Nintendo’s family-friendly image, as well as its emphasis on designing games to be accessible by players of all ages, no doubt attracts younger gaming fans to titles like Splatoon 2, but the eSports world is still heavily dominated by older teens and young adults. This is potentially thanks to the fact that competitions are geared towards older participants, as well as the issues venues face surrounding younger players being safely hosted at events, but this young Splatoon player gives a reason for this to change.
Introducing Honoka, a fifth-grade student from Japan who has been hitting the headlines and generating buzz amongst the Splatoon 2 community over the last couple of days. Despite only being ten years old, Honoka has joined a competitive eSports team called ‘Beauties of Nature Star Team’ – an all-female group. You can see her in action in the video below (a match starts at around the 1:15 mark) and she’s already putting us to shame.
Of course, it would be foolish to suggest that players of this age wouldn’t be able to successfully compete against older opponents – entering any online game’s voice chat can give you a pretty good idea of how young some players are – and some tournaments, like those for the Pokémon video game and trading card championships, encourage youngsters to take part in junior tiers.
Will we start to see the world of eSports evolve to more openly include players of a wider age range in the future? Possibly. With the likes of Twitch streamers and YouTube stars becoming idols for the younger generations, perhaps we’re on the brink of seeing a small army of super-talented kids take over gaming competitions. If they’re as good as Honoka, they definitely have a chance!