SINGAPORE: Electronic sports, or e-sports, is a fast growing market with multi-million dollar deals and billions of fans worldwide. But a video game career still raises a few eyebrows in Singapore. Ho Kun Xian, who is regarded as one of the top fighting game players in the world, is hoping to change that.
The 24-year-old is the first Singaporean who plays “fighting games” for a living. Ho started gaming when he was seven and was crowned the best “Street Fighter” player on the planet in 2013 – ahead of more than 1,000 competitors in Las Vegas.
“At that moment I was just a random guy from Singapore, and being able to achieve that result shows that anyone could do it,” he said. “I feel I’ve created a lot of hope for people who are trying to go down this fighting game career or path.”
Gamers describe Mr Ho’s conquest in Vegas as “quite an awe-inspiring moment” while another said, “it was remarkable, because he’s the only Singaporean that has done it.”
Still, armed with an ‘O’ Level certificate, Mr Ho has had to wrestle with traditional notions of success just to follow his dreams: “Before I started as a pro gamer, everyone thought I was crazy, that I should look for a job, or do something practical instead of wasting my time playing games.”
Still, winning on the world stage has helped Mr Ho begin a new chapter in his gaming career. He is featured in the official SG50 book, which captures the nation’s history and ethos through the stories of individual Singaporeans.
“Being next to people who have climbed mountains, climbed hills and doing very great achievements – I feel like I’m very small,” he…