Players who reach a certain age in traditional sports have historically seen a decline in performance. Usually this happens as the players’ physical fitness declines, but what about eSports? Most traditional sports have to use muscles that make up the entire body, but in esports? The physical part is not that big. However, the average age of players in most esports competitions is very young, and they often retire at a young age compared to traditional sports.
Taking League of Legends as an example, many players have retired from professional gaming in the past few years, but none have been over 30 years old. One of the most recently retired players is Kim “Kan” Dong-ha, who is only 26 years old, although he retired to serve in the military. In addition to Kan, the ROX brothers in Song “Smeb” Kyung-ho, Lee “Kuro” Seo-Hang, and Kang “Gorilla” Beom-Hyun retired at the age of 25 after the 2020 LCK summer the year before. or 26.
Compared to this, the profession of traditional sports is mostly based on physical fatigue, so they usually retire in their late thirties. As such, the careers of League of Legends players are much smaller than in traditional sports. Why did this happen? Obviously, sports players don’t use their bodies like traditional sports athletes. There must be another reason.
Player fatigue may not be as critical as in traditional sports, but it does happen in sports. Jian “Uzi” Zi-Hao is one of the best ADCs in LoL esports history, and he retired in 2020 due to a chronic shoulder injury. He returned this spring and played in nine games before going on leave. In this way, even though sports are not as much about physical fitness, injuries can affect the performance of players and force them into retirement.
However, most cases are not due to injury. So why? We sent some of the older players and coaches who were there to ask why the life of sending players is so short, and most of their answers were the same: the players are not as motivated as they used to be. People often lose their passion for anything when their hobbies turn into their jobs.
100 Thieves head coach Bok “Ripperd” Hangi said that as players get older and play the game as a “job”, their passion for the game diminishes. “As players get older, they get more fun, and gaming starts to feel like work. When this happens, you can’t get into the game the way you felt when you started. Good point from the head coach. A former LCS player said the same thing. “Some players lose interest and don’t play or practice as hard as they used to. At their age, they feel that the games are not that interesting. It was the same for me. Late in my career, playing games wasn’t fun.
Golden Guards veteran Kim “Oleh” Joo-sung agreed about the motivation, saying that the players should enjoy the game first. “Practice is not as physical as traditional sports, so there’s no time limit for practice – only how much fun you can have with the game. Some people can practice for 20 hours straight, while some can’t even play for four hours.
The main point they focused on was that as players get older, they lose interest in the game and this is the truth behind the aging curve in esports. Although the latter may not be true for all players, it seems reasonable. Reapered added to the idea and said how naturally motivated the younger players are. “Nowadays, taking young players as an example, they have to start from the rookie league or as a trainee in a team. They have to work hard to show up there and get promoted to the academy or the challenger league. Then they have to work hard to get into the starting lineup of the major league.
All that effort will lead to the point where they can play in the major leagues. The next motivation is to become a superstar or to win worlds and so on. Repred suggests that people who can use their motivation as fuel for these goals can achieve their goals, but after becoming a famous player, they will eventually lose interest because of the many challenges that come with being paid so much money. .
“Audiences are exposed to hidden challenges here and there when they become superstars. The salary, the parties, the countless DMs from female fans, etc. When you try those things, they’re fun. The point is whether they can handle those challenges well enough to maintain their passion for the game, or at least their performance.”
Veteran top laner Jeong “Impact” Yeon-young as well He said the same thing. It was back when he joined Evil Geniuses. “There aren’t enough fun things in life to retire yet,” Impact said, which is the gist of what Repered said. Things might change if I get married and have kids… I have to focus on things in life other than playing – if I can’t fully focus on LOL I’ll retire.
There are many older men in the picture who are active and doing well. Lee “Faker” Sang-Hyuk and Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu are still some of the best players in the world. Zaqueri “aphromoo” will be black on September 30. In addition to the players, Kang “Ambition” Chan Yong conquered the world at the age of 26. So what difference does age make? Close to anyone – it’s just a matter of how interested the players are.
Reprod has made some final comments on this matter. “Good players are simply good. Retirees my age still reach Grandmasters and Challengers and do well. It’s just how well or efficiently they spend their time playing and practicing. In my opinion, the main thing is love, time management and thinking.