Esports Expert Views
Chemin Esports is looking to expand into the global industry: Ishan Verma
With esports becoming a medal event at the upcoming 2022 Asian Games, it has never been more important for aspiring esports players to have a pathway to become professionals, especially in India. In this exclusive interview, Ishan Verma, Founder and Director of Chemin Esports speaks about forming a talent incubator, the origins of the name, overcoming challenges, issues plaguing the esports industry in India, selection process for the Asian Games and long term goals.
Q 1) As Founder and Director of Chemin Esports, what motivated you to form a talent incubator and help esports athletes and content creators in the field of gaming? Since your background is in civil engineering, what made you switch to the esports industry?
It all started in the year 2020 during the Covid Pandemic. During the lockdown, I started following the Esports structure around the world. At that time, I would say the Indian Esports Industry was at a growing stage as compared to the global esports industry. Seeing a future potential in the Indian Esports Industry, I decided to invest into this and that’s when Chemin Esports was founded.
With the help of right guidance and training, I am sure we will have Indian Players competing at the Global Stage. I would say I have not switched from my Civil Engineering background as my core business is still into infrastructure. Being a passion and the untapped opportunity in the Indian Esports Industry has led to me investing into this as well.
Q 2) Why is it called ‘Chemin’ Esports? How does the name align with the company’s mission?
“Chemin” is a french word and it stands for “path”. We try to construct the right paths for esports athletes to have a successful career. Our goal is to act as a talent incubator for the upcoming esports athletes and help them to achieve their maximum potential and thus building a career into Esports.
Q 3) What are the challenges that you have faced as Founder and Director of Chemin Esports? How did you overcome them?
While the Indian Esports Industry is relatively new as compared to the Global Industry, this has seen a rapid rise in the pandemic period. With no esports policy framework and an Indian Esports Association, the industry is still unorganised. Before investing into this industry I had to do a lot of research. I studied about the Global Esports Industry and how they are functioning. I was still confused about Indian Esports but that’s when my business partner Mr. Diptanshu helped me a lot. We founded Chemin Esports together and in a short period of time we have grown to become one of the leading Esports Organisation currently active in India.
Also read: Our aim is to give opportunities to aspiring players: Sidhhant Agarwal
Q 4) According to you, what are some of the things that the esports industry in India lacks? How can they be rectified?
The Industry is still unorganised as there is no Esports Policy Framework and Indian Esports Association to guide the growth of Esports in India. The announcement of the formation of AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, gaming and Comic) Task Force is a turning point for this industry. It will look at ways to build domestic capacity and also to serve the global demand in this sector.
With the inclusion of Esports in the upcoming Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, I am sure the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports under the guidance of Shri Anurag Thakur Ji will work towards the betterment of Indian Esports as well.
Q 5) According to you, what is the right process for the selection of the best talent in India to represent the country in the Asian Games as esports is a medal event?
For selection of the best talent, I feel there needs to be multiple tournaments in order to have in place a proper ranking of players. One Qualifier Tournament is not the right way to decide who the top player is. I am sure we will have such multiple tournaments in the lead up to the Asian Games before deciding who is the one going to represent India at the Global Stage.
Q 6) What are your long term goals with Chemin Esports? How do you plan to accomplish them?
Chemin Esports is definitely looking to expand into other Mobile as well as PC Games. Our focus as of now will be on the 8 Medal Events in the Asian Games like Hearthstone, Dota 2 & FIFA. The Indian Valorant scene is also on the rise and we are keeping an eye on the upcoming players and teams as well. We are waiting for the right opportunity. We are also looking at various opportunities to expand into the Global Esports Scene. We are exploring the various game titles available and the right team to invest into.
My goal is to represent India internationally: Tejas “Rexy” Kotian
Currently playing for Enigma Gaming, Tejas “Rexy” Kotian is a former Counter Strike: Global Offensive player who currently plays Valorant. Having previously represented the likes of Noble India, XTZ Esports, Samurai Esports and Godlike Esports, the Indian esports athlete has enjoyed a successful career so far, winning a number of tournaments and is now aiming to represent the country internationally.
