In recent times, we’ve seen that a lot of e-sport athletes have surprisingly short careers. Comparing that to athletes from physical sports, this seems strange as they have almost twice the careers of e-sport professional athletes while also working physically. Most of the pros are in their early 30s or mid-20s when they retire.
Factors Leading To Early Retirement
A big factor contributing to these pros’ early retirement is their long training hours. As playing games is their job, they spend around 10 to 14 hours a day perfecting their craft and have to work insanely long hours just to have that extra bit of advantage over their opponent.
They have very strict practice schedules and due to a lot of unrealistic expectations, they are expected to train at an insane pace week in and week out. That too, under a huge amount of pressure. This is because in e-sports if you don’t perform at your absolute best, you are simply dropped from the roster and possibly your team too. This weighs heavily on some players who prefer to retire early and enjoy a life of freedom.
Minimal Social Activites
In addition, long uninterrupted hours of training mean that a player has to sacrifice spending time with his friends and family. Also, playing the same game repeatedly can lead to a lack of interest and so with age, they prioritize their family over gaming.
Aside from the above-mentioned factors, a player can easily suffer from physical injuries if they don’t physically take care of themselves. Shoulder, neck, and wrist injuries are common in players and the intensity only increases with age. As those who suffer due to this can’t train long enough with the rest of their teammates, they are mostly dropped out of the roster and often replaced by someone much younger. This is a major reason that stops e-sport players, especially pros from prolonging their careers.
On the financial side of things, if a player isn’t regularly winning, he might find it difficult to sustain his lifestyle. It is something that a player doesn’t realize early on in his career but eventually finds out with age. This is backed up by research which shows that with age, players tend to lose their reaction time with ultimately leads to a drastic decline in their performance and so fewer wins mean less money.
Furthermore, it’s only the best of the best who earn a huge amount of money and so, there are a lot of players who don’t. Most of them, at some point in their career, realize that they might not make it that far and so they would be better off spending their time and energy elsewhere. This is also a reason that a lot of pros retire early and start streaming on platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.
Life Span Of A Game
Moreover, most professional e-sports players focus exclusively on a single game and with time, a lot of games become less relevant and popular. Due to this, sponsors back out and so the prize pool for tournaments decreases. During this time, a lot of players think about their next phase in life and so the mid-20s is not a bad age to finish off your education and go back to spending a normal, healthy life.
As most pros start in their teens, they also have to bear pressures from within their families as time progresses. In a lot of regions, being an e-sport athlete is not considered a proper job. Due to this a lot of players have to sacrifice their careers to finish their studies or work elsewhere and so they retire fairly early.