“Wait, you’re watching somebody else play a video game?” The rise of game streaming, and especially esports, can be baffling to everybody from the man on the street to talk show hosts. But esports are going mainstream, and Spanish player Enrique Cedeño, also called xPeke, is becoming one of its most visible faces, not least because he just landed a sponsorship deal for Gillette, a major step forward for not just his career, but esports as a whole.
“It’s just something that had to happen at some point, so I’m glad it could happen to me,” Cedeño tells us over the phone after becoming Gillette’s new eSports global ambassador. Cedeño is an ADC (Attack, Damage, Carry) for the League of Legends team he founded, Origen. His role is somewhat akin to a power forward in basketball; his job is to get out in front and do some damage so the rest of the team can come in. Cedeño points out it’s like field sports in a crucial respect: Teamwork and practice.
“I always have trouble starting a conversation,” Cedeño says, “because people say ‘You play video games for a living?’ What I do is more about the competition than actually playing. We put a lot of hours into this, six to seven hours of game practice and several hours of solo practice. When preparing for a world championship, I play for fourteen hours every day.”
It’s been a long day: He’s been interviewing with everyone from gaming websites to major magazines at Gillette’s headquarters in Boston, but he’s bright and fresh.