In this exclusive interview, Tejas “Rexy” Kotian speaks about his journey so far, memorable achievements, experiences at various teams, advice to aspiring esports players, training regime, overcoming challenges and future goals.
Q 1) How did your journey in esports begin? What made you stop playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?
My journey in Esports was completely random and I never intended to enter into professional gaming when I started playing. I started off with local cafe and college tournaments with my cafe friends and through this I got my biggest break. There was this one small cafe tournament which we won by defeating the best team in India at that time and this made me realise that I am pretty good at this game and can give a tough fight to the highest level of teams.
I had played Counter Strike Global Offensive professionally for 3 years. I loved and enjoyed playing CS:GO but it did not have that much of an audience and there was only a limited amount of money which one could make out of the game. There were only a couple of organisations at that time for CS:GO which made it very hard for an underdog team to get comfortable and give their 100%. At one point there was no return from playing the game and I just decided it is not worth playing it anymore. I decided to quit CS:GO altogether and try something else in my life. It was lucky that Valorant was released a month later after my retirement from CS:GO.
Q 2) You came first in three different tournaments last year, which one has been the most memorable achievement in your career and why?
As a new team I am happy with the results we had in the start. I think the most memorable achievement would be the PENTA Tournament. We defeated Team XO which was one of the best teams in India at that time. We were 0-2 down in the bo5 finals. Even though we were down our mindset and mentality was never low and negative and we managed to win that series 3-2. It was not a very big tournament but the mindset we had as a team was very nice and it is very hard to keep that mindset in a bo5 and that too in finals.
Q 3) You have previously played at Noble India, XTZ Esports, Samurai Esports and Godlike Esports in the past. How was your experience at those teams compared to Enigma Gaming?
Apart from Godlike Esports I have had very bad experiences with all these previous organisations. Every organisation had bad elements which led to me/players being unhappy. I don't have to say much about what was wrong with them as some of the stories are already out in the community. Godlike Esports was a very good organisation with a very helpful and kind management team but unluckily it didn't work out between the players. Compared to these organisations, I’m very happy with Enigma Gaming as the management is very helpful and the players here have the same mindset when it comes to playing and being there for each other. Enigma Gaming has a plan with which they are looking forward to going with which will help the players to stay in the long run.
Q 4) What is your training regime? What would be your advice to aspiring esports players in India?
My training regime is pretty simple. I just dedicate 1 hour of my day to aim. I do 3 deathmatches for 30 mins and 30mins of range. Aim routine is very important to keep your muscle memory up to date. I feel one should make their own aim routine instead of copying any other player. Aim routine is different for different players and you should make one which is suitable for your muscle memory.
The main point that I would say to aspiring Esports players in India would be to never quit and to keep on playing all the tournaments. The results don't matter at the early stages of your career, only experience does. Once you showcase your skills in front of the audience and you are good enough then you will get an opportunity one day. You just have to be patient and be ready when that day comes.
Q 5) What are some of the challenges you have faced in your journey? How did you overcome them?
The main challenge I faced in my journey was the support of my parents when it came to playing video games. They still don't support me and want me to get a real job or go for my further studies. Proving them that I can take care of myself with gaming was the toughest thing. They gave me a year to prove myself in the gaming industry after I completed my Engineering, and only when I started earning on a monthly basis did they agree to give me more time as I practically started living on my own and was not dependent on my parents anymore.
Q 6) What are your future goals? How are you planning to achieve them?
One of my goals is to represent India on an international level. We had worked extremely hard in the last VCC but we failed to deliver when it mattered the most. We used to practise 12 hours a day with all the scrims, theory and individual grind. We have 2 more VCC coming up this year and we are going to practise much harder and we will bounce back stronger. We know we have that winning team and very positive mindset, we just have to showcase it. I personally would be grinding much more and creating many more plays which will make the opponents uncomfortable.
Also read: My goal is to make India an international force in combat sports
My goal is to win an International trophy - Karan "Excali" Mhaswadkar
Currently playing for Enigma Gaming, 24 year old Karan "Excali" Mhaswadkar is an Indian Valorant player who has also played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Having represented teams like Team Mahi, Samurai Esports and Team XO in the past, he is now setting his sights on making a mark at the international stage after a successful few years domestically.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Excali speaks about his introduction to esports, switching to Valorant, memorable achievements, overcoming challenges, training regime and his future goals.
