Esports

Gaming and Age in Esports – Are you too old?

Hey there! This video is going to discuss age in connection with competitive gaming. This is not the usual educational guide, but an overlook on the topic to give you a general understanding and to start a discussion.

Let’s begin! Hello guys and welcome to the dojo! More than half of our viewers are between 25 and 35, and there were a lot of questions about age and competitive gaming, so we decided to research it more deeply. We are not only talking about Overwatch, but other titles as well to offer you a more in-depth view of age and gaming. So without further adieu, let’s begin with the first question.

Am I too old to be a gamer / esport competitor? Should I chase the dreams of being a pro gamer, streamer or content creator, or is it too late? These questions tend to come up frequently on forms where we ask you to share your content ideas with us. In short, your age does not prevent you from being an excellent player; however, it is an easy excuse that many of us use. The answer really depends on what exactly you want to do, so let’s go through the most general attitudes.

Note that we are generalizing here, so if something does not apply to you, or we missed your case entirely, don’t be mad, start a discussion in the comment section. Alright, we are going to talk about varying degrees of commitment, starting with the most relevant ones. Beginning with casual gaming and going towards the professional esports, discussing every level in detail.

The most causal level is playing for fun. Age really does not matter here. You are playing as a recreational activity because you love the game’s mechanics or setting, enjoy time with friends or socialize with others in a gaming environment.

This is all fine, and age can benefit you here if you can find like-minded people who want to spend time together. Being mature helps you in forming stronger bonds online, so age might benefit you. Just go for it, there is no limit here. We had a patron who we coached several times who is 71 years old and playing Overwatch a few hours every week. It should be about fun.

Okay, the next level is where you are playing for the thrill of competition and where you are usually looking for growth. We’d love to think that most of our viewers are in this category. However, there are different levels of commitment in this category. Let’s begin with the casual competitive gamer.

When we are talking about competitive gaming, even if it is only a solo queue environment, age does make a difference. The most common topic that we hear from gamers above 25 is that your body starts to wither and that your reaction time and motoric control degrades as you age. You can also have more gaming related injuries if you don’t pay attention to your body as you mature. While it might seem that a 16-year-old has the advantage of being really quick, mechanics can be drilled and kept on a very decent level, even if you are in your fifties or older. You will have a harder time reaching your natural skill-cap, and it may be slightly lower compared to someone who has talent and is still young. But the differences are so tiny, that it is hardly noticeable.

As more and more competitive games are about a mix of skills and not purely about aim, this might not be an issue at all. Persistence is critical, and as you gain more experience in life, you will be able to see that practice beats talent in the long run. Now that we ate the frog, we can talk about the next sub-topic, that is game experience and game sense. As someone who has played a few games and not only the recent titles, you have the advantage of using that experience for your benefit in any new game.

A lot of Team Fortress 2 players switched to Overwatch for example when it came out, and they did decently in competitions. Having some years behind you as a gamer and as a person means that you have a broader pool of knowledge that you can use to understand the game and play it on a level that is only reachable by newcomers to the gaming world after a ton of practice. Predicting your enemies is a good example. If you have played Quake games where pickups are essential, you will naturally be able to predict that your enemies are going to go for the HP pickup if they are low, and you can use this knowledge to kill them before they get there. If you played Team Fortress 2, you would have a lot of knowledge about team-based strategies that you might be able to apply in Overwatch as well. Alright, the last subtopic in this category is about social skills.

If you are above 25, that means that you have most likely finished your studies already, been working for a while, or starting to work and interact with a lot of different people. You have more knowledge in people than those youngsters who you are matched within a game. Social skills are one of the most critical aspects of the current generation of games because you are playing in a team setting. You can use your skills to shot call, to negotiate better picks, to communicate more effectively, or not to get tilted so easily by stupid things. These are all essential things that we usually don’t consider as ‘skill,’ but they mean just as much as aim.

An undoubtedly important part of how skilled you can become is the amount of time you are spending to get better. Younger gamers usually have fewer life-commitments. Thus they can play for looong hours that is not easily doable for older players who juggle adult things as well. We get back to experience again, because if you already know how to hit all those flicks from Counter-Strike, you only need to re-learn part of it to apply it on Quake Champions or any other title, spending less time to become good in the given game. To wrap it up, we believe that you should stop blaming your age for your mistakes, and embrace them instead. Thinking like this gives you an opportunity to realize flaws in your game and will allow you to step on the path of improvement, even if you are in your seventies, grinding SR every day.

We are going to continue with the professional level, but we would like to ask you to pause the video now and tell us about how you feel about this topic in a comment below. We will get back to you! Alright, buckle up guys.

The last topic is the age in professional esports. We want to give you a bit of historical overview before dealing with the questions here. You see, we gamers are part of a continuously developing and maturing phenomenon, that is esports. It transforms and grows year-by-year.

When the very early competitive gaming titles like Quake and Starcraft came out, we only had a handful of professional players, as the esports scene was still small. At that time, it was common for someone to play in their late teens and retire at in the early twenties. This was because esports wasn’t as big as it is now, and it did not offer a lot of opportunities to players to sustain themselves only by playing.

Gamer payrolls were not yet a common thing; streaming was non-existent, so you had to solely rely on sponsorship and occasional competition prizes, which are kind of unreliable. Players mainly stuck with the game, started drilling and quit when the scene switched to another title. This has changed a lot, games are more frequently released, and there are a plethora of opportunities that you can choose from, even if the game you were playing is starting to fade away.

A good player can become a good player in another title, decide to become a coach or an analyst for the game they were playing or for a new game where it is possible to utilize all the experience that was gained so far in other titles. There are some melee games, where the reigning champion is around forty, and some games, where top-level players can be as young as fourteen years old. There are not a lot of professionals above 25 because gaming on a professional level is a hard job, and they start early and burn out, or just quit because they don’t see the chance to compete anymore. A lot of players retire nowadays for a few years then pop back again in the pro scene.

This can be witnessed in Starcraft II for example. Professional players are under a lot of stress. Esports is still young.

Teams are usually not handling negative aspects of professional gaming that well. Organizations may also be biased towards young competitors, because they are more energized, more eager to compete, and so on. We believe that this will gradually change as time passes, and as esport matures.