The esports community used to have lots of teenage members. A contestant in the late twenties was a rarity, and the early thirties seemed to be something incredible. But over time the situation changed: now many leading esports teams are not made up of middle school students: now the players are grown-up men, some of them have families and children, but they continue to succeed and they are not going to quit. So, what age is the best for an esportsman?
Such games require reaction, so, as it seems, teenagers tend to have an advantage here. But, if we look at the most popular esports action game – CS: GO – we see that the best teams are represented by a plethora of adult people. The average age of top players in the discipline is 23,5. The age deserved to be called the best for CS, as the esportsman has gained some experience and is currently mastering the game having outstanding reflexes. But if you are over 30, you can continue playing CS at a high level which is proven by numerous examples.
Other esports action games have a younger average age than in CS, but still older 20. For instance, in PUBG the age is about 23, but here it is connected with the fact that the game is 18+, so participation in the tournament is eligible only from this age. In Call of Duty, the average age is younger – nearly 22,5, in Rainbow Six Siege – 22, in Overwatch – 21,5. All these numbers are close to each other so we have a solid picture: any team tends to have one “veteran” in late twenties or even early thirties and the other players are much younger.
There may be two veterans, but it does not change the situation: the best age for playing professionally is younger than these average figures – 20-21. The reaction in the action is crucial, and from 23, you feel its slowdown, the gamer may lose the motivation after outstanding victories and rewards.
In StarCraft II the average age of top players is just a bit more than 24. Year after year it is growing slowly – in 2015 it was 22 years old. It happened due to the fact that the influx of the new blood into the discipline is weak, so the best age is 22 or even younger. You can play SC II at a high level up to 30 years old, there are only few older players. There is another situation in WarCraft III: the players in their thirties are not many but it is explained by outer circumstances – there are too many youngsters who are going to try themselves in the discipline with doubtful prospects.
In LoL and Dota 2, the average age is almost the same – 22,5-23. There is a tendency to its gradual growth, but it happens slowly, and it is due to the fact that the influx of fresh blood in the discipline is getting lower. The situation is not different from actions – players in their late twenties are fewer and the first-tier is represented by just a few players in their early thirties. On the other hand there are not many underage players – you should gain experience earlier than you are trying to get into one of the leading teams.
Most esports federations recommend taking up esports at the age of 14. This is the best approach indeed – this is how you are taking lumps and receiving a chance to get noticed by a strong team at 18 years old. In CS: GO, for example, it is not going to happen earlier: m0NESY, the youngest contestant of the upcoming BLAST Premier Spring Finals 2022, is 17 years old. But it is never too late to start: the oldest contestants who have already qualified for the main stage of IEM Cologne 2022, are 32 – these are karrigan and Snappi, and both of them still show great results.