Ho Kun Xian
Evolution 2013, Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (2012) World Champion
When did you start playing video games? I started playing when I was ten. I was always interested in fighting games like Street Fighter II, the Marvel series and King of Fighters. When did you realize you were good enough to play games professionally? I entered my first overseas competition in 2009 when I was 18 (Street Fighter IV, Dreamhack 2009, Sweden). I managed to get second place overall, so that’s when I really became motivated and started to strive to make it even further as a pro. After that, I started travelling more to try to get more experience playing with other people. But even though I won a few tournaments here and there, it was only this year that I won my first world championship at EVO. What other games do you play? I also play King of Fighters and Marvel vs Capcom competitively. I like them because I’ve played them since I was young, but I play Street Fighter the most because it’s the most popular game and, as a pro-gamer, I believe that you have to play and be the best at the most popular game. When you’re preparing for a tournament what does your average day look like? I usually practice when I’m free but if a tournament is coming up, I’ll practice about four to eight hours a day. As well as playing against opponents in Singapore, I like to watch videos of other pros so I can study the play style of my opponents, and I’ll also go into the training lab to practice. You entered EVO in both 2011 and 2012, but were knocked out both times. How did you improve so much in the space of just one year? I was really motivated to do better after I lost last year. I knew that Singapore had the potential to go much further and I wanted to prove myself and my country to the rest of the world, so I practiced really hard for this year’s tournament. Why did you pick Gen to play? I used to play Yun, which was a bit unpopular, because he’s such a high tier character, so I would get boos from the crowd whenever I played overseas. I realized I enjoy competing more when the crowd is supporting me, so because of that I switched to Gen, who was really not popular at all, at the time. Also, because nobody really played Gen, I knew that if I put in the effort and made him strong, I would have an advantage because people wouldn’t know how to fight against him - and I also think he’s pretty cool. Now that you’ve won at EVO and more people are studying your game, do you think you might have lost any of that surprise advantage? I’ll see how it goes, but I’ll probably be sticking to Gen for now. Even though more people might start playing him, I don’t think he’s easy to pick up, and it will take a long time for people to learn how to play him. Who is the toughest you’ve faced? Infiltration, he’s definitely one of the scariest opponents out there. He’s always coming up with new tricks, so it’s very hard to know what his next move will be. Other than the EVO 2013 finals, what is your most memorable match? The semi-finals match against Sako Noko from Japan at EVO 2013. I had previously lost to him in the Topanga Asia League in Japan, and the match itself was really close, so I’ll always remember that one. What do you think of the Singapore pro-gaming scene? The standard here in Singapore, especially for fighting games, is very high and I’m only able to get to the level I’m at because I have such good opponents to play against. But, I think it’s a bit socially awkward to say you’re a pro-gamer in Singapore right now, because people here don’t really recognize it as a profession. So when you tell people you’re a pro-gamer, they’ll tell you to go study or go get a good job instead. I really hope people will start recognizing that pro-gamers are just doing what they love because I believe pursuing your dreams in life is very important.
I usually practice when I’m free but if a tournament is coming up, I’ll practice
about four to eight hours a day.