KUALA LUMPUR: For 23-year-old Malaysian gamer Tue Soon Chuan (Ah Fu), his life-changing triumph at the prestigious The International Dota 2 tournament has not quite sunk in yet.
Tue, who hails from the little fishing town of Tanjung Sepat, Selangor, said he would never have imagined that his favourite pastime could one day turn him into an instant millionaire.
“I started playing Dota for fun when I was 13. That was 10 years ago,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
Driven by his love for competition and inspired by the exploding eSports industry, Tue decided to take the plunge and become a professional Dota 2 player when he turned 20.
“One day, I told my parents about my plans, and that I would do my best to achieve my dreams. They seemed supportive of my decision and I just went for it... never looked back,” he said.
Tue, who started playing for an amateur team at 18, broke into the professional scene after being signed by Chinese team LGD.Forever Young (LFY), in a high-profile transfer in May.
Tue and his team eventually placed third at the seventh edition of The International tournament last weekend and won more than US$2.6 million (RM11.2 million) in prize money.
Dubbed as one of the breakout stars this year, Tue joins a select lineup of Malaysians who have been able to call themselves the absolute best in professional Dota 2.
Despite all the international recognition he has received, Tue said he is humbled and honoured by the opportunity to entertain millions of Dota 2 fans around the world.
“My team and I headed into the tournament with zero expectations. We just wanted to try our best and have fun. I’m obviously happy with the result, but the reality hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” he said.
Fresh from his victory, Tue said he has no plans to return to Malaysia anytime soon.
“I plan to continue my career in China. I joined LFY because I felt I needed to improve myself and I still have a lot to learn,” he said, adding that his ultimate aim is to win The International next year.
Only one Malaysian has managed to lift the coveted trophy so far. Wong Hock Chuan, who played for another Chinese team Invictus Gaming, was inducted into Dota 2’s hall of fame by winning the event in 2012.
“To achieve success, you need to work very, very hard. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time,” Tue told aspiring professional gamers.
As for his newfound wealth, Tue said he will put the money to good use. But his immediate plan is to buy himself a new pair of shoes