Senior Esports players in Japan are showing the world that age is just a number. Based in Akita, the Matagi Snipers are making history. They are the first professional Esports team in the world composed only of people 65 or older.
It’s no surprise Japan is leading the way in this idea. After all, a recent survey shows that there will be more than 36.4 million Japanese aged 65 or more in 2021. That accounts for almost one-third of the country’s population.
Meet the Matagi Snipers
Founded in September 2021, the Matagi Snipers are Japan’s first Esports team made up of senior citizens. There are eight members of the team, each of whom is at least 65 years old. The oldest member of the team is currently 73.
The team has already started streaming their tournaments but has not yet competed in a professional league. They plan to remedy this situation in 2022. The Matagi Snipers already have several sponsorship deals. This funding allows them to turn their hobby into a profession. The Snipers are training hard ahead of the 2022 season. They’re preparing for their first professional Esports battles with three times a week practice.
Their short-term goal is to achieve success in professional tournaments in Japan. Competing against younger Esports players and proving themselves. Their long-term plan is to get more seniors involved in Esports . Which would eventually result in setting up a seniors-only Esports league in Japan.
The elderly Esports team started out as an initiative to show the world that age is just a number. Further, some of the members of the Matagi Snipers note their desire to impress their grandkids as the main driver.
Other eSports Initiatives for Elderly Japanese
The Matagi Snipers have recently been in the headlines as the first Japanese Esports of senior citizens. However, this isn’t the first time Japanese seniors are getting involved with the Esports universe.
A year ago, an Esports facility was launched in Kobe. The intention is to introduce modern video games to Japanese seniors. Called ISR Esports , the facility serves as a school for people who’ve had previous experience with Esports .
People involved in ISR Esports are all seniors. Some of the participants are fast approaching their tenth decade. An 88-year-old man spoke to Japan’s ABC TV about his involvement in the program, explaining that he used to be ambivalent toward video games in the past. However, now that he’s a part of ISR eSports, his opinion has changed. He now thinks they’re “quite enjoyable” citing their variety as the biggest advantage.
At ISR Esports , elderly players can choose from all sorts of video games. Mainstream titles like Overwatch League, Street Fighter, and Kingdom Under Fire are popular. At the same time, they also try to stay on the cutting edge of emerging games. Maybe even a few that have been flying under the radar of Esports fans.
Elderly eSports Teams from Other Parts of the World
Japan is the place where the seniors have gotten on the Esports bandwagon the most. However, this isn’t the only country in the world with Esports teams made up of elderly players only. A few years before Matagi Snipers were found, in Sweden, a similar team formed. Four years ago, the Silver Snipers started their journey as a CS:GO team. The team came to existence on an initiative Abbe “DieHardBirdie” Borg who is now 80 years old. Two years ago, Borg became the oldest world champion in 2019 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Borg’s Silver Snipers team consists of players who are 60 years or older. Most of whom are American army veterans. His idea was to get veterans involved in the Esports world. Not only as a social activity. They also seek to use their real-life experience to take the game to the next level.
It’s no surprise that Borg focused his quest for senior players to the United States. It is the country whose seniors are getting more and more passionate about video games. A recent survey by AARP showed that over 10 million Americans became games over the last three years. Their number is now estimated to be nearly 60 million. This means that most American seniors do play video games, albeit only at an amateur level.
The population of American seniors will rise significantly over the next decade. It’s only logical to assume that we’re going to see a lively Senior Esports scene in the future.