The meteoric rise of Arslan ‘Ash’ Siddique in 2019 is the Cinderella story of legends. Arslan was a relatively unknown King of Fighters player in the Middle East for quite some time. Pakistan has been a off the radar for many years in the Fighting Game Community until last year when Arslan defeated top Tekken player Jae-Min “Knee” Bae at OUGaming 2018. Since then he’s won back to back Evolution 2019 titles in the US and Japan for Tekken 7. The region has become the new epicenter for strong players especially in the Tekken community.
In terms of eSports, the fighting game community makes up a very small percentage of the community. Arslan covering Billboard, one of the biggest music and pop culture magazine brands in the world is huge for the FGC and eSports in general. We’ve seen that the FGC is usually erased from the eSports conversation. The various eSports awards (including The Game Awards) that have come about do very little to include Fighting Game players at all. Hopefully this will be the start of many FGC players getting mainstream recognition and notoriety on par with their fellow eSports counterparts.