#E-sports, or playing videogames competitively, is not only becoming a sport but also turning itself into a serious business. Ho Kun Xian, 26 years old, is a Singaporean and one of the best E-sports players of the world - or "athletes", as he would rather call himself and his rivals. In a interview to Channel News Asia, Xian talks about his profession and how hard it can be, and how much new professional players can earn.
Xian: the kid that stunned his parents
Born in a country which culture is quite work-oriented, Xian tells the typical story of the kid that chooses his own path, against good advice, and achieves success against all odds. He told to the Asian newspaper that he started playing videogames at 7 and he used to get huge satisfaction by beating others. After fulfilling is military duties, he started travelling for playing. He played outside Singapore for the first time in 2009, in Sweden, and proceeded to win the 2013 Evolution Championship Series (EVO), something equivalent to a World Cup of this sport.
During that time, his parents kept asking him how would he make money, and even after becoming "world champion" in 2013, the prize money was only of around £4500. But in the last three years, gaming has turned into a real industry, and Xian a 100% professional player.
No kidding: e-sports is functioning like a real sport
According to Channel News Asia, citing other sources, Daryl Koh, who is considered to be a e-sports superstar, earned already around $1 million (£806.000, at current exchange rate). The newspaper also says that the community of China's top gamers, composed of circa 1700 players, has bagged together almost £40.000.000. Just like in every other sport, this is due to the advertising potential of it, which gather real sponsors trying to reach their markets. In the end, it's the huge interest of fans and supporters - specially from Asia, by far the most populated continent on earth - that is driving e-sports into the realm of sport industries.
Ho Kun Xian says that he practices like a real athlete and that e-sports demands concentration, very fast reflexes and perfect physical condition, something like a "fast-paced chess." He also believes that his country's government should give more support to e-sports, and Singapore could become an Olympic champion the day e-sports gets into the Olympic Games sports list.
Have you ever thought of making a sports career out of videogames? Leave your opinion in the comments below!