Q 1) When were you first introduced to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and what ultimately made you retire from the game when you played for Entity Gaming?
My friend introduced me to the game Counter Strike 1.6. I played that game casually for a while and then later in 2012 CS:GO was released. I was playing that game the whole day and ultimately I decided to go pro because I was good enough to compete against the best in our region. The game in later stages got stagnant and the competition in our region was not that good compared to any other FPS game which made me lose my interest in CS:GO. And as soon as Valorant was released in the beta version, I knew this is what I want to play, this is where I want to compete to be the best and here I am.
Q 2) What motivated you to switch to Valorant and how easy/difficult was the transition? What is it about the game that you enjoy?
As I mentioned earlier I was slowly losing interest in playing CS:GO because of the game dynamics and also the lack of support from the organisations. My transition was not that difficult because I had clear goals in my mind about Valorant and I kept working for it since day 1. Valorant has all of those strategic aspects, and more thanks to its agents with unique abilities. It’s one thing to have flashes and smokes in a fight, and another to have a turret you can deploy or an ice wall you can make to hold map territories.
Q 3) The last few years have been particularly successful for you, since you came first in six different tournaments. What is the most memorable achievement of your career and why?
Dominating other teams throughout the 2020 year was something which no other team has ever done in our region till date. The biggest achievement for me back then was finishing 3rd in an International event (PvP Invitational). My most memorable achievement in my gaming career was when we beat an International team on LAN in Shanghai because that was something no one has done. The support and love we got from the audience was immense. That was the most memorable achievement for now but I’m still here to create more of them in future.
Q 4) As an esports athlete in India, what are the various challenges that you have faced in your journey? How did you overcome them?
For me I think my journey was comparatively smooth until I decided to leave my first Valorant team. The following 6-7 months were pretty rough for me and my mental health because of all the trolls and hate I was getting for it but I had to be strong mentally to overcome this. I knew that as soon as I got back to my winning ways, it was all going to fade out slowly. I’m not up there fully, but I’m slowly getting there and with time I think I’ll be the best out there again.
Q 5) How do you prepare yourself before a big tournament? What is your training regime like?
Before big tournament matches, I keep my mind fresh first of all because you cannot go into a big match with 10 other things in your mind. I personally think rather than aim and strategize as Valorant is more of a mental game, if you’re confident enough no one can beat you. My training regime consists of few deathmatches and training grounds, nothing too special.
Q 6) What are your goals for the future? How do you plan to accomplish them?
My goal is to win an International trophy. And I’ve been working very hard for it with my teammates and the coach. We have individual sessions with our coach and with the whole team as soon as our practice session ends. We try to be better each day. I think the way we are practising right now, we might be able to achieve that goal sooner or later.
My goal is to be the best and dominate with my team: Enigma Saggy
Playing for Enigma Gaming, 18 year old Sagar Kumar, a.k.a Saggy has been making a name for himself by playing BGMI and is aiming to become one of the best esports athletes in the country in the foreseeable future. In this exclusive interview, he speaks about his professional journey, proudest moments in his career, expectations from the BGMI majors, overcoming challenges and future goals.
Q 1) Please tell us about your journey as an esports athlete and what motivated you to take it up professionally?
Everyone starts from scratch and the struggle is everywhere. I started playing the game with friends for fun and I used to watch Mortal and other streamers playing scrims and different tournaments. When the 1st PMIS was organized, that was the time when I created my squad with my friends and I haven’t stopped playing since then. We were defeated in tournaments many times but never lost hope of becoming the best player in India. After my ESL finals, I was excited as it was the biggest event and it was going to be a LAN event. Unfortunately, the game was banned and we were very disheartened. When the news came that the ban was lifted two months later, I created my team and till today I am playing with the same team and hustling for trophies.
