Daily e-sports

[Update Talk] 'Ambition'’s Successful Transformation to Streamer

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Who do you think will be voted as the professional League of Legends (LoL) player with the most unexpected charm? It would probably be Chan-yong 'Ambition’ Kang, who's known for two contradictingnicknames, 'ppatta(Korean-style English loanword for 'bat') and 'lovebird'.

Despite the absence of facial expression (or even scary-looking) andbrusqueness which earned him the nickname 'Ppatta Kang', he never stoppedexpressing his 'lovebird' attitude for Sol-ji Maeng, his wife. And after theretirement from the pro scene, he now shows off his humorous side at hispersonal stream, hence the glorious title 'stream main'. His life just cannotbe explained without the word 'plot twist'.

While still too young to retire, Ambition chose to end his professional careerand started streaming right away. And now, fans are loving him for his hidden(?) talent in streaming, asking him why he didn't stream earlier.

While we have heard plenty from the professional gamer 'Ambition', he's heretoday to share stories as Chan-yong Kang. Now putting on his professionalstreamer face on, his interview starts now.

DES = Please say hi to the fans.

Ambition = Hello. This is Chan-yong Kang, a streamer. It's great to meet youagain through a media interview. It's my first interview as a streamer, not aretired player, so I feel a bit nervous.

DES = I was genuinely surprised. You have a way with words, and your abilityto prepare the content was also outstanding.

Ambition = I guess it's because of the strong character I had, especially withthe nickname 'Ppatta' (laughs). Because of that, people would've seen me as aquiet person, not a streamer material.I also had doubts on myself. While I knowthat I still have a lot to learn, but it's great that fans are looking at mygood side.

DES = Indeed, I never expected the 'Ppatta' to be a great talker. Anunexpected charm, I should say (laughs).

Ambition = To be honest, I am talkative and warm-hearted, and my formerteammates already know my true self. Of course, I tend to talk a lot moreduring streams, but I have this talkative and fun me deep inside.

Knowing how to hide my feelings was the first thing I learnt as a professionalgamer. Showing emotions on face is a great weakness as a pro, and so I triedhard to keep a nonchalant air during official events. And as time went by, itsettled in as my trademark.

DES = So your colleagues knew. But they've been telling me that you actuallywere scary.

Ambition = They were acting as if they were scared just to help me maintain myimage, and honestly, they are not scared of me. They were pretendingas if I wasactually scaryto protect the image I earned, while in real life I treat themlike a brother next door. Players from other teams may have seen me as a scaryperson, since I never had the chance to show them my true self.

DES = So you never beat up other players(laughs).

Ambition= That's a rumor (laughs). Never at this world and age. Just to beabsolutely clear, I solemnly swear that I have never beaten up younger players(laughs).I'm sure fans would already know, but they were just pretending the rumor to betrue just to add a little more fun.

DES = It seems that your unexpected charm greatly contributed to your stream.

Ambition= If I was known to be talkative, fans would have expected me to bethat way. However, because of this quiet and brusque image that built upthroughout the years, I believe fans were half curious, half worried about mestreaming. And with lower expectations on my stream, they were easilysatisfiedwith what I was doing.

The reason why I am being loved as a streamer is not because I am an amazingstreamer, but because of the image that built up during my professional gamingcareer. I believe that the gap between my previous and current impression, and myachievements as a professional gamer is what attracts the fans. And I am alwaysthankful for their support.

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DES = Surely you must've hated the nickname 'Ppatta' at first.

Ambition= No one likes a nickname with a violent image. I figured it would goaway soon, but it went on for 7 years. There were times when I hated that, butthere were more pros than cons as the nickname helped me get along with thefans. I'm pretty sure that I am the professional gamer with the most 'memes' inKorea.

It seems that all nicknames become positive when I perform well, and negativewhen I don't perform well. Had I not won the World Championship, 'Ppatta' wouldhave remained a silly and negative nickname.

DES = And because of the nickname, fans expected that a coach would be theperfect job for you. There were speculations that you would be appointed as acoach because you were a good leader in the team.

Ambition = In fact, there were offers, and my friends also told me that Ishould consider taking those offers. But I didn't feel like it, mainly becauseI wouldn't be as happy as when I was a player even if I won the WorldChampionship as a coach.

Maybe after a certain amount of time, I would feel happy and proud winningtitles as a coach, but that just didn't seem like the case for me now. I feltthat wouldn't be genuinely happy about it, basically because I was stillconfident as a player. Also, becoming a coach just because I can't play in thepro scene anymore was unacceptable. And so because of all these reasons, Idecided that it wasn't the right time for me to become a coach, and I havenever regretted the decision.

DES = I believe becoming a successful streamer provides another viableoption for younger pro players when they have to decide on a path afterretirement.

Ambition= I thought the same. But to be honest, during my career as a player Inever thought about the life after the retirement. I was confident that if I domy best as a professional gamer, I would be fine with everything I encounterlater in my life. It's important to focus on the current role, and it's a wasteof time to worry about the stuffs that did not even happen to me yet.

Would I be as popular as a streamer if I hadn't done my best during myprofessional career? I believe not. I am confident that if the players outthere try hard and achieve good results, they will also succeed in the lifeafter retirement, no matter what they do.

So, for younger players, I would like to tell them to set aside their worrieson life after retirement, and focus on what they are currently facing, and trytheir best so that they don't regret afterwards. A door will open for the diligent.

DES = You were a hard-working player, and it's great to see you that you'realso a hard-working streamer. I was particularly surprised at the diversity ofthe content.

Ambition= I have a lot going on in my head nowadays, just as much as when I wasa player, basically because I have to think about how I should do the nextstream. When you're done with something, you should feel relieved, right? Butwhen I finish my stream, I have to start thinking about how I should do thenext stream. I didn't know that streams would entail so many concerns.

