THZ is a Belgian pro-player, known for being one of the best European players on PUBG. He has been part of Millenium’s roaster since October 2017. He was highlighted after winning the 2017 Gamescom, and appearing during streaming sessions with ZeratoR’s “Fight for Sub”.
KYKLOS: What is your academic and professional background? What games have you been playing? Which gaming companies did you join and what competitions did you play?
THZ: I studied in Belgium and had my accounting CESS (A-level). Then I went through two years of business and E-business, while I was working in a fast-food in Belgium (French fries). French fries are very famous there! I worked for 4 years in this fast food while I was studying. During my 2nd E-business year, terrorist attacks began, threatening our country and therefore I decided to join the Belgian army as a commando soldier. But 3 weeks after, my mother fell sick badly. I stopped the army and attended Automotive Marketing courses which allowed me both to take care of her (evening classes) and to fulfill my passion for cars.
The first computer game I started to play was Age of Empires on my brother’s computer. Then CSS, COD2, I preferred COD, so I trained a lot on COD2 and migrated on COD4 where I started to train and to attend wars (matches).
At this time, I was too young to go to LANs or any other events, I was never a pro or semi-pro, I just began with PUBG at Millenium.
K: What was the process to become a pro player, particularly on PUBG?
THZ: I started playing PUBG in May and I streamed in a way that would make it my next job, I put aside everything, social life, professional career.
In August, PUBG announced its first competition at Gamescom (Cologne, Germany) with a $350,000 cash prize which would be shared between each gaming mode SOLO, DUO, TPP, DUO FPP, SQUAD! My Swiss teammate “ Yukie” and I qualified via the online leaderboard, and we were then invited to play the qualifiers on-site at Cologne and then to play the main competition.
There were 4 games at the LAN’s qualifiers, which means 4 chances to win. The first game was won by Yukie and I. We had our pass for the main competition. We won it and earned $15,000 each! Amazing.
Following the win, our name became famous, remarked and we had several phone calls, emails…and Millenium proposed us to join them for the squad (4 players). I started searching 2 more players and Dahmien7 & Sezk0 joined us to fill the squad!
K: What is the typical day for a pro player? Do the preparation change when competitions are incoming?
THZ: Well, it’s quite easy ! Many companies impose “gaming houses”, strict work schedules…but at Millenium we are free, we are our own. I often wake up around 10 a.m ( I know it’s late ! ), then I shower myself, eat breakfast…as, everyone…And then I start streaming, solo tryharding, discussion with viewers etc…I stop streaming around 5 p.m. I eat at 6 p.m, it’s early but it’s required because training between pros (SCRIM) start around 7 p.m and last until 11 p.m or midnight because there may be some debriefings.
We play from Sunday to Thursday, without going out, without going to the restaurant or without losing 3 hours with friends. Friday and Saturday are free so we can have a social life, but I prefer to keep training or chilling. I rarely go out so my typical week is like 8 hours of PUBG + Stream, 7/7. I often go to sleep at 3 a.m, I need time to shut down the stream, or end a tournament or a long debriefing session, plus reading emails, Twitter, notifications…I sleep like 7 hours a day.
K: What do you think about the BR development trend? How do you imagine this kind of game in a few years? Are you for a casualization of BR? How do you explain the decrease in players ( at least in Europe)?
THZ: PUBG has skyrocketed for months without having any direct rival. Then Fortnite, which is more cartoon-like and for casual gamers, was released. Today’s trend is BR, I think that each year there is a new trend, we had WAR Z, DAYZ, ISS, NEW Z type survival zombies, then we had some other games such as Hearthstone, and some FPS like Overwatch. PUBG is known for its strong PC hardware consumption which is, in my opinion, its weakness, whereas Fortnite can be played with some cheaper hardware. Well, PUBG is split into two categories, regular players, and pro players. Games are totally different in each category, our zones’ rules too, our weapons’ spawn etc. There are two different aspects of PUBG. Today PUBG is being criticized for its glitches, but I have no doubt about the work that BLUEHOLE does on PUBG.
K: Will you play another game in the future? Have you ever thought about your reconversion after your gaming career?
THZ: As a great fan of MMO & FPS, I already thought about it, like Rainbow Six Siege (R6) which is a realistic game like PUBG, a kind of tactic/precision game. I don’t really think about the post-pro-gamer time. I hope I’ll stay some years on the pro-gaming scene. If my career has to stop, I would still have my stream to keep on living and trying to bounce back on another game.
K: Is it possible to earn enough to live with gaming today? Is it easy?
THZ: Well, still not enough…E-sport is gaining ground, and that’s great. Gaming pubs, gaming zones, pro tutorials, gaming specialized lawyers for the contracts are incoming, but it is still too slow in my opinion. It really depends on your country, for example, Swiss and Belgium are really late compared to France. So, it’s not easy to have some budget, some companies often pay less than €1,400, when some others pay more than €10,000 per month! The path is hard and long but not impossible!
K: How do you expect gaming to evolve on a short and mid-term? Are you satisfied with it?
THZ: As I said, E-sport is gaining ground, it’s great. Games, tournaments have more and more financial and technical support. Big brands are also creating strategies towards gaming, some automotive brands are sponsoring some gaming companies for example! Something funny is the bankers that now know PUBG or what a streamer is ! So, yes, gaming is growing fast, I can tell you that our parents and grandparents are not ready for it ! When I announced my job to my mother for example , at first she didn’t believe it, the same scene happens when you talk about your job at your hairdresser or anyone else ! When you talk about E-sport, their first question is “how much do you earn ?”. So, yes gaming has still to grow, so it will finally become a proper job !