New Zealand's highest paid gamer is paving the way for Kiwis who dream of travelling the world to play video games.
There's no such thing as bad publicity for professional Esports gamer Sean 'Gratisfaction' Kaiwai.
From being labelled a cheat to making headlines for flipping the bird at fans who called out his position during a match, Kaiwai has copped his fair share of criticism.
But it hasn't stopped the 23-year-old star sniper for Australian Esports team Renegades from making his statement as a professional gamer.
In fact, it's what helped the Kiwi from Gisborne make his name on the international Esports stage.
Now the highest paid New Zealand Esports player, Kaiwai is paving the way for Kiwis who could once only dream of a lifestyle travelling the world while being paid to play video games.
"My name will be in the history books forever," Kaiwai told the Herald at the Intel Extreme Masters in Sydney this month.
"I'm making a lot of history because no Kiwi gamer has got this far before, so whenever I do any kind of feat it's like 'oh, I'm the first New Zealander in the world to do that' ... It's like life goals."
Kaiwai, and his now-iconic moustache, first entered the competitive Counter-Strike Esports scene in 2013.
Uninterested in university after high school, Kaiwai decided to work while spending most of his downtime behind the PC and it didn't take long before the Kiwi's talent was noticed by top international gamers.
"When I first started out I gained recognition quite easily by playing online," he says. "But a lot of the time it was bad recognition. Everyone was calling me a cheater.
"There's some stereotype that New Zealand players are cheaters so whenever I was playing and beating older players, legends of the game, they would always call me a 'classic New Zealand cheater'.
"I copped a lot of s***, but that's essentially how I made a name for myself."
Kaiwai kept his gaming part-time for a few years, with the size of New Zealand's competitive Esports scene too small to present many opportunities at the time.
Even after playing for Australian franchise Grayhound Gaming, it wasn't until this year, when Kaiwai was officially signed by Renegades, that a future in Esports looked promising.
The call-up was enough to see Kaiwai leave his life in New Zealand behind and relocate to Australia to join his teammates as they travel around the globe competing against the world's best teams.
"I never really had that realisation that I could do this professionally until I meet Renegades," he says. "I knew that that was the next step, going overseas.
"I knew that I could play well and compete internationally but it was just a matter of when."
Being signed to Australia's highest-earning Esports team came with a major step-up in expected performance - but not without a step up in pay.
And with some professional gamers earning millions, it's not surprising that his income from playing video games is one of the most frequent questions he gets asked.
"Joining Renegades was a big step up, we get paid a lot more in that team but much more is expected," he says.
According to esportsearnings.com, Kaiwai has already pocketed $20,000 this year from tournament winnings with Renegades.
That doesn't include what he earns from the franchise and with flights, accommodation, food and other expenses all covered, Kaiwai admits he's "living well".
Although revealing that the life of a professional Esports gamer wasn't all glamorous, Kaiwai hoped his position as a paid player would help promote the sport as a legitimate career for young Kiwis to aspire to.
"The schedule is mental, I've been living out of my suitcase for the last five months," he says. "But in saying that, I get to play games and travel around the world for free so I'm not complaining.
"You've got to be open about the idea of Esports being a potential career for kids these days. It's amazing being paid to play video games and I imagine a lot of people want that life.
"You can't neglect every other responsibility in your life for gaming, but gaming is great, and if you can get paid to do it, why wouldn't you?"
Playing on the international Esports stage is a stark contrast to what many might believe it to be.
The idea of competing from the comfort of his couch dressed in his pyjamas is something Kaiwai almost wished was the reality some days.
Instead, he must brave the pressure of playing in front of thousands of passionate - and sometimes ruthless - fans in a high-stakes environment with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line.
"It's kind of scary having all those people staring at you," he says. "They all want you to play well, it's kind of a conundrum.
"It's like 'what the hell is going on?' It's a very surreal atmosphere to be a part of."
The atmosphere of a live Esports event such as the Intel Extreme Masters has helped educate Kaiwai's family on the legitimacy of the somewhat controversial sport he plays.
And with Renegades having landed among the top five teams in the world this year – the first Australian side to do so – Kaiwai is expected to become a more familiar face on the world's biggest Esports stages.
Bombing out of IEM Sydney this month in the pool round was a major blow to both Renegades and Kaiwai, whose mum travelled across the ditch to see and support him.
But despite the result, Kaiwai says it was refreshing to be so close to home for the first time in months.
"IEM Sydney is probably one of the best events," he says. "Personally, I at least wanted to make the finals, the playoffs even, but we did not do that.
"It was good though to have family and friends all around and all the support.
"I don't really have the time in my schedule to fly back to New Zealand ... I have a big family and am very family orientated so I miss them a lot."
Kaiwai will spend a bit more time on this side of the world over the next few months though, with visa issues preventing him from competing in the United States.
He will likely miss both the cs_summit in Los Angeles and Dreamhack in Dallas but expects Renegades to bounce back from IEM Sydney and continue on the path of their recent international success.
The dream for Kaiwai - much the same as any professional Esports gamer - is to gain further recognition overseas and be signed to one of Europe or America's top teams.
And as things stand, the young gamer from New Zealand may just get there – even if it takes a few more headlines to make his name known in the massive world of Esports.
Cheree Kinnear attended the Intel Extreme Masters in Sydney courtesy of Intel.