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Are You Over 24? Then Science Says You Are Already Getting Worse At Video Games

My StarCraft career is over before it even began.



Thinking about starting a career in competitive gaming at 25? Well, don’t bother, because a new study says that by the time you hit 24, you’re already past your best-before date in terms of your gaming skills. That’s right; gamer middle-age is your early twenties! I’m going to go and feel old in a corner somewhere now.

Scientists from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia published the study “Over the Hill at 24” last week in the journal PLOS ONE, in which they examined 3,305 StarCraft II players between the ages of 16 and 44. Though most people think that your fine motor skills or cognitive function don’t take a downhill turn until much later in life, the SFU team found that “age-related slowing of within-game, self-initiated response times begins at 24 years of age.” Ouch.

Oh, and it doesn’t matter if you’re the best gamer in the world, either; the study shows that, regardless of your skill level, when you reach the ripe old age of 24, your in-game talents are going to start to crumble due to cognitive decline. The SFU folks suggest that older players compensate for their slower playing speed and response time by using specific in-game mechanics which can help compensate. 

On the bright side, the study also found that there’s no similar age-related decline in dual-task performance, so in-game multitasking isn’t a problem regardless of how old you are. You just do it really, really slowly compared to your annoying, 15-year-old neighbour kid.

(via PLOS ONE, image via Steven Andrew)

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Sam Maggs is a writer and televisioner, currently hailing from the Kingdom of the North (Toronto). Her first book, THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will be out soon from Quirk Books. Sam’s parents saw Star Wars: A New Hope 24 times when it first came out, so none of this is really her fault.