Why e-sports careers are shorter than those of athletes

E-sports stars have short careers—shorter than sports stars. The general assumption is that the coordination and focus required selects for youth even more than athletic performance does, but medical experts say that's not at all true. Instead, the Washington Post's Jonathan Lee traces more complex causes: success leads to an entrepreneurial track promoting gamer bric-a-brac; overtraining and no unions to stop it; burnout; bad contracts; and even the self-fulfilling prophecy of it all being a young person's world.

The failure to retain older players also results in a massive loss of perspective and experience. Contrary to popular belief, age could actually be a big advantage for competitors.

Ronald "Rambo" Kim is a content creator and owner of FPS Coach, a service which provides specialized training for first-person shooter titles. During his competition days, he was a legendary "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" player with a string of championships under his belt. He said that a gamer in their 30s could very well be significantly slower than a teenager, but could buffer those slower reflexes with wisdom.

The culture side of things seems hard to overemphasize. E-sports have taken many forms over the years, but nowadays most events look like edgy kids' game shows. There are marketing challenges pitting teens against older adults.

Also unaddressed is the fact the games and gaming trends change, though some games in serious play are now more than a decade old.