Patience and perseverance is key to a successful esports career - Siddharth Nayyar, Co-Founder and Director of AFK Gaming
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With people confined to their homes, the esports industry is booming like never before. Gaming has never been more accessible especially for the youth with no requirements of a high end ultra expensive PC or the next generation of video game consoles. A simple smartphone with an internet connection will do the trick to compete with your friends or people from all over the world!
We’re delving into the world of esports with Siddharth Nayyar, Co-Founder and Director of AFK Gaming who speaks about the growth of the esports industry, streaming platforms, Indian game developers, Battlegrounds Mobile India and much more in this exclusive interview with SPOGO.
How has the Indian/Asian esports content grown and developed over the years, especially during the pandemic?
I think the one trend worth highlighting in the Asian region over the last couple of years is the growth of content consumption for mobile gaming titles, both written and video. This is also empirically proven by the increasing number of content creators on platforms like YouTube, and the growth in viewership of each of these creators. The pandemic really acted as a catalyst for an already rapidly growing gaming and gaming content industry.
In Asia, which countries are the largest consumers of esports content and occupy the largest share of the market?
I believe the answer to this is not 1 country. It’s very title specific. India is the largest consumer of PUBG Mobile content, while Philippines is big on Dota 2 and Mobile Legends. Indonesia and India have thriving FreeFire audiences. In general, India, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore lead the esports content consumption charts in Asia for different titles.
What is your view about streaming platforms such as Twitch, Smashcast, Gosu Gamers and Afreeca TV?
I think in India, YouTube is miles ahead of other streaming platforms. Twitch recently launched India servers and Facebook has been running campaigns to gain esports content creators and viewers, but it isn’t enough to get people to make the switch. In my opinion, to be able to succeed as a livestream and VOD content platform in India, organizations will have to spend quite a lot and incentivize the users (with good, unique content and engagement campaigns) to make them give up their loyalty to YouTube and switch. Loco did it very well! As for others, I honestly had to look up Smashcast and AfreecaTV to be able to answer this question. I keep track of gaming content in general but these 2 platforms missed my radar. I don’t think they are very popular in India.
What do Indian esports developers need to do to enhance their engagement amongst fans?
I assume this question relates to game developers and studios working on esports titles. First of all, they need to exist. I can’t think of any Indian game studio working on an esports title (pardon my misinformation in case I’m wrong). Indian studios usually just serve certain functions of game development for larger studios. Although we do have Nodding Heads, Nazara, Dhruva, and others working on some kickass AAA titles.
According to you, which is the most popular esports game in India and why?
For mobile, without a doubt it was PUBG Mobile before its ban. In its absence over the last few months, FreeFire took the mantle, but I’m sure BMI installs will surge as soon as it launches. On the PC, I believe CS:GO and Valorant are doing well. If you notice, the one thing that’s common in all these games is that they are gun games, and require to be played in teams. I guess India is just generally fond of playing shooting games with friends.
How much of a boost is it to have PUBG Mobile reintroduced to India in the form of Battlegrounds Mobile India?
It’s really hard to say, honestly, since there are too many things that make a successful esports ecosystem. Will Krafton invest in building a competitive platform like Tencent did? Will player organization that had let go of their squads re-acquire teams? How will the India competitive circuit interact with the international circuit, since technically the games are different? Will PUBGM content creators who switched to other games want to do BMI content? I’m confident players in India will instantly reinstall the new version and start playing (including me, I’m dying to play it again with friends), but a lot more needs to be done before it gets to where it used to be. Guess we’ll know soon
Are there any upcoming games that Indian audiences can look forward to in 2021?
Yeah so many! Other than Battlegrounds Mobile India (obviously), Apex Legends Mobile, Valorant Mobile, Battlefield. I would suggest the readers to stay tuned to afkgaming.com and our social channels for info on when these games release, and also for good quality content about these games.
What is your advice to aspiring gamers who wish to take up esports professionally?
I think getting into the gaming and esports industry is the easiest now than it has ever been. There are so many roles to choose from and so many organizations looking for talented people. If you don’t know what you’re good at, try everything, and pursue what seems to strike your interest. It’ll take patience and perseverance to make a successful career though, so give it time. If you’re in school or college right now, get a degree before you get adventurous.