In recent years, the relationship between age and gaming ability has garnered quite a fair bit of discussion. Basically, the whole gist of the topic of debate was is whether getting older diminishes your capabilities (such as reaction time) as a gamer. Many people believe that you become a worse gamer over time.
As someone who is relatively young (26 isn’t over the hill, but I’m too old to do some stupid things apparently), I found this to be a rather interesting theory. I mean, does age really affect your ability to learn and play new games that much? In an attempt to answer this question, I had a look at a few of the theories surrounding this idea.
There’s a Reason You Don’t Get Old e-Sports Athletes
Have you ever seen a photo of a champion e-sports team? It’s usually filled with gamers who are aged between 17 and 23, with an individual above that age making a rare occurrence.
A lot of people have pondered on why you don’t get older e-sports athletes. Many have come to the conclusion that as in all sports, as you grow older your abilities begin to recede. Whereas when you’re younger, you may react instantly when meeting an enemy, this response time slows over time.
As a person who has never been all that serious about competitive gaming, it is difficult to give an experienced-based opinion on this notion. Quite simply, it makes sense that you reach peak abilities at a certain age and then see everything go downhill after that, but is age really the only cause of this deterioration?
We Don’t Get Worse at Games. Rather, Our Focus Changes
So, with the average gamer nowadays being about 35 years old, it is safe to say that we have a good amount of data on how playing habits change over time.
In a study performed by Quantic Foundry in 2016, it was suggested that as we age the primary motivating factor behind a person’s desire to play video games changes over time. Basically, it was suggested that when you’re younger, you tend to focus more on competition. As you grow older, the only motivator that remains stable is strategy.
Interestingly enough, this is a notion I’ve seen in part suggested by some gamers before in discussions about age and gaming. More experienced gamers often do actually state that as they grew older, their response times slowed down which made them less competitive and that, in turn, led to an increased focus on strategy in order remain effective in the game.
While this may be true, I think people also need to take heed of Quantic Foundry’s other findings. The group made a point of stating that as we grow older our interests and patterns of habit change. So, it somewhat makes sense for a 19-year-old university student who gets to play every day to be better at Call of Duty than a 35-year-old with a full-time job and child and can only play once a week.
Is this idea often factored in with those who suggest your gaming abilities diminish with age? Who knows? (It certainly isn’t an idea that can be ignored though.)
So, Does Gaming Ability Dimming with Age?
I know, I say this in pretty much every piece I write, but this really depends on the person and their own experience. I would be surprised if there weren’t older gamers who could destroy younglings in their choice multiplayer game quite easily. Is this a common scenario, though?
I don’t really think so, but I also don’t know if that’s due to age or due to lack of time to play. (Remember that practice makes perfect and if you’re not getting time to practice, you’re not going to perfect anything.)
I can say that I have been playing a number of different games these past few weeks. Although I can’t say that I’ve been amazing at all of them, I won’t say that I’ve been terrible at them either. I can still execute jumps effectively in Celeste, even if it takes me a few attempts and I can still get relatively strong K/D ratios in first-person shooter games. The one thing I can’t do is get into comboing in Mortal Kombat though, but, you know maybe that’s because I’ve past the age of 25 and have become a fossil in gamer years (supposedly).
What do you think? Does skill diminish with age? What has your experience been like? Please share in the comments down below.