While there are different schools of thought on whether gamers should be considered athletes or not, they are regularly compared with athletes from other conventional sports. As we start comparing athletes from sports and esports, one major trend that we start to notice is that esports gamers tend to retire much earlier than other athletes. 

When it comes to athletes from regular sports, it is not that uncommon to see them retiring at late ages of up to 35, or even 40 in some cases. However, esports athletes tend to retire at a relatively much younger age. The average age of retirement for esports players is around 25 years. There have even been cases where esports players retired at an early age of just 20 years. 

Because esports players have the luxury of being able to compete while sitting on a chair behind a desk and a computer, one would think that esports players can keep competing for much longer durations and retire much later. However, that is far from the truth. Here is our attempt on trying to answer “why esports players retire so young”.

Misconceptions About Why Esports Players Retire So Young

There are tons of explanations about why esports gamers retire at such a young age. While a lot of these explanations seem quite plausible, not all of them are one hundred percent correct. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about why esports gamers tend to retire so young.

Esports Gamers Start Their Careers Too Early

Esports gamers indeed start their career at quite a young age. Professional players at the ages of 17 or 16 already have around six years of gaming experience. However, this does not suggest that they would want to retire early. If everything is going well, there is no reason to retire, and joining the field early is certainly not one of them. 

Declining Reflexes

As people get older, their reaction times start to increase, and their reflexes start getting weaker. However, the age that this becomes significant is much older than the mid-20s, which is exactly when most esports gamers retire. In other words, the decline of reaction times and reflexes is not a plausible explanation. A lot of retired esports players show amazing levels of skill and reflexes as they play video games despite being as old as 35 years.


Injuries prove to be a substantial hurdle in any athlete’s professional career, especially injuries that are severe. However, most injuries esports players get are nowhere near the injuries other athletes have to deal with. Common injuries include back pain and tennis elbow, which are treatable through proper physiotherapy. On the other hand, common injuries that athletes from other sports deal with include swollen muscles, fractures, and dislocations.

Real Reasons ESports Players Retire At A Young Age

The real reasons why most esports gamers retire at such a young age are quite different than what most people think. Upon interviewing retired esports players, it was observed that most of them did not blame deteriorating response times or injuries for their early retirement.

With competitive video games, muscle memory is one of the most important things. So, if a gamer is not practicing daily, their performance will start to drop significantly. It is why professional gamers are required to put in tons of hours to keep up their game. Professional esports players often spend most of their day practicing and perfecting their skills.

With spending most of the time on practice, there is not a lot of free time left for professional esports players. It is why esports players often have to neglect any kind of personal or social life. It is quite common to see professional players sacrificing spending time with their friends or family to spend more time practicing. 

All of this work can induce tons of stress. When gamers spend most of their time practicing and get little to no time for themselves, it can be quite stressful for them. There is also the stress of competing in back-to-back matches that professional gamers have to deal with. Along with that, they are also pressured into performing well in each one of them. 

After all those things that esports players have to deal with, there is little to no financial support for them. When professional esports players spend tons of hours practicing for a particular tournament, there is not a lot of time left for working on some other 9 to 5 job. Hence, most esports gamers rely on financial support provided to them for playing professionally. 

However, most esports players are not even on a payroll. Most teams rely on the prize money of tournaments for getting financial support. But if the team is not able to acquire the prize money by winning the tournament, there will be no financial support. In other words, gamers have to deal with tons of stress, neglect their social life, and spend tons of hours on practice in return for not a lot. 

With everything that we have mentioned, it is clear that esports gamers have to deal with a lot of stuff and still do not get paid enough. There are not a lot of people who would keep on pushing after dealing with this many issues. This is exactly why most esports players retire so young. On top of all that, esports players actually have a lot more to gain after they retire from pro play. There are tons of opportunities for them like Twitch live streaming and brand deals.

The Bottom Line

While it is true that esports players also have to deal with injuries and their reflexes get worse as they age, this is not why they are retiring from pro play at a young age. The real reason is that they have to deal with tons of stress and put in a lot of work while getting little to no return. After retirement, esports players have access to several avenues that provide them with a much better return for the work they put in.