As the sport of “eSports” marches into the future many aspects of the activity are maturing: the games are becoming better, the coverage options are growing in sophistication and the platform technology is evolving. Another aspect of eSports is also maturing: the players. When professional gaming first burst onto the scene with games like Quake and Counter-Strike the average professional was between 15 and 18 years old. Stars like Fatal1ty, tr1p, Bullseye and KSharp were borderline high school age when they dominated the CPL’s of days gone by. Over the years some players have remained in gaming well into their early 20’s. The question is: how old is too old?
In an article entitled 21st-Century Shooters Are No Country For Old Men, Wired.com makes the argument that while older players might be tactically superior, their raw skill and reactions are overshadowed by younger stars.
“Some oldsters don’t even bother trying to outwit the kids with age and experience. “As you get older, your want to be schooled by a 15-year-old supergamer disappears,” says game writer Chet Faliszek, who works for Valve and worked on Left 4 Dead. “You know you can’t beat him.”
Despite the fact that the vast majority of pro gamers ‘retire’ and move on with college or work, there are some hold outs who are raising the average age of active eSports players. Some have stuck to their eSports dreams while watching others their age graduate from four year colleges and get real jobs. A select few have managed to graduate while playing.
However, stepping outside the personal cost of remaining an eSports pro past a certain age we find the question of talent. Is there an age when a pro player’s talent and raw skill have diminished to the point where he isn’t the player he once was? An in-depth statistical performance study is beyond the scope of this article, but we thought it’d be interesting to take a look at some of the “old men” of eSports:
Brian “DKT” Flander
As you can see, many of the players listed are amongst the best players out there. At the end of the day it’s a personal decision when deciding the time to move on to the ‘real world.’ What do you think? How old is too old?