As the years roll by, it begins to come into stark focus that perhaps my gaming skills aren’t what they once were. My days of Battlefield tourneys are behind me, and while Battlefield Tracker reliably informs me I’m still hanging in the top 5% for score per minute, I can feel the slide. In particular, I can feel it games which are perhaps a little more reliant on lightning fast trigger fingers or particularly quick thinking.
My barometer’s probably Rainbow Six: Siege, to be honest, which has seen me gradually slide from a high Platinum player to Gold, and now sometimes even Silver if I have a particularly bad session. And don’t even get me started on Call of Duty. That franchise is so reliant on near-instant reactions these days that my performance fell off a cliff about a decade ago.
Getting my ass handed to me with increasing regularity has pushed me off into different directions. I’m more likely to want to hang out and do some moonshining with the posse in Red Dead Online than I am to want to hop on and try out the latest Operators in Siege. It’s not because I don’t want to play the more competitive games, it’s just that co-op shenanigans has a far easier appeal to my tiring brain on a Thursday evening.
Which brings me around to the crux of this discussion, and a personal dream of mine - Age-gated servers for old fogeys. Now I know it’s a near enough impossible dream to have but just hear me out a bit. Imagine servers designed just for 40 to 50-year-olds, for example, who can play some COD: Modern Warfare without fear of being 360 no-scoped by a Red Bull-addled teenager from about 600 feet away. Like a gated community for gamers, where we can grow old and senile together, blowing each others brains out with some hamfisted shooting.
Those of you in your teens will probably snort with derision at this idea but come back to me in 10-15 years and let me know if you still feel the same way. The simple fact of the matter is, gamers are getting older. There are old Counter-Strike pros that are deep into their 40s now and they still love games. Soon there will be millions upon millions of over 60s who grew up shooting their mates in online games, thrown into the ball pool with sharks for company.
Now, the obvious workaround to all of this, and something which could probably solve these issues without resorting to fencing off those of us whose neurons surf our brainwaves using zimmer frames, is more comprehensive and reliable skill-based matchmaking. I’m getting thrown in with some absolutely lethal players in COD, so whatever they’re doing there definitely ain’t working. Rocket League though? My 50% win rate and ridiculously tight match-ups suggest I absolutely am being matched up with folks who are on my level.
What do you think then, as gaming becomes increasingly popular with older folk, do you think we’re going to start seeing OAP servers and the like? Or do you think skill-based matchmaking will do its job and filter the grey gamer army down to the lower rungs? Let us know your thoughts!