Interview: Call of Duty pro Mark “MarkyB” Bryceland on his career and CoD esports

22-year-old Scottish Call of Duty player Mark "MarkyB" Bryceland has gone from beating his little sister on Mario Kart to becoming one of the UK's highest-earning esports players.

Having won the Call of Duty EU regional finals in 2014 with his team TCM-Gaming, Mark's CoD career continues to impress. He has played for the likes of Epsilon and now resides with Millenium. Iain Fenton talks to the seven-time European champion about his career so far, Call of Duty esports and what's next...

Note: This interview was conducted just before Team Infused's CoD team - including MarkyB - joined Millenium! You can see Mark's reaction to joining Millenium here:

 

Player Profile

Name: Mark ‘MarkyB’ Bryceland
Age: 22 (born January 12th 1994)
Nationality: Scottish
From: Glasgow
Earnings: $50,000+

 

ENUK: Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into competitive gaming? Where in Scotland were you brought up?

I'm born and raised in Glasgow. And naturally, being a very competitive person, whether it was beating my little sister on Mario Kart or playing football, I always loved winning.

And I guess that further down the line got me interested in competitive Call of Duty. My friends from school brought me into it and the rest is history really.

 

Do you still speak to those friends now? Are they envious that you've made a profession out of playing CoD?

I do still speak to them, most of them are actually my best friends and we see each other every week at the pub. They've lost interest completely and at some point some of them were better than me, so they always remind me of that.

It's always a hot topic that if they had stuck around what could have happened to all of us. They all support me and watch the majority of my tournaments.

 

 

"My most memorable moment for me was winning the EU Regionals on Call of Duty Ghosts. It was the first taste of true success that I had in my career. We were all hugging each other and screaming - it was an amazing moment."

 

 

Are we correct in saying that you've earned over $50,000 just from playing CoD? I guess having your friends around from childhood helps to keep you grounded?

Yes, that's correct and absolutely. But I'm a fairly grounded person in general, always remembering the bigger picture and focusing on what's next to come!

 

How did you go from Playing CoD with your friends to having grossed 50k from playing? Was there a moment that just catapulted you or was it a grind to get where you are now?

I wouldn't really put it on a single moment - it's been a lot of effort over a number of years in all honesty.

It's just recently that I've started receiving the fruits of my labor. The jump from playing with my friends to where I am now was slow and steady, and didn't happen overnight for me - unlike other players. I'm 22 now but have been competing since I was around 14 on the original CoD 4.

 

 

 

 

Which teams have you played with? and what has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

I've played under a number of teams, most notably though Infused, TCM, Vitality, Millenium and Epsilon.

My most memorable moment for me was winning the EU Regionals on Call of Duty Ghosts. It was the first taste of true success that I had in my career. We were all hugging each other and screaming - it was an amazing moment.

 

 

"I improve every day that I practice. That strive to be the very best is what keeps me competing every single day."

 

 

What opinion do your parents have on competitive gaming? Have they always been supportive of you? And how do you rate yourself in comparison to other players from the UK scene and from abroad?

They haven't always been massively supportive, as you'd expect in my younger years they wanted me to focus on school.

Now, they're extremely supportive of what I do and know that it's a job for me! I think in terms of the whole package and what I bring to a team - that I'm a top 10 player in Europe and easily in the top 25 worldwide!

 

 

MarkyB (left) with the Team Infused Call of Duty team, who have just been snapped up by Millenium

 

 

Things are certainly looking good for you then. Do you foresee more money coming into esports as the UK market gets more popular?

It's already blowing up in other countries so I think naturally the UK is next in line. There's still a big stigma about playing video games rather than being outside with your mates playing football, especially for the younger group that will be looking to impress their friends in school.

That's something that'll need to change over the years as it's a hindrance to the growth of esports and video games, but that's completely up to the UK society to change their tune.

All I can do is try my best to showcase it in a good light; to show you can do this as a job and it's a cool thing travelling all over the world playing games.

 

Which other players do you get along with the most? Have any of them specifically helped you improve your game and vice versa? And is the scene becoming more competitive?

I think outside of my team, the players that I'm friendliest with are Reedy from eLevate, Jurd from Splyce and ShAnE from Imperial. We do occasionally help each other improve but most of the time that's an internal team thing.

Yes, the scene has got way more competitive over the last couple of years. At first there was only really one or two teams that could compete at an international level, now there's five or six that can compete against the best in North America.

Running up to events like MLG Dallas next week I am playing around 10 hours a day, from like 3pm to 1am.

 

 

"I'm born and raised in Glasgow. And naturally, being a very competitive person, whether it was beating my little sister on Mario Kart or playing football, I always loved winning."

 

 

Do you not get bored of playing? In a lot of activities people can reach a peak. Do you just keep getting better and better or is the practice needed just to keep you at your peak?

I think I improve every day that I practice. That strive to be the very best is what keeps me competing every single day.

It's also important like a footballer for example to keep grinding to maintain his ability.

 

 

 

 

Do you foresee betting on eSport to be a problem? Like regular sports, audiences are free to bet on esports over the internet but there has been controversies surround LoL and betting.

MarkyB: I think gambling is a massive problem, but at the end of the day it's going to need to come in as it brings more money into the industry. I hope it's better regulated in the future.

 

If you could change two things to improve anything about CoD, what would they be?

MarkyB: I think I'd like to see CoD go back to boots on the ground and have more of a focus on esports.

 

Follow MarkyB on Twitter here and Instagram here

 

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