'I leave on Friday to come back on Monday and go straight to work' - Nemo discusses how he balances being a pro player while still working full time

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • July 24, 2019 at 11:58 a.m. PDT

Naoki "Liquid|Nemo" Nemoto has been one of the strongest competitors in the Japanese fighting game scene for many years now having once achieved the top rank in Street Fighter 4 in the arcade while traveling many weekends to foreign countries for majors and competitions.

Anyone who has traveled to a major like EVO, CEO, Combo Breaker or essentially any tournament that requires flight and hotels knows how time consuming and expensive they can be especially when you need to take time away from work. Even top and sponsored players are not immune to this predicament.

In a recent Twitch stream from June, Nemo talked about how he still works a full-time job while still finding time to practice, travel, stream and meet his other obligations in life which most players in the community can probably relate to.

The top player's day job is actually working within the gaming industry as part of the management of quality assurance at Square Enix keeping track of business flow, efficiency, and timeliness of product development.

Nemo, like most of us, needs to take vacation or paid-time-off from Square to travel to these dozens events on the Capcom Pro Tour which he tries to cut down on as much as he can without missing work. He talks about leaving on Friday on some cases and landing back in Japan Monday mornings and heading straight to work.

Luckily, if Nemo uses up all of his vacation time in a year, his bosses are still cool with him taking unpaid leave to go to events though that will obviously mean docking his pay. His hope is that placing high enough in those Street Fighter 5 tournaments will offset or negate his money and time lost from missing work.

This helps serve as a reminder that most "professional gamers" in the fighting game community still need to work regular jobs typically even with big name sponsors or teams backing them up. In Japan this can be especially true due to the country's strict anti-gambling laws which only more recently allowed players to receive a pro license to take home larger sums of money — though those without licenses are heavily restricted.

Unless they're someone like a Capcom Cup winner or place in the top three in every event, all of the competitors we see gathering from around the world cannot afford the luxury of being a full-time player on their own, and many of those that have won tons of monetary prizes still continue to work as well — I'm not sure where they find all of the time.

The clip from Nemo's stream was translated into English thanks to the efforts of FGC Translated which you can watch for yourself below.

Image Source: Capcom Fighters, Sanjosecalifornia Wikimedia Commons.

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