After Skyesports 3.0 and the game getting unbanned, there was a ray of hope that I can play the game professionally and that there was a future playing mobile games. That’s when I received an offer from Enigma Gaming and I said yes without thinking. This motivates me the most as well as the fact that I have created my own name in the community with my gameplay and style.
Q 2) At just 18 years of age, you’re already in the top 5 in the MVP list for highest frags. Is that your proudest achievement in your career so far? What are some of the other accomplishments that are memorable for you?
I was a bit sad that I hadn't been crowned MVP but I was in the top 5 consistently. After all, proving yourself in front of everyone is a proud moment for anyone. In the near future, my team and I will be recognised as the most dominant team in India and that will be our biggest achievement. My most memorable moment was when my father called me after seeing my interview in Bgis.
Q 3) What are your expectations from the BGMI majors taking place this year?
This year will change the scene as there are three major tournaments in a row. Enigma will surely dominate the scene and these three tournaments are when we will prove to ourselves that we are one of India’s best teams. We are planning to win all three majors but I’m confident that at least one trophy will be ours.
Q 4) What are some of the challenges you have faced as an esports athlete? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge that I faced was the pressure from my family as I’m in college and by being an athlete, I have to miss my classes often to stay in the bootcamp. My family wants me to go to college and not focus on my esports career and my college also demands 75% attendance. Things are going well so far and I’m managing my education and career and I hope it will continue to do so in the future.
Q 5) What are your future short and long term goals in esports? How do you plan to achieve them?
My goal is to be the best in the future. My team and I will surely dominate the scene. We will work hard and grind everyday till we reach the top!
I want Enigma Gaming to become a top 3 team in Asia: Lukas Gröning
The role of a coach in an esports organisation is often overlooked as it’s a common perception that coaching isn’t necessary to play video games. That couldn’t be further from the truth as esports, just like any traditional sport requires meticulous preparations, both physically and mentally in order to compete at the highest level.
In this exclusive interview, Lukas Gröning, coach of Enigma Gaming speaks about his role, journey as an esports coach, overcoming challenges, competing at the highest level, esports becoming an Olympic sport and his future goals.
Q 1) Esports coaches have not been given their share of recognition, please share your views on how different/similar is the role of an esports coach compared to a coach of a traditional sport?
The role of the coach is not nearly as big in esports as the role in traditional sport yet, but I’m confident that will change with time. The bigger the teams and organisations get, the more important will be the role of a coach. Yet I think the role is very similar. As a coach in esports, you have to focus on the multiple aspects of a team: practice schedule, goal setting, strategies, counter-strategies, player development, lineup decisions. In traditional sports you have a big team of coaches behind this to handle the workload while esports teams mostly have only one coach.
Q 2) Tell us about your journey as an esports coach and how did it lead you to Enigma Gaming?
I started playing Counter-Strike semi-professionally in 2007, since then I have been interested in leading teams and taking care of the In-game Leader role. Due to the lack of structure in esports, we never had the benefit of having a coach and most of the work that a coach has to do fell onto me in my teams. As time went on, it was the part that I began to enjoy most. I liked to work and shape younger and less experienced players.
In 2019, I stepped down as a player and started fully focusing on the coaching role. Eventually in December 2021, I was looking for a new project and I was interested to work in India again with some of my old teammates. After some discussion, the deal between Enigma and me was handled out quite quickly.
Q 3) What are some of the challenges you have faced as an esports coach? How did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges is the fact that you sometimes have to work online. As a coach you need to be able to create a bond with the players, to understand them, know their needs as well as their goals. Online makes that progress much harder.
Q 4) What are some of the most important qualities/traits/values that are required in an esports athlete for them to compete at the highest level?
Esports is a rough environment, if you don’t enjoy playing a lot (by a lot I mean A LOT), you won't be able to compete against the best. It is also important for the players to take responsibility. Often in casual games, players blame teammates or their surroundings (like lag, ping, pc, fps) for their mistakes. That will hinder the progress of understanding their problems and improving. Staying always open to new things and learning, having a beginners mentality is also a very important trait to be able to compete at the highest level.
Q 5) Esports is already a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games, do you see it becoming an Olympic sport one day?
