Vikash Singh, 27
Professional gamer and coach at Chaos Theory Singapore
How did you become a professional gamer?
I started around 2009 with a then-popular game called Black Shot and played that competitively until 2012. When Overwatch came out in 2016, my friends and I formed a team and competed in our first tournament – we came in second. There, we caught the eye of our current manager, Zanthel Tan, from Chaos Theory – an e-sports organisation that supports players financially and with training facilities.
How do people generally react when you share that you are a pro gamer?
My girlfriend introduced me to her brothers by saying ‘my boyfriend is a pro gamer’. They were like ‘really? Is that a thing?’ She had to show them a newspaper clipping I was featured in to convince them.
Take us through a typical day at work...
We have a tournament every Sunday so we spend five to six days training. On our rest day, we analyse our mistakes. Overwatch is a very flexible game – making the wrong call at the wrong time will cost you the entire game. Even after training we still play on our own to sharpen our skills, aim and muscle memory.
What are some challenges you face?
We usually end up injuring our wrists. There are also neck and back pains to deal with. The level of stress is very high – the same for a regular sportsman – so some players do have breakdowns.
Do you think Singaporeans are more accepting of e-sports as a profession now?
Many may see gamers as lazy people who sit in front of the computer all day but it’s actually quite difficult and very tiring. There’s a difference between people who are just gaming with no direction and others who are are actually honing their skills to become professional players. But e-sports is gaining traction – even ESPN covers it. We also do tournaments in conventions and malls, which are exciting to watch live.