Kurtis Ling's parents were understandably concerned when he quit university to pursue playing video games full time. Their doubts were swept away this week when the Vancouver native won US$6.6-million.
The multiplayer, online game boasts nearly 10 million active players around the world. The US$18.4-million tournament was sold out, with the live-streamed contest getting stadium-style coverage worthy of the Superbowl.
Ling and his four American teammates beat 15 other squads, besting a Shanghai team in the hours-long final.
Ling, 22, left the University of British Columbia in 2013 to pursue online gaming full time, reported The Ubyssey.
His gamble paid off as he rose to become the highest-earning professional Canadian gamer, bringing in $498,000 during his career, the newspaper said. (Up until now, of course.)
E-sports, as competitive gaming is known, has exploded in recent years, with lucrative sponsorship deals and earnings from live-streaming games up for grabs.
It also comes with thousands of adoring followers; some even sent fan art to Ling and his teammates after their big win:
Ling's mother, Pat, admitted to CBC News that she was skeptical about the viability of her son's career choice.
"We viewed someone playing video games as someone just sitting in front of the computer and playing and playing and not doing anything else," she told the outlet.
"As a parent when you look at that, you're thinking, 'Oh no, that's my son and he's wasting his life.'"
But she's got almost seven million reasons to change her mind now, describing Ling's win as "incredible."
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