At this point I think esports can not be an Olympic event due to their definition of what qualifies as an Olympic sport in terms of physical activity. As esports keeps growing and gaining more importance every year, I am quite sure there will be changes made and esports will eventually become an Olympic sport.
Q 6) How do you believe esports coaching will evolve in the future? What are your short and long term goals?
I think that in the future it will become just like any traditional sport, it’s just a matter of time. In the short term my goal is to do good with my current team Enigma Gaming. I would like us to be top 3 in Asia and on a personal level, I would like to improve my coaching and interactions with the players. Learning how to work with the tools better: discipline and motivation. For the long term I want to build a solid coaching model and I really want to assist some players to climb to the elite level of Valorant (or whatever game I might be coaching in future).
We aim to become a consistent esports team: Sabyasachi Bose-Antidote
The Esports community in India is going stronger and stronger everyday. The industry has recently gained a lot of attention in the country with a number of athletes coming through. In an exclusive interview, Engima's Sabyasachi Bose talks about his initial days as a Counter-strike player, proudest moments, struggles and future goals.
Q 1) When did you first start playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and what made you pursue the game professionally?
I started playing counter-strike in 2010. Back then, I used to play CS 1.6, then eventually shifted to CSGO in 2015. I decided to go pro in counter-strike when I realised I’m good at it and started winning small local tournaments.
Q 2) As a three times ESL India winner, do you consider it the proudest achievement in your career? What other accomplishments are memorable for you?
Of course, I feel proud to win the national championship thrice. Always makes me smile when I think of those days. I guess this is how sporting memory works. Also, I take a lot of pride when I play for the country in various international events.
Q 3) What is your current gaming setup?
I have a good CPU which gives me enough FPS to play professionally. Currently, I’m using a Logitech MX518 Legendary mouse, HyperX Cloud 2 Headset, Steelseries QCK + Mousepad and HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard.
Q 4) What are some of the challenges you have faced as an esports athlete in India? How did you overcome them?
I think lack of support from your parents is the most common problem in India but I don't blame them because the awareness is deficient in our country for gaming. Now it’s improving people and showcasing us as an example, but there was nothing when I started, so I had many financial issues. I had to save my tournament winnings to build my first gaming pc.
Q 5) How has the experience been at your current team Enigma Gaming? What is your role in the team?
Till now, everything has been pretty good in Enigma Gaming. The management is super supportive, and they provide us with good facilities. In person, the players are also talented and sweet guys, so I feel comfortable working and hanging out with them. I’m the captain of the Enigma Gaming Valorant team and IGL.
Q 6) What are your future short and long term goals in esports? How are you working towards accomplishing them?
For now, our goal is to become a consistent team and work hard every day. Results and achievements are the outcomes of your preparation and hard work.
Representing India in esports is the best feeling: Mohammed Lakhani
Considered as one of the OG’s of the Indian gaming industry, Mohammed Owais Lakhani has won some of the most prestigious honours such as the PUBG Mobile All Stars India 2019, PUBG Mobile Club Open - Spring Split: India and PUBG Mobile India Series 2019 and represented some of the biggest teams such as SoUL, Fnatic and Galaxy Racer. In this exclusive interview, he speaks about his journey in esports, representing different teams, overcoming challenges, memorable accomplishments and future goals.
Q 1) How did your journey in esports begin? Which game drew you into the industry and why?
My journey in esports began in 2018. I used to play football with my friends and after football, we would generally chill together and play mini militia. A friend recommended we try PUBG once. Initially, I was not a big fan of it, but the more I played the game with my friends, my love increased. Then I started taking it seriously with a rank push, and my journey started there.
Q 2) You have represented international organisations such as Fnatic; tell us about your experience and the valuable lessons you learnt there?
When I started, I never expected to be a part of an international Esports organisation—playing for a team as big as Fnatic was a dream come true. They provided us with the best of facilities. They played a significant role in bringing the global esports culture into India. One of the most valuable lessons I learned while being a part of Fnatic was professionalism. We learned how a structured esports organisation works, how athletes should conduct themselves, etc.
