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Japan gets first pro esports team made up entirely of elderly players

Members of the professional esports team Matagi Snipers, center and left, are seen during a press conference in the city of Akita on Sept. 21, 2021. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Takano)

AKITA -- Akita Prefecture-based IT firm S2 Co. has launched Japan's first professional esports team composed of elderly players, the company announced at a press conference here on Sept. 21.

    The Matagi Snipers consist of 10 members aged 61 to 73, including two in spots for "juniors" aged 65 or younger. One of the members who attended the press conference said enthusiastically, "I want to spread my wings around Japan and the world."

    The team is named after the local "matagi" hunting group. As the name implies, the players will focus their efforts on shooting games. S2 started gathering players in June, and the team has been practicing since July. The ratio of Akita Prefecture's total population aged 65 and over tops 38%, significantly higher than the national average.

    Members of the professional esports team Matagi Snipers are seen after a press conference in the city of Akita on Sept. 21, 2021. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Takano)

    Many esports players compete under pseudonyms, and this is also true of the Matagi Snipers. During the press conference, 72-year-old "Mr. Kita" said, "I'm doing my best and having fun every day. I'll try hard to become the very best as a professional player."

    Eba, 67, one of the team's three female members, returned here three years ago after many years living in the Tokyo metropolitan area. She explained, "I realized that I like my hometown Akita, and was wondering how I could spread the local charms. Matagi Snipers matched that feeling, and I wanted to take on the challenge."

    The team plans to start streaming its games on YouTube or Twitch, a platform for gamers, by the end of this month at the earliest. It also plans to participate in competitions and events from April next year.

    (Japanese original by Hiroshi Takano, Akita Bureau)

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