E-Sports @OnRPG: February 14th – Special Interview with Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson!
By Umar Farooq (Kluey), OnRPG Journalist
This week I had the pleasure of getting an interview done with one of my all time favourite North American players; Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson. Geoff is an aspiring player that has been around since day one. He was an extremely good player in Broodwar and has now shifted that talent over to Starcraft II. Geoff is currently part of team EG and plays the Protoss race. His primary goal as of right now is to attend and do well at tournaments in 2012.
1. Hello, please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little bit about what you do for a living?
Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to be a pro-gamer? Do you ever regret your decision especially on those days where nothing is going right for you?
Hi, my name is Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson and I play SC2 professionally for team Evil Geniuses. I was a competitive SCBW player for over 10 years and when SC2 was on the horizon EG came around wanting to start a SC2 squad based on strong BW players.. I was lucky enough to be asked! No, I don’t regret it.. I wake up each day “commute” down to my computer and play the game I love for a living. I travel the world, meet awesome people and do what I love for money.. what is there to regret?
2. What are the hardest things about being a pro-gamer, and the most amazing events you’ve had happen? What’re some highlights in your career that you will forever remember? Many people consider you the voice of E-Sports or at least the voice of foreigner’s in Starcraft 2. Did you strive to achieve this title or did it just happen? Do you see this as a positive thing or negative? How have you adapted to the notion of always representing someone whenever you speak and not being able to say what you really feel at times?
Ups and downs come and go. Being loved for what I do has had its highs like meeting awesome fans, traveling around the world and working with companies I believe in. Low points are there as well. Nobody likes losing and it sucks when you lose a lot for a period of time.
I have always been a bit of a natural leader. I am honored to have people look to hear what I say.. it’s what I feel I am capable of doing and to have the backing of people I care about means a lot to me. Did I strive for this? No, I “never asked for this.” I will always do my best to lead and do better for those around me.. whether people want to come along is up to them. This is of course a huge part of my enjoyment and I rely on it to feel fulfilled. That said, sure I sometimes don’t get to say exactly what I want to but you know what? Those who have the attention of the public eye don’t always get to be as liberal as they want and that comes with the territory.
3. Let’s talk a little bit about foreigners in Starcraft 2. How do the foreigners compare to the Koreans? In the future, do you expect this to change or go the same route as it did in Starcraft 1: Broodwar?
Non-Koreans are enjoying an amazing period of time where a LOT of the attention via streaming and public attention is focused on them. In BW it was the opposite by a large margin.. that was because the story of the pro-gamer in Korea was told with a lot more romance. Now that the money is outside of Korea and the competition in terms of tourneys exceeds that of Korea we get more of an opportunity to glorify the non-Korean EVEN if they aren’t as good as their Korean counterparts. What the future holds is any man’s guess but I would presume a lot of the big Koreans go abroad to international teams so that they can still have a Korean presence while reaping the benefits of the non-Korean scene. Koreans will probably always be better but I’d like to think the non-Koreans can keep up as much as possible.
4. Over the past months I’ve noticed that foreign sponsors and teams have been gaining more and more Korean players. EG, for example, has two Korean players. Can you talk a little bit about this? Why are foreign teams recruiting Koreans as the language barriers and expensive flights are very taxing?
Korean players are better for the most part. If you want to recruit a dedicated, professional, top of the line gamer a Korean is a safe bet. They also add a really nice dynamic to your organization as they broaden the reach of your brand. If EG is mostly American then a lot of our attention is American based.. if we field Koreans then the Korean scene and international scene at large has more interest.
5. In say 5-10 years when your hands slow down and motivation to practice 10 hours a day fades, what do you see yourself doing career-wise? Many people consider pro-gaming as a huge risk where only the top few will make a living out of it and the rest will end up regretting every moment of it. How do you feel about this?
I would like to be in eSports so maybe casting, running a team or working for one of the companies I have gotten to know through my experience. As for other pro-gamers I don’t know.. depends on their interest. Most will move on and do regular jobs.. a lot will get an education (only older) and some will stick around. Who knows? Nobody should become a pro-gamer to make a fortune or work a stable safe life-long job.
6. Who do you think is an upcoming player that we should all be on the lookout for?
Hmm great question. There are a lot of young players who are cutting a name for themselves.. Illusion from Vile, State from Vile, Boyo the kid from the NE that is so young and already pretty good.. then you have some EU underdogs like Snuts, Titan, DBS and others.. any or none could make it. If I had to bet I’d say State becomes a household name in 2012.
7. Thank you Geoff, any last shout outs you’d like to give? Where can fans find you and which tournament should be looking for you at in the near future?
Thanks! Shout outs to the usual suspects: my team EG, my sponsors Intel, Steelseries, Monster, Kingston, Beyond Gaming and Saphire. People can find me on twitter @ EGiNcontroL, Twitch.tv iNcontroLTV and I have a facebook fan page just search for “iNcontroL”
MLG European Qualifiers
The MLG European Qualifiers were very unsuccessful in my opinion. I had expected over 20,000 viewers to tune in for a few reasons. Firstly, it is the debut of the new MLG format. How things will look, how things will run and how good the games will be is something everyone was wondering. Secondly, it is an MLG. I cannot remember the last time people did not look forward to an MLG. And lastly, the player line up was stacked. You can take say, a Dreamhack player pool and this player pool and it would be hard to tell which has more talent. With all these reasons in mind, why did more people not show up? I cannot say for sure but it definitely has to do with the time zones being taxing on the European community. Here’s a tip MLG: Don’t run a European tournament at a strictly North American time.
Now, all bad things aside, the games were epic and the results were even better. Aside from the fact that they all were leaked a few days before, the games were awesome. If you have not watched the qualifiers, watch them. Even if you watch only your favourite players, watch them! Some of my favourites were SaSe, Grubby and ThorZaIN.
Overall, the qualifiers need to be worked on. You cannot be the leading foreign tournament and have crappy qualifiers. People checking player profiles and visiting the match history constantly leak the results (as I am typing this up, turns out the NA qualifiers and KR qualifiers were both leaked). Be it Blizzard’s fault, MLG has to work around this. There needs to be rebroadcasts for NA, EU and KR if they cannot find a time suitable for everyone. I certainly hope the final event will be huge, as things are looking grim for MLG now.