Q 3) You have represented SoUL, Fnatic and Galaxy Racer in your career so far; what would you consider to be your best experience amongst them and why?
All three teams have played a significant role in my esports career and I am grateful to all 3 for providing me with such beautiful experiences and opportunities. I have learned some or other things from each organisation. I learned about friendship from SoUL, professionalism from Fnatic and the experience of playing internationally from Galaxy Racer.
Q 4) What are some of the challenges you have faced in your career? How did you overcome them?
One of the significant challenges that I faced in my career was during the whole SoUL team breakup incident. It took a toll on my mental health. Fortunately, I had incredible support from my family members, who have always been with me through thick and thin. They helped me recover from that situation, and today, I am in a great place mentally.
Q 5) You have won several accolades such as the PUBG Mobile All-Stars India 2019, PUBG Mobile Club Open - Spring Split: India and PUBG Mobile India Series 2019. Which one is the most special and memorable for you and why?
Winning these 3 tournaments undoubtedly has been a fantastic experience but the PUBG Mobile Club Open - Spring Split: India holds a special place in my heart because after winning this tournament, we were allowed to represent India in Berlin. There is no better feeling than representing India on the global stage.
Q 6) Which team are you currently representing? What are some of your future goals in your esports career, and how do you plan to accomplish them?
At the moment, I am currently playing under the Team Forever banner which is a team started by me. My future goal is to bring back my A-game and compete at the highest level. I want to represent India again on the global stage. The plan for it is simple - hard work, dedication and consistency.
My goal is to solidify the organisation's fundings: Shahirul Sjahrial
The esports industry in Malaysia may be at its nascent stage, but organisations such as Urban Madness Esports are playing an integral role in growing the industry and have grown exponentially, particularly within the SEA region since its inception a year ago. In this exclusive interview, Shahirul Alfian Sjahrial, Co-Founder at Urban Madness Esports speaks about his motivation to be a part of the esports industry, achievements so far, facing challenges, short and long term goals and much more!
Q 1) As Co-Founder at Urban Madness Esports, what motivated you to form the organisation?
I realised this was my dream and true calling as there are extraordinary young talents in this fast growing multi-billion industry with endless opportunities and possibilities. The esports ecosystem has given me the motivation to strive to build a big and famous organisation in the near future. My motivation is simple, making money while doing the things I’m passionate about (playing games).
Q 2) What are some of the biggest and most significant achievements of Urban Madness Esports?
We started about a year ago, therefore we are a very new organisation, but we have managed to build the brand (Madness Esports) and have achieved positive growth in terms of exposure within the SEA region. We started off with the Mobile Legends Bang Bang team, which made it to the top 4 in the Tier 2 level in Malaysia. With that being said, one of our players turned Pro and played In MPLMY s8 last year.
We grew very quickly from over 50 competitive players in Mobile Legends Bang Bang, Valorant and Rainbow6, including players that are in our development program and recently qualified to VCT MY/SG Playoff, becoming the only Malaysian team that made it that far this year. We have over 100k +- followers combined throughout all players / content creators / brand ambassador's social media in Malaysia / Singapore / Philippines / USA / Vietnam within just 1 year.
We are aiming to organise a Valorant league at a SEA region level soon to help grow the community which is in-line with Riot Games’ direction for 2022.
Q 3) What are the various challenges that come with being a Co-Founder of an esports organisation? How did you overcome them?
Running an esports organisation in Malaysia is really tough. Obtaining seed fundings to run the organisation, getting sponsorships or partnerships is quite challenging. These are some of the biggest challenges and obstacles we face.
The feedback I usually get is amongst these three things.
1) What is Esports?
2) Not interested. We are only interested in the big esports names here in Malaysia.
3) No reply at all
It doesn't matter how good your achievements are, the major challenge is getting funding/ sponsorship / partnership from private corporations, government esports bodies and business owners. It’s because Malaysia does not have enough awareness about the esports ecosystem and the opportunities and revenue possibilities that exist in the industry.
There are other challenges as well. You ask how I overcame it? To be very honest, we never did overcome this issue. We are still open and actively searching for Seed Funding for our esports organisation. If you or any of your readers out there are interested in investing in us, we would welcome it with open arms.
