Ali “SypherPK” Hassan took time out of his busy schedule to speak with Daily Esports. SypherPK gave us a look into his past, present, and future plans. He began gaming at a young age and has since become one of the most recognizable faces in gaming. A self-proclaimed “professional gaming entertainer,” SypherPK does so much more. He streams, creates both educational and hilarious content, and competes in Fortnite at the highest level. As he continues his journey, SypherPK looks to improve both his content and gaming abilities.
Proudly born and raised in Austin, Texas, SypherPK’s first introduction to video games came through miniclip.com. He played the various games that rotated through the site until he found RuneScape in 2003. He also got his first console, a PS2, around the same time. Hassan recalled playing games such as Duke Nukem and Dark Cloud. After some time, he went back to RuneScape as his friends and classmates played the game. He focused on the game until Halo 3 came out in 2007. The game was his first first-person shooter and he really enjoyed playing it.
Then in 2011, SypherPK started his YouTube channel. Hassan gained experience editing videos for school projects in 6th grade. “Instead of making posters for class, I made videos,” SypherPK remarked. He made RuneScape videos of various kinds with his brothers. This is when he first realized he wanted to make content creation his career path. Eventually, the channel took off and had a few thousand subscribers.
As SypherPK finished school, he found The Elder Scrolls Online. This was the first game that he took seriously after it came out in 2014. A lot of time was put into playing the game and mastering the various elements. SypherPK quickly became the person players went to for direction while playing The Elder Scrolls Online. He continued to create educational and funny videos for his fans, but he took streaming and content creation to a new level.
In late 2017, SypherPK’s subscribers on Twitch encouraged him to play this new battle royale game called Fortnite. The battle royale format did not stand out to him before Fortnite. He said, “I had tried previous battle royales before… but something about Fortnite was different to me, which was the building aspect.” He was never the best at shooting games, nor had he played them on a keyboard and mouse. Typically, SypherPK played first-person shooters on a controller, but not with this game. Fortnite challenged him to master the building component of the game, and his skills improved all around.
Eventually, he began creating the same types of videos for Fortnite that he had for both RuneScape and The Elder Scrolls Online. SypherPK started a “How to Win” series that provided breakdowns of tips, tricks, and techniques to improve the viewers’ skills. In addition, SypherPK balanced educational content with funny entertaining videos. Quickly, he became a well-known figure in the Fortnite community. He credits the boom of esports and gaming in general with his recent success. It did not come without lots of time and effort though. The explosion of gaming and his hard work caused him to become a top Fortnite streamer and content creator.
Even though SypherPK became a top Fortnite content creator and dominated public matches, people doubted his ability to compete at the highest level. They saw him as simply a content creator, but SypherPK did not let that hate get to him. Instead, he took their messages as challenges to become a better player. SypherPK began the journey to become a professional Fortnite player.
At first, SypherPK was unsure about how quickly he could catch up to the top players. This is part of the reason why he waited so long to compete. He had no competitive Fortnite experience. The game sense that so many players talk about only comes from practice and studying of other players. To SypherPK’s surprise, he caught up faster than he thought was possible. This came from constant practice and focus.
Once he decided to compete, SypherPK began each stream with 20-to-30 minutes of mechanical practice. This meant completing a building, editing, aim, or general practice course. The courses are readily available and so many players created courses. He would work through a course until he felt that it had been mastered. The focused practice helped develop and improve his skills. Additionally, SypherPK started playing in scrimmage matches with other professional players. The combination with Arena mode games quickly turned him into a competition-ready player.
In Week 8 of the Fortnite World Cup, SypherPK and his partner Marcus “Ranger” Pereira narrowly missed qualifying. The duo displayed an impressive performance and finished in fourth. The two consistently improve every week they play. If given the opportunity to play in Week 10, the duo would undoubtedly be a favorite to qualify.
Ranger is the number one overall win leader for Fortnite on PC. He has held this title for a long time. SypherPK said he sought out Ranger to play with him in the competition. He knew about Ranger for a while through the community and thought the two could improve together. SypherPK looked for a player that wanted to put in the time and effort in order to play at that top level. Ranger proved he is exactly that, a player who streams for long periods of times and is constantly improving.
The duo continues to get better. They finished in 101st in Week 2, then 97th Week 4, 14th in Week 6, and 4th most recently in Week 8. Unfortunately, the 2019 Fortnite Pro-Am wound up on the same weekend as the final Week 10 competition. It appears their World Cup journey has ended. However, SypherPK said they plan to continue competing in Fortnite tournaments to come.
When asked about his favorite experience thus far, SypherPK responded with Fortnite Pro-Am 2018. It was the first time he met his fans and interacted with them. He said, “It made me feel like a rock star.” The crowds were more interested in the Fortnite players than the actual celebrities there. “I will never forget how I felt during that.”
Outside of gaming, he has three dogs that he loves spending time with and taking to the dog park. He also made a tradition of going to the movies with his wife, Daniela, every week. Lastly, Hassan likes to play and watch basketball. He played four years in high school. When asked who he wants to win the NBA Finals, SypherPK said, “Raptors. I am not a Raptors fan, but we need something new.”
The next project he plans to take on is a clothing line. This is not just SypherPK merchandise, but a whole line of clothing. SypherPK did not share too many details but said to look for that in the future.
In the first year of streaming Fortnite, SypherPK gained 50 lbs. He was recently married and spent a lot of time working. He takes pride in how he looks but did not like seeing himself get out of shape. There are health factors involved with extra weight that concerned him. SypherPK wanted to get ahead of it before his weight became a larger problem. Since the beginning of 2019, he has been working out more and lost 20 lbs so far, but there is still more to come.
It took a change of lifestyle, not ordering food and eating at home. Also, SypherPK sees himself as a role model for both children and adults. Therefore, he wants to set a good example. He said, “Even if you get off track and you are out of shape, you can make changes and … put yourself on the right track.” Lastly, Sypher wants to show that even though he sits and plays video games all day, he still leads a healthy lifestyle. He hopes that his recent changes to focus on his health also motivate people.
SypherPK works his dream job, something that not many people can say. There are negatives to the job, such as the amount of time commitment and personal accountability, but they do not outweigh the positives.
Ultimately, SypherPK finished the conversation with an appreciation for his fans: “I appreciate every single person that has shown me support.” He has not focused on videos, new commentaries, and educational content since he has been grinding to qualify for the World Cup. He said, “Thank you guys so much. Whether we qualify or not, the experience has been unlike any other. It gave me the opportunity to showcase my competitive side. I appreciate the love. I appreciate the support. Thank you guys! Whether we qualify or not, this has been an amazing journey and the improvement has been insane.”
Daily Esports also appreciates the time SypherPK took to speak with us. He is an extremely kind and grateful person. SypherPK still cares just as much about his supporters as he did back in the beginning. The fans keep him going and it shows.
Taylor Yates is a gamer, sports lover, and content creator. He has been an avid gamer since the days of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Halo 3. Taylor now plays Fortnite under the name ‘sombodysgun’ and loves to share his gameplay. A recent NC State grad, Taylor loves to support his Wolfpack and other sports teams.