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Sky

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The Creator’s Project: Is being a professional video game player similar to being another type of athlete? Do you intensive training periods, for example?

Sky: I have lots of training sessions every day. I train from ten in the morning into the night and practice with my opponents from different provinces whenever I get the chance. Sometimes, I go to play basketball or work out to mix it up a bit.

How did your parents react when you said you wanted to make your living playing video games?

At first of my parents opposed it, but when I began to become better and better—eventually landing a spot on the national team—they started to realize what I did was legitimate. I think most parents are respectful of their children's choices, as long as they are successful (laughs). As for my girlfriend, she works for a gaming company, and we met each other at a conference. She totally gets what I’m doing. I feel lucky to be so supported by my loved ones.

Being a professional gamer has brought you fame and fortune, but what else do you take away from your job? Do you learn valuable life lessons?

I think playing games can give you life experience--it’s just like working anyplace else. When I’m training, I learn how to solve problems. Besides, I get to go to lots of countries and make friends with different people while playing video games, so I've learned a lot about the world just by being out and about in it for my career.

How will gaming develop in the next 20 years?

I think games will become more realistic. In the future, gaming and sports will be combined. For example, there will be devices that make people feel they are actually playing a sport via simulation, like the Wii but much more advanced.

How about in the next 50 years?

I think everything will be connected to computers. Computer games will become more popular, and more people will play them. Eventually, playing computer games will be classified as a professional sport and professional gamers will be as popular as basketball players.

Most pro gamers seem really young, even compared to professional athletes. At what age do gamers think about retiring?

I think most players start to play computer games professionally when they’re 17 or 18 years old, and I would say they probably play best at that time. The reason they play so well is because during that time they don’t need to worry about anything but playing. All they need to do is focus on what they have in front of them. When people get older, they need to think about different aspects of life, such as relationships and their families, so most athletes retire at 27 or 28 years old. However, there is no absolute connection between your age and the time you retire. We can be gamers as long as we want. I want to be the first person who is still playing games professionally at 30 years old.

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At a glance

Professional player.

Alias: We.Pepsi.Sky, Li XiaoFeng
Location: Zhongguancun Beijing, China
Profession: Gamer
Team: World Elite
Website: blog.sina.com
Notables: Member of World Cyber Games Hall of Fame; 2008 ESports Award China Player of the Year; 2006 GGL Player of the year