Bailey Murdoch’s parents were dumbfounded when he emerged from his bedroom and declared that he was now a professional gamer.
The 20-year-old says he simply stumbled upon the career.
After suffering a season ending shoulder injury playing for the Waimea College 1st XV, Bailey was forced to sit on the side-lines for six months.
He says he gained weight and lost motivation.
However, it was during this time that he became immersed in the gaming scene.
Things started small for Bailey, taking part in competitions with a $20 prize pool.
But Bailey has since enjoyed a meteoric rise and was recently the only New Zealander named in the E-Sport team “Mindfreak” to compete in next month’s Melbourne Esports Open 2019, which has $50,000 up for grabs.
These events are proving popular with weekend tickets at the 7,500-seat arena already sold out -going for $215 AUD.
Bailey signed his first contract with “Dark Sided” as an 18-year-old before joining Mindfreak earlier this year.
The team play in the Rainbow Six Siege ESL Pro League encompassing teams from Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania.
The primary objective of the tactical shooter game is to diffuse a bomb and eliminate enemies.
Games typically last about 40 minutes with the first side to win seven rounds declared the victor.
“It can get pretty exhausting and intense,” Bailey says.
He has logged 5000 hours of playing time in his chosen game, training most evenings until midnight.
“Persistence is key, as with anything you want to succeed at, you have to put time and effort.”
While excited about his career choice, there is one decision Bailey does regret, his gaming nickname “cutie”.
“I really hate that name, I didn’t choose it for myself. I was dating a girl and she changed the names on my games. When I started playing it was ‘Bailey is a Cutie’. It’s just stuck.
While currently working part-time at Dominoes, Bailey hopes he can ditch the pizza boxes soon to game fulltime.
“I am hoping this can be my career, it all depends on how well we do this season.”
He says he hoped to one day compete in an international competition.
“I love travelling, so to do something I love, play games and travel, would be a dream come true.”