Back in 2018, Kotaku reported that just under a fifth of the world’s gamers are aged 50 or over. However, spotting an older face in a crowd at an esports tournament is a rarity. However, one team of silver gamers is trying to change that.
Based in Sweden, a group of retired friends have come together through their mutual interest of gaming, and notably top esports industry game CS:GO, to form the Silver Snipers, the official Swedish CS:GO national team.
The Silver Snipers
Managed by a younger, retired former CS:GO professional Frederik Andersson, the team comprises of five former housewives, scientists, and artists, the youngest of whom is 64, double the age of the 32 year old manager of the team. The two oldest members of the team have clocked up an impressive 76 years.
Of course, with age comes a slowing down of reflexes and the abilities to react to events on screen. However, to combat that the team trains hard to improve their abilities and to devise strategies which can help them counter the speed of their younger opponents.
The team have become something of a household name in their native Sweden and the players are equally quick to extol the virtues of what playing esports games has had on their physical and mental well-being. Back in 2018, they effectively became the world’s first professional senior CS:GO team.
In Berlin in Germany, 81-year-old Uschi Cezanne and her co-presenter Peter (76) have become stars of their own award-winning YouTube channel “Seniors Gaming”. Supported by Joshcka Lippelt, who had the technical understanding and the idea to have his senior friends test the game, the duo film game reviews from their basement that regularly get up to 1.4 million viewers, many of them younger fans.
Given the appeal of the Seniors Gaming channel, plus the popularity of the Silver Snipers team, it clearly shows that the modern esports industry has a large and relatively untapped market in these older gamers and streamers.
For an industry that is growing rapidly and which is expanding into new frontiers, that untapped demographic offers a huge amount of potential and possibilities.
Why Esports needs to Embrace Silver Gamers
While the majority of top gamers may well be aged around 26 or 27 years of age, according to studies at the top level, it is clear that age, just like sex, race or gender, should be no barrier to anybody becoming involved in esports.
Another article at esports.net has speculated whether ageism could be a factor in the dearth of older esports gamers at the top level. Their merits of the arguments both for and against this position remain unclear, but it is clear that in order to thrive, the esports industry as well as fringe industries such as esports betting, streaming and the like, all need to diversify.
Along with modern sports, esports is one of the few professional activities where players can ‘retire’ from their activities when they reach their mid-30s. Some even retire sooner than that.
However, as the Silver Snipers are showing, age is no barrier to playing esports and if you are prepared to invest the time to develop the talent, there is no reason why any player, regardless of their age, cannot find a spot for themselves within the esports community and beyond.