Q 4) What are your views on Esports being a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games? Do you believe it might feature in the Olympics one day?
I think it’s about time but the selection process needs to be really transparent and fair. I also believe they should include more gaming titles and platforms such as Virtual Reality. I believe that esports needs to be included in the Olympics soon as esports athletes are no different from traditional athletes.
Q 5) What are your short and long term goals as Co-Founder at Urban Madness Esports? How do you plan to accomplish them?
My short term goal is to solidify the organisation's fundings. My long term goal is being the first one to integrate WEB3 / MetaVerse / Crypto / NFT into the Malaysia/Singapore Esports Ecosystem to diversify revenue streams.
Enigma Gaming to integrate its ecosystem into the metaverse soon: Aryaman Wasan
The esports industry in India has grown exponentially and professional teams in the country can go toe-to-toe against international teams at major events. Founded in 2020, Enigma Gaming currently has 3 top tier teams that compete at the highest level in PUBG, Valorant and Free Fire. In this exclusive interview, Aryaman Wasan, Co-Founder of Enigma Gaming speaks about his motivation to form an esports organisation, expectations from the VCC Main Event, overcoming challenges, business model and his future goals.
Q 1) What motivated you to become co-founder of Enigma Gaming alongside JP Renaud and how has the journey been since its inception until now?
I was always a sports enthusiast and subsequently an esports enthusiast. For too long, I had seen Indian teams struggle on the global stage despite India having such a large population. The reason I wanted to start an esports organisation is to try changing that. I attribute the struggle against international teams to a lack of structure and facilities provided to aspiring talent and that’s the problem I set out to solve with JP’s assistance.
The journey so far has been truly amazing. As with every start-up, there are always ups and downs, but I have got to learn a lot and grow as a human being during the journey of building this organisation. At the moment, we have two tier 1 teams performing amazingly well, which is truly a great feeling.
Q 2) Enigma Gaming recently won the VCC India Qualifiers 1 and will now face South Asia’s top teams at the VCC Main Event. What are your expectations from the event, and how do you think Enigma Gaming will fare?
I’m super proud of the team for their fantastic performance in the qualifiers. Since the addition of YB as our coach, the atmosphere in the team has been phenomenal. We’ve made it to the top 4 of the event already, and I’m quite confident that we can go out there and win the event. The boys have certainly been working extremely hard and giving it their all. We’ve got our eyes on the prize!
Q 3) As co-founder of Enigma Gaming, what are the various challenges you have faced in your role? How did you overcome them?
That’s a great question. It’s quite funny that the biggest challenge I’ve actually faced was right when we started the organisation. We began operation in August 2020, set up our first boot camp in Mumbai, and flew our PUBG team in on the 1st of September; unfortunately, the game got banned on the 2nd of September. I couldn’t imagine a bigger set up right at the onset of the organisation. He continued to support our athletes and worked on onboarding new teams and changing our strategy after that. Just like any other start-up, trying to build a company from the ground up involves learning a lot of new skills and handling aspects of the company that you don’t have any experience or expertise in. The key to overcoming such challenges is primarily three components, in my opinion. 1) A growth driver and positive mindset, 2) To be extremely hardworking 3) To be extremely persistent. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long the tunnel may be.
Q 4) Please share your insights on how the business model of Enigma Gaming works and its sustainability?
The business model at the moment involves three primary components—sponsorship, prize money, and merchandising. Given the industry's growth, these revenue streams are definitely going to be sustainable. Another potential stream that is inevitable sooner or later is broadcasting rights. It’s important to note that most sports teams make about 50% of their revenue from broadcasting rights and this is yet to be introduced to the esports ecosystem.
Q 5) What are your future goals for Enigma Gaming? How do you plan to accomplish them?
We’re working on some extremely exciting stuff at the moment. In the esports space, we plan on having six teams in the next 12 months; really looking forward to providing more athletes with the opportunity to prove themselves and help them grow and achieve their ambition. Along with that, we have also begun focusing on building an app to help casual gamers compete with one another in various games. Lastly, we’re looking to integrate our ecosystem into the metaverse. In order to achieve this three-fold expansion approach, we’re expanding our top-level management team quite rapidly to have the workforce to execute our vision. Hopefully, we’ll have some exciting announcements for you guys very soon!
