Singaporean duo to head to Amsterdam this weekend for FIFA eWorld Cup
Mr Joseph Yeo was sitting for his O-level examinations in 2009 when he told his parents he wanted to be a professional gamer.
They couldn't believe it and were disappointed their son had chosen a career playing video games.
That same year, the Holy Innocents' High School student came in third at the Hyundai Motors Cup Singapore Finals, playing Fifa, the popular football simulation video game.
And this weekend, Yeo, 25, will represent Singapore in an international gaming competition with US$500,000 (S$670,000) at stake.
The full-time professional gamer and his Team Flash teammate, Mr Amraan Gani, 24, will be in Amsterdam marking Singapore's debut in the Fifa eWorld Cup Global Series Playoffs on Friday.
Team Flash is a Singaporean eSports organisation with 12 full-time professional gamers across three South-east Asian countries.
The play-offs will feature 64 international players, including from eSports heavyweights China and the United States. The last 16 will progress to the eWorld Cup Grand Finals in London in August.
Mr Yeo, a Chelsea fan, said he plays at least six to eight hours every day.
He said: "It's not like gaming for fun. It might sound like a dream job, but it's really not. Like any other job, there's a lot of stress involved.
"Because of gaming, I've had to sacrifice my social life. Gaming takes up a lot of my time and that means giving up opportunities to meet and catch up with friends."
After his O levels, Mr Yeo went on to pursue marketing at Nanyang Polytechnic, but dropped out soon after.
He recounted: "My parents were very unhappy, and up till today they're still very sceptical about me gaming as a career.
"They don't outright reject it, because I'm still earning monthly from gaming, as well as tournament winnings. But deep down, I know they want me to go back to school to get a degree ."
Liverpool fan Amraan, a maritime studies undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University, games around six hours daily.
He said: "I try to play every day after school, but the number of hours depends on whether I've got exams or competitions coming up."
On Monday, Team Flash founder Terence Ting announced a partnership with the Singapore's Cybersports and Online Gaming Association and sponsorship deals with Logitech and DXRacer.