Professional Gamer Discovers Talent in QA
A once well-known pro gamer takes on a managerial role in the QA team at Pearl Abyss (although he denies he was ever a pro gamer!). Here’s a glimpse into the life of a professional Esports gamer and what he does at a gaming company.
His name “Kuk-Kun,” meaning “Armed Forces” in Korean, symbolizing the day he was born, August 1st (Armed Forces Day), a National Holiday in Korea.
Favorite Game: Fortress, and Star Craft
Like most others, I first encountered games by spending time with friends and going to arcades with them. When I was in 6th grade, internet cafes were popular and I often went there or to a friend’s house to play computer games. That’s really when I first got into computer games, and would play games like Star Craft and Fortress. Actually, I didn’t study much in middle school because I was spending most of my time happily playing games instead.
How I Became a Pro Gamer
In my first year of high school, there was a Nationwide Star Craft Competition organized by a multiple Student Council Committee. I was nominated as class representative by my classmates, and that led to me becoming the school representative. It was a really enjoyable time..
I found myself up against so many talented competitors though, and I didn’t do very well. But the experience really made me consider becoming an Esports gamer, so I spoke to my parents about it.
My parents were a firm believer in “Do what you love”, but they didn’t believe that pursuing a career in Esports was a good idea. They thought it would be difficult down the line. But I didn’t give up and spoke to them about it again. They finally gave me their approval and after 2 years of preparation, I joined an Esports organization.
Dorm-life to First Team
When I first joined the organization, I was designated to the Second Team dorm. Second Team members had to take on cleaning and meal prep duties. Living in a dorm wasn’t easy, and the life of a gamer was one long repetition of eat, practice, and sleep. A lot of people didn’t see it through.
As for me, I endured and saw it through to the end. I was then able to join the First Team and participate in competitions that were being broadcasted. Although I wasn’t famous, I was lucky enough to have some fans and they created a fan cafe – a forum where fans can sign up and interact with their idols. I also received a lot of fan letters and even had a fan meeting. It was a very intriguing experience.
“What I love to do, what I’m good at doing.”
After I was discharged from military service, my life as an Esports gamer came to an end, and I contemplated what to do with my life next. I tried out many part-time jobs, even working at a car factory, and often wondered “is this the right path?”. The thing I loved and was good at were games, so I naturally leaned towards that. I was especially interested in how games were developed, so I started researching the different learning paths available to me and continued to grow my knowledge of games over the next two years. Of the different roles in the field of game development, I was most interested in the QA role. So, I worked towards my goal and was able to start working at a games company.
Finding Pearl Abyss
I gained experience by working on different tasks at my first job, but due to poor management, the company fell into financial crisis. As soon as I had taken a break from that, I was eager to jump back into pursuing my career. During the process of job searching, I came across a job posting at Pearl Abyss. Without hesitating, I applied and got the job.
My first impression of the company was that it was a fast-paced environment, and I was really impressed by that. But for me, the best thing about Pearl Abyss was how they resolved issues - people communicated with each other, provided feedback, and resolved things right away.
The Impact of a Pro Gamer Working in the QA Field
A quality that a QA specialist must have is the ability to perceptualize how users may experience the game. In the process of providing feedback, the ability to think of situations that were unthought of enables the developers to make improvements before the game goes live. My experience as a professional Esports gamer, and the countless number of hours I’ve spent playing games, has really benefited me and allowed me to perform this role to the best of my abilities.
Dream Goals of a Bug-free Game
It’s important that users get a gaming experience that is well balanced and bug-free. As a gamer, I can really relate to this, so I take pride in the QA work I do. The most rewarding part of being a QA tester is when the game content I’ve specifically worked on goes live without any issues and has an excellent outcome.
I hope to face anything that comes my way, and live by these words: “Enjoy life as much as you enjoy games.”