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Life of GamerBee: Bruce reveals annual salary, talks about leaving the hotel industry to be a pro gamer

Posted by Cheng Kai 'KarbyP' Sim • April 30, 2015 at 9:24 a.m. PDT • Comments: 42

A news program on Taiwanese television station TVBS recently did a feature on Taiwan's one-and-only fighting game pro gamer -- AVerMedia's Bruce "GamerBee" Hsiang.

Although the segment on AVM|GamerBee is really more of a report meant to introduce what a pro gamer does to mainstream audiences in Taiwan, in this exclusive interview with TVBS, GamerBee reveals that prior to becoming a pro gamer with AVerMedia four years ago, he was actually working in the hotel industry.

GamerBee also talks about his annual wage and his history with fighting games.

Thanks to the official TVBS YouTube channel, you can now watch the entire feature on GamerBee in the clip below.

The clip is in Chinese, however -- but no worries. As EventHubs's very own Cheng-Kai "KarbyP" Sim happens to be Singaporean Chinese, we've provided here a brief summary of some of the points mentioned in the report.
"Gaming can be a profession. Now let's take a look at a 36-year-old Taiwanese man, a pro gamer, who's so good at playing the classic video game Street Fighter that he clinched 2nd place at a world-class tournament," the female presenter says at the beginning of the clip.

"Whenever he makes an appearance at a gaming center, a line of fans form just to challenge him at a game. And when his fans are defeated, they rejoin the line for another round. They're playing the classic video game, Street Fighter, which has been going strong for 25 years.

"And this man (GamerBee) is so good at Street Fighter that not only are his overseas trips to competitions paid for, but he also makes an annual wage of at least 1 million dollars."

Yes, you read that correctly. According to the report, AVM|GamerBee makes an annual wage of about 1 million dollars as a pro gamer.

That's not in American dollars, of course. This is a news report meant for audiences in Taiwan, so naturally that's 1 million New Taiwan Dollars we're dealing with here -- which translates to about U.S. $33,000.

While that may not sound like a lot, it isn't too shabby for a passion job. Besides, GamerBee's NT $1 million annual wage (or about NT $83,000 per month) is actually almost twice as much as the national average in Taiwan, which is around NT $44,000 per month according to these figures. According to this other report from The China Post, in Taiwan, managerial positions can earn up to NT $62,000 a month, while fresh graduates typically earn around NT $25,000 to NT $30,000 monthly.

NT $25,000 to NT $30,000 is also the average for the service sector, so AVM|GamerBee's current wage is certainly an increase over his previous job in the hotel industry, which he left behind four years ago.

"I started playing Street Fighter right around my elementary school days. So I've been playing it for over 20 years now," GamerBee says in the interview part of the segment.

"Currently I'm the only fighting games professional gamer (in Taiwan). In terms of income, in a year I would say it's close to NT $1 million."

There are, however, other professional gamers in Taiwan dealing with other genres of competitive video games -- but it's nevertheless a job that very few can do.

"More and more games these days are making it possible for these kinds of opportunities to exist. But to make it as a professional gamer and turn your passion into a living, that's still something that very few people are able to accomplish," Quaker Liu, the Team Manager for the Taiwanese League of Legends competitive team Taipei Assassins chimes in.

Video from TVBS.
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