When I first started streaming, I didn't know it would snowball this big. It'snot that I had this great ambition: I just didn't want to fall into idleness.But it turned out this way.

However, I try to keep my stream fun enough for myself. If I don't enjoystreaming, there's no way that my viewers will be entertained, and so I try tocome up with stuffs that I can also enjoy.It's not an easy task, but I am gladthat I am able to enjoy and not suffer fromthis.

DES = Your LCK analysis was amazing. Fans are loving it too.

Ambition= I was worried that I focused too much on entertainment. And I had tocome up with something exclusive, something only I can do. As a former pro withLCK and Worlds titles, I felt that sharing my perspective on the game would behelpful for fans, and I was surprised to see it become a big hit.

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DES = Some were saying that you would make a good commentator. Any thoughts?


Ambition= I just don't think so(laughs). Private commentary and officialcommentary are different. Official commentators have to make wise word choices,and above all I'm not sure if I can do that at all. During the stream I justlay out the stuffs I know in a light-hearted manner, and that's quite differentto what official commentators do; they have to provide all availableinformation in a precise and succinct manner.

Also it seems that commentators have to talk about stuffs that they don't wantto. And I just can't be that type of person. If I was in the officialcommentator's seat, people would be able to tell that I don't want to talkabout something (laughs). I am enjoying what I am doing right now, so doingother jobs is just not an option now.

DES = I've heard that when professional gamers retire and stream, they findit hard to break free from their image as a player. What do you think?

Ambition= At the beginning, I also thought a lot about about which stance Ishould take, a streamer or a professional gamer. I used to stream when I was aplayer, so I was concerned about whether I should show my different side oruphold my pride as a professional gamer.

It took quite a while for me to come to a conclusion, but I believe that notdwelling on the time as a player and putting on the streamer mindset isimportant. Being oneself and drawing the fans closer is crucial. Streaming isnot a one-day gig; it's a new job. And being proud about the past will not makethe stream any more attractive. But to be honest, I think that pride seems togo away naturally as you stream.

DES = It seems that you're creating a wonderful synergy with the videoeditors. Most of all, they seem to understand the characteristics of yourstream.

Ambition= I currently have two video editors working with me now. I personallyprefer those whom I can discuss about the long-term growth of the stream andunderstand my style of streaming and editing over those who are moreexperienced and have their own ways. But it turned out that while there weremany experienced and skilled editors out there, it was really difficult to findeditors that met my criteria. So that took quite a while.

I am a bit picky, giving out directions and feedbacks on every detail from thetempo of the clip to the effects, but the editors help me out so well. Therewere cases when there were lots of dialogues, and the editors took really goodcare of it. I am planning to adjust their salary on a short-term basis so thatthey are rewarded based on the growth of the stream. At this moment I wouldlike to express my gratitude to the editors who are working hard.

DES = This question is something I was really curious about. Is the income stableenough to consider streaming as a job after retiring from the pro scene?

Ambition= It would be an important question for the players, right? To cut tothe point, it's decent enough. But I think that's because I was already wellknown as a player. If someone who didn't work hard enough as a player started hisown stream, he would be looking at a dead end. However, if someone pays thesame amount of passion and devotion he had during his professional gamingcareer to the stream, he will be able to earn enough to live on.

It's been less than a year since I started streaming so I don't exactly knowhow much I earned and how much my actual income is, but my goal is to bring itup to a level where I can be considered a 'professional' streamer. That's whatpros are; professional and money are inseverable.

DES = What type of streamer do you wish to become in the future?

Ambition = I'm not thinking about the distant future, because committing myselfto what I am currently facing is my creed. My biggest goal is to entertain myviewers and enjoy while I'm at it. The numbers like viewership or income don'tmatter too much now, and once I'm affected by those, I might lose interest instreaming.

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DES = I heard that your wife played a great role in your decision to stream.

Ambition= It's not only about the stream, my wife accounts for a big part of mylife. She is a very wise and earnest person, and I learn a lot from her. She'snot only the one I love, but also someone I respect and learn from.

While some say I am on a short leash, but I have never suffered any lossfollowing my wife's advice. She has always made the right decisions and wisejudgements. And there were cases when I raised my back but ended up belly-up(laughs).And after those moments, I just have to follow her advice. She led me to theflowery path, and if someone's done that for you, it's natural that you listento that person for the rest of your life.

To be honest, I never thought of getting married early, but after meeting mywife talking with her, I was firmly convinced that I would live a happy lifewith her, talking about all sorts of things. Most of all, we had the commonlove for games. I felt sorry that I couldn't do many things for her during myplaying career, and as a streamer now I'm happy that I can spend more time withher.

DES = I can see that why people say you are a person of unexpected charm. Imistook you for an opinionated and self-asserted man, but you are a very wiseperson who knows when to concede your point.

Ambition= I told you, 'Ppatta' was a built-up image (laughs). I was loved as aprofessional gamer, and is being loved beyond comparison by my wife: how couldI always be brusque with that amazing amount of love from others?As imperfectas I am, I was loved more than I have ever deserved and so I would like to sendmy gratitude to the fans, my wife and everyone else who supported me.

DES = Last words you'd like to share with the fans?

Ambition = While I am currently working on a new path, I will cherish the memoryof my professional gaming career. I hope that fans could look at players from amore tolerant viewpoint. It seems that players are more respected andrecognized in other countries, but in Korea players are being harshlycriticized. I would be happy to see the players be more loved and supported.

Also, I would like to say thank you to my fans who watch my stream and root forme. I will never forget your support, wherever I am and wherever I will be. Ihope all of you have a lovely and happy day. Thanks!

남윤성 기자 (thenam@dailyesports.com)
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