Slingshot’s Vince Nairn had the chance to talk to Astralis’ Peter “dupreeh” Rothmann during the ELEAGUE Major last month for an in-depth conversation about his life, demeanor and what it meant to get support from his parents for a pro gaming career.
Vince Nairn: A lot of interviews that we and other outlets do revolve around many of the same questions, so I kind of want to do something a little different. What are some things that you would just want the Counter-Strike community to know about you, about your team, and just things people maybe don’t know about?
Peter “dupreeh” Rothmann: To start with myself, I’m a really open person. I speak out of my heart. I’m trustworthy. I’m funny, and I’m really silly at times. That’s why you see all kinds of stupid GIFs and stuff about me. I take life kind of light. I don’t put too much effort into small things. I worry about the people close to me and my family. I like playing video games besides Counter-Strike, whatever games, so I’m a nerd in that way, I guess. Not shy about that. I’m very much interested in animals. I want to have a dog at some point when I get home. I used to have one, but that was my ex-girlfriend’s, so I want my own one now. As for my team, I think we’re one of the teams out there that’s having the best time together as a team. We have a lot of different personalities, but everything is working very well together. We are working very hard on the mental part of the game. So not just the physical part but also the mental aspects. We are not just co-workers, we’re also really good buddies in real life.
VN: What made you want to do this as a career? You started before the time where there was a lot of money in the scene.
PR: I was studying media designs, and was on my way to second semester, and I was offered my first contract. At that point in time, I think it was $500 (per month). So it was not enough to make a living out of it. Since I had my own apartment at the time, it was not enough, so I had to find a job besides that. I never actually ended up doing that because I (got) a better contract. So I think it was just, I’m really good at this game, and I wanted to see if I could make a living out of it. So I did. And here I am.
VN: What were those early parts like? Before you had Audi sponsorships and other big-time sponsors, millions of people watching tournaments. What was the most difficult part about wanting to continue to do it when you first got started?
PR: The game kept evolving whenever I got into it. I got my first contract, $500. Then I got my next contract for $1,000. The next one $3,000. So it kept growing on me. So it was really hard to say there was ever a moment where I thought it wasn’t working out for me. The thing that was probably the hardest thing was the time management, I suppose. I had to put in so much time to the game, so much time practicing and traveling. You have to go away from your family, girlfriend. Say no to a lot of family stuff and whatever you want to do with your friends in your spare time. So I guess dedication was probably the hardest part, but I’ve hung in there now, and right now we found a new system in Astralis and in general, everyone seems to be on the same page. Last year was too many events and too much traveling, so it’s only gonna get better from now. We’re gonna have scheduled vacations. We’re gonna have scheduled days off, and we’re only gonna participate in events we actually think are worth it.
VN: What was life like growing up? How did you get interested in video games?
PR: I lived in the same place with my parents for my entire life, so I have this core family with both my parents and my brother. I have two sisters as well. Both my sisters had already moved out when I was born. I’m 24 now and both my sisters are (around) 40. So my parents are a little older. I’m the youngest one in the family. But I lived together with my parents, and my brother was living there. He was very much into video games. I guess that’s where my interest came from, just like 90 percent of the other people here. We played PlayStation 1, we played computer games and then he took off for school every Monday and returned every Friday. So he got his first computer, I had the entire week to play when he was not home. And that’s when I got into Counter-Strike, and I could play it. We had a youth club at my school, and I could play there one hour a day. And I did that with my friends. We had small LAN parties together or we went to local LAN parties together, so I guess that’s where my interest came from. And I’ve always had a flair for playing video games.
VN: Has your family been supportive of you being a professional gamer?
PR: Not at the beginning. It was tough in the beginning because my parents were worried I didn’t make a living out of it, and I was spending so much time I maybe didn’t do all my assignments for school. I didn’t do all my homework, but I would rather focus on my game. I didn’t go to all the parties I could. I didn’t spend as much time with my friends as I could. But I just decided to stay home and practice with the team, play with the team, just to get better with the team. It’s paid off now, but I lost so much in the past. But right now my parents are my biggest supporters. They watch my games and they support me, and they respect that I have to practice and I’m not home for their birthdays. I’m not home for their anniversaries. So yeah, they support me fully.
VN: At what point did that kind of turn around? When did they start to understand what you were doing and why?
PR: I think it was when we joined Dignitas. That was when they started to feel like, “OK, he’s actually able to make a living out of this now.” At that point, I moved from home and in with my girlfriend back then in Sweden. So I also got to experience another life. The tournaments in it got bigger. There was more money. I traveled a lot. (My family) realized this is a career for me now. So that’s when it started.
VN: And what’s your favorite part of your career now?
PR: That’s a tough question. I just like the atmosphere of the games. I like to play on the big stages. I like the crowd. I like to hype the crowd. I like to play well. I like to show my face. I like to help evolve esports. I like to be one of the main guys in the scene who presents esports the way it’s supposed to be presented. Make it grow and be a pioneer that way.
VN: Last one: What’s the funniest story about you or one of your teammates that you feel comfortable putting on the record?
PR: It’s a long time ago, but we were going to — just in the beginning of CSGO — we were going to a DreamHack (in Sweden). So we were playing on the 3DMAX at that point. We had booked this hotel, and when we got there, everything seemed closed. There were iron fences around it. We were like what the hell is happening here? And then we parked the car, and one of my teammates started honking the horn. And all of the sudden this big guy with big muscles stepped out of the hotel, walking toward us really angry. And then he’s like, “Get the hell out of here! This is not a hotel! It’s a refugee camp!” Apparently in a matter of two days, the hotel had turned into a refugee camp, without us being notified. We had paid for a hotel that didn’t exist anymore.
Cover photo courtesy of Turner Sports/ELEAGUE, illustration by Slingshot