Belfast Telegraph

I quit job to be an Xbox pro

By Victoria O'Hara

An Ulster Xbox fan who quit his job and sold his belongings to play in a major TV tournament has won a $30,000 contract and become one of the UK's first full-time professional gamers.

Jason Holmes, from Seaforde, Co Down, took the dramatic step in order to " make his dream come true" and travel to the Championship Gaming Series in Birmingham.

For 10 days, the 23-year-old was one of hundreds of gamers from across the UK involved in an intense gaming interview.

Players showed off their skills in tournaments featuring a number of games including Project Gotham Racing 3 - in which Jason is regarded as a specialist.

After a nerve-wracking final in London, Jason - who is known by the alias Neo Jake - was selected as one of the top 20 gamers and asked to join the Birmingham Salvo team.

He has now won a $30,000 contract to play professionally around the world.

"It is a dream come true," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I have played constantly for four years and I still can't believe it.

" I had to sell what I had to hand, which happened to be 130 DVDs, five Xbox controllers, eight Xbox 360 games and I had to sell my mountain bike, that I bought for £1,000, for £100 because it was all the pawn shop would pay.

"In the end, I managed to scrape together just enough to travel.

"The risk was worth it, the whole experience was really intense, I didn't get much sleep but I am really excited about the future."

The players were whittled down from a few hundred to only 40 in Birmingham. They then travelled to London where Sky television filmed a series of shows featuring the hopefuls.

In November, Jason will travel to Los Angeles to compete at the World Final.

"I am going there to win. I am really looking forward to competing against other world-class gamers," he said.

Belfast Telegraph