Our mission is to discover, create and unleash esports heroes: ONE Esports
ONE Esports is Asia’s largest championship esports series featuring some of the biggest teams and gamers in the industry. As a joint venture between ONE Championship and Dentsu, ONE Esports considers itself to be the home of ‘Esports Heroes’ and places great emphasis on it’s values of integrity, humility, honour, respect, courage, discipline and compassion.
In this exclusive interview, Carlos Alimurung, CEO of ONE Esports shares his insights over the company’s mission and his ambitions, being a lifelong gamer, differences and similarities between esports and traditional sports, the reasons for ONE Esports’ success and using data to deliver a better fan experience.
Q 1) As CEO of one of the biggest and most influential esports media companies in Southeast Asia, what are your ambitions to grow and scale the business further and expand esports globally? What is the mission of One Esports and how are you trying to fulfil that objective?
Our mission is to share and celebrate the stories of esports heroes who ignite the world with strength, hope, dreams, and inspiration. ONE Esports is powered by a robust content flywheel, which includes world-class events, esports news on https://www.oneesports.gg/, social media, long-form and short-video, and data and analytics. This enables us to deliver on our mission and super serve esports fans around the world.
Some brands have difficulty understanding this complex and young community of fans who have a low tolerance for poorly thought-out engagements. They struggle not only with authenticity and engagement, but also with showing the esports community their commitment to making esports huge.
ONE Esports helps partners build an authentic relationship with esports fans, and our turnkey solution enables them to showcase their commitment by engaging fans across the entire fan experience.
Q 2) You have previously worked at Battlefy, an online esports competition platform. What is it about the esports industry that makes you passionate and do you consider yourself a gamer?
I am a lifelong gamer, and the opportunity to apply my experience to help grow esports globally and especially tell the stories of esports athletes and heroes in Asia was irresistible.
I’m a big fan of Magic the Gathering. It’s a complicated game that is convenient to play, because it is cross-platform between PC and mobile. Moreover, the game has a deep lore and story, which I enjoy exploring and delving into. They just released the Kamigawa Neon Dynasty set, and the setting is a futuristic Japanese science fiction world with ninjas and samurai with an anime aesthetic. Who doesn’t love ninjas and samurai?!
Q 3) What would you say are the differences and similarities between esports and traditional sports? What are your views on esports being the future of sports and entertainment?
I spend half my time explaining to people that esports is just like sports, and the other half of my time explaining that esports is very different from traditional stick and ball sports. Much like traditional sports, esports athletes are contracted to exclusively compete for a particular team. They endure gruelling practice and training to earn their place on the team to compete for huge prize pools, which can go up to millions of dollars.
In terms of viewership numbers, we hosted the ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major in April last year, which generated 274M views over 105 hours of broadcast across 9 days. The Major was the third most watched Dota 2 Major in history. We also recently held the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Women’s Invitational (MWI). According to Esports Charts, the event is one of the largest events in the history of women’s esports, setting a new viewership record.
The average age of an esports fan is a lot younger than the average age of traditional sports fans, and the audience size continues to grow by the day. Our data shows that the average age of a ONE Esports fan is 29 years old. If you contrast that with the NBA, which has one of the youngest demos within traditional stick and balls sports, then you will discover that the average age of fans who view games on TV is 37 years old. This is why so many media experts argue that esports is the future of sports and entertainment.
Q 4) What would you say is the reason behind One Esports’ success over the years?
What sets ONE Esports apart from other esports organisations is our commitment to our mission to share and celebrate the stories of esports heroes who ignite the world with hope, strength, dreams, and inspiration.
The most successful brands who have engaged in esports have taken a holistic approach and activated across multiple channels, experiences, and content. When fans engage with a brand consistently across multiple activations and platforms, it becomes a long-term opportunity to create awareness and genuine relationships.
The global pandemic not only accelerated the growth of esports, