on 360 and ps3 and there is always something good to play . ALWAYS!!!

  • Pingback: Gamer Burnout - Kit Guru community()

  • Faux_Smoke

    I’ve been experiencing a measure of gamer burnout since roughly June 27th… I recently had a lot of life changes though. I graduated, turned 25, left a 7 year relationship & got involved with a woman I’ve had feelings for since I was in 7th grade.

    I’ve experienced just about every phase save for “it’s all child’s play.”

    I doubt anything is going to pull me back into gaming the same way again. I can admit that I used gaming as a way to avoid my own life and how unhappy I was with it. I still enjoy gaming and have fun with it from time to time, though, I just don’t have the same passion for it as I used to.

    Another thing I will say is that I’ve found myself at a point where the games that I enjoy most right now are sociable games… sociable at an in-person level rather than online. It doesn’t have to be a multiplayer game either, just the type of game where people can trade a controller back & forth while playing & make jokes, etc.

  • Max

    I’m currently having a severe gamers burnout. I sure know what i’m talking about. I’m 49yr and have been gaming since mid 80.

    There have been other periods of burnout but this one is serious. Reason is i stumbled on a hobby competitior namely Photography.

    I always made photo’s but gaming was number 1, now i got a DSLR and things seem ‘fresh’ unlike games which seem ‘been there done that’.

    Of course i can and will become bored of taking pictures but in what time, and which game will pull me back in.

    I know i’m a gamer, but which game?

    In my backlog there are even super mighty games like MassEffect2 … i mean that must tell me something.

    The last game i was addicted to was a ‘simple’ game namely DefenceGrid on XBLA … and that was because it was something i had never played before.

    Long story short. I want to be back as gamer … but … which game?


  • Bioshock (first one) actually pulled me back last week. I got to the twist and then 24 hrs later my house was burgled. All consoles stolen alongwith my xbox gaming history. Probably will just concentrate on PC gaming again

  • stvw74

    Going thru a massive GBO at the moment .. I’ve got 2-3 new games on my shelf that I haven’t even bothered to open the cases of .. Though I have just come out of a 6yr relationship, moved to a new house & started seeing a student nurse, so it’s not as if I’m bored or anything .. I’m thinking MafiaII may re-ignite my interest in gaming at the end of the month but I’m not holding my breath .. PSNid: stvw74

  • I went through this years ago, when I had a Playstation 2.. after GTA III and GTA Vice City pretty much everything else seemed awful had a last bit of enthusiasm with SSX3 when it came out and the sold my consoles.. all of them..
    This was about 2004..
    What got me back into gaming was the XBox 360 (the game that really got me back I guess was Dead Rising)..
    Still there was 3 years when I had no console gaming whatsoever.
    Glad its back now though