There has been a stereotype that has yet to fully go away, especially in the minds of older adults. This stereotype believes that video games are an exclusive domain of children and lazy adults that don’t want to grow up. It’s been all over a dozen different forms of media since the first video game premiered.
It is also not true.
With eSports pushing the boundaries of what people consider a professional sport, the age barrier of video games can be pushed just as much.
It doesn’t mean there aren’t any hurdles towards tackling said barrier.
The Games of Youth
The vast majority of eSports players are young, ranging from mid teens to mid 20s. To find any player above that, especially in the higher levels of the more dynamic games, is a rarity.
The exact reason of this could come from a large number of factors.
The stereotype mentioned above has probably made a lot of older gamers give up their hobby of choice, or at least cut back on their playtime in drastic quantities.
Another major aspect is physicality. eSports has a demanding requirement of its players. When playing first person shooters or real time strategy games, your reflexes can be the difference between winning and losing.
The physicality also stretches to many other details. Staring at a screen for so long can be hard on the eyes, and the older the eyes get, the harder they pick up small details on screen.
The long days can also play havoc on the body and mind. Many eSports players play well into the early hours of the night. They also push themselves into more hours of play with items like energy drinks.
These don’t have to be deal breakers, just as much as they don’t have to be the gatekeeping qualification they sound like. The current eSports layout favors those with youth and time on their side, but there is more to eSports than just this.
The Troubles and Virtues of Getting Older
As we get older, it can be harder to live up to the dynamic of eSports. It can be even harder to get into the dynamic of eSports at a later age, as you miss many years of training and tuning.
The truth, though, is that gamers as a whole have been getting older. As the generations who grew up with the first major video games in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, the average age of the video game player is now in their early 30’s.
The physicality and lifestyle of the eSports professional may become harder to keep up with as the decades roll forward, but they aren’t impossible and also don’t always have to be an absolute.
Not all games require heavy reflexes to excel. The more strategic games, like Hearthstone, need only a solid mind for their strategy.
As well, there is a lot to be said for familiarity. If you have been a gamer for a long time, you probably have a lot of the basic reflexes down.
After all, reflexes are muscle memory. Keep yourself in good shape and the reflexes of your youth don’t need to go away.
In the face of issues like physicality that may affect how well you do, it is always important to remember that there may well be things you can excel with. If the standard way of doing something doesn’t work, find another.
Uniqueness in your methods can be a ticket in to many things, eSports included.
A Unique Appeal
There may not be many professional gamers in their 40’s or older, but that may end up being a boon in your favor if you aim to try.
While it may not help you to compete in tournaments, many professional gamers have a public persona that they use during streaming and other appearances to build up their fans.
This persona has no physicality requirements and an older and more experienced gamer has two major boons they might be able to exploit to add a special edge to their own persona.
First, as has been said, there aren’t many eSports professionals over 30. Your age may as well be a marker to help you stand out. This gets even better if you can manage to beat the odds and compete with the younger gamers without trouble.
The second boon is one of mindset. If the average gamer is now in their early 30’s, then the average gamer might relate more to someone their age over a fresh-faced 20 year old. This can be great if you focus on the stable revenue of streaming.
As well, the older you get, the more experiences in gaming you can accrue. An extra decade or two of experience and perspective can really push some interesting angles you can bring out.
Dedication for All Ages
Being an eSports professional does require a lot of hard work, dedication, and physical training. No matter what level you aim for or what role you want to play, it will never be an easy task.
All that said, never let someone tell you what you cannot do, especially before you even try. There are exceptions to what may be expected and often the attempt is just as rewarding as the result.
There is much that could potentially be gained through a few more years of experience. There is also only so much that can be lost as the years go on.
As the original generation of gamers grows older, we may find the average age of the professional gamer growing with it.
In the end, the true mark of becoming an eSports professional, as well as any professional, is a true dedication to the craft and the effort put in to hone your skills.
If there is still any doubt on your potential, the only way to truly find out the truth is to try.1