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Pre GPL Interview with Joshh

Prior to the start of #EpsiCoD’s adventure in the Global Pro League, esports writer Iain Fenton (@iain_fenton) spoke to our very own Josh about his life in CoD esports.

Read the interview below, (Photo courtesy of @RobbieDouglas_ )

With over $110,000 in personal career earnings, Call of Duty pro, Joshua Lee Sheppard is one of the most successful British esports athletes ever. With the CoD esports scene in Britain growing bigger every day, Joshua is even looking like he may challenge Smite players Craig ‘iRaffer’ Rathbone and Nate ‘Ataraxia’ Mark on the UK esports highest earnings leaderboards.

Writing for Epsilon eSports, Iain Fenton gets the opportunity to have a chat with the British esports pro to discuss a variety of topics including what Joshua spent his first pay cheque on, the CoD esports scene and whether or not CoD can challenge Lol in popularity.

 

Iain Fenton

So firstly, when did you first start playing CoD and when did you first start playing professionally? Were you a natural at the game or did it take a lot of practice?

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

I first started playing CoD, I’d say around 7 years ago on the PC just casually having a bit of fun in my younger years, my professional career started in 2014, I believe, with Epsilon eSports (my current organisation). No one is a natural at video games, people can be a bit better than others but it takes years of practice and acknowledgement of how the game plays etc.

Iain Fenton

Did you ever foresee that you would win so much prize money playing CoD? How did you feel when you earned your first pay cheque, so to speak, from playing CoD?

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

I never thought I’d have earned as much as I have from CoD, it’s come as a big shock but also a big bonus how much I’ve earnt over the years. When I won my first decent amount at an event it was a Gfinity event and I finished 2nd and won around £2000 which paid for my first car, which put the biggest smile on my face.

Iain Fenton

How did your parents and friends react after you won that first 2000? Shocked?

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

They were just super happy I suppose, was a very long time ago but I’m pretty sure they were proud and happy that I’d made something from sitting about a lot.

Iain Fenton

When did you realise that playing CoD full time could sustain you and could become a full time profession?

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

Yea, took a lot of work and time but its worked out.

In 2014, I quit college and played full time, from then on I have never looked back, that’s the first real time that anyone in Europe started taking it fully seriously.

Iain Fenton

What is the CoD esports scene like currently? Is it getting investment? Are the Brits the best

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

The CoD eSports scene is really good at the moment, the growth is insane, we’re seeing some of the biggest companies/athletes in the world invest so it’s great, the Americans are the best currently but the Europeans aren’t far behind.

Iain Fenton

Is there anything within the CoD esports scene that you personally would like to see implemented?

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

Not of the top of my head, nah.

Iain Fenton

Do you ever get bored of playing? Is CoD still a passion or has it become more of a grind now it is your full time occupation?

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

It’s definitely become more of a job but it’s still fun from time to time, I think it’s the same with anything, once you do it so much it can become repetitive.

Iain Fenton

Do you think the fact that audiences are now able to gamble on the outcome of esports matches is a good or bad thing? Obviously there has been some problems with players throwing matches because of betting.

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

Not really thought into it, it’s never been a problem in CoD so doesn’t really change anything for me, there’s too much to be risked for anyone to do anything stupid.

Iain Fenton

Do you think CoD can reach the popularity levels of LoL?

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

If we carry on the way we are, potentially, but we’ve got a long way to go. That’s the goal though.

Iain Fenton

What do you think needs to be done to get to the levels of LoL?

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

Hard to say really, we’re on a good path at the moment and if we carry on anything can happen but to reach the levels of LoL is going to be one mammoth of a task which will take years.

 Iain Fenton

Finally, what are your plans for the future?

Joshua-Lee Sheppard

For the next 2/3 years to carry on gaming as much as possible and keep doing me, I still enjoy playing a lot and love competing against people, long term plan is hard to say, I don’t really think that far but I’d like to work within esports as I feel attached to it as I’ve been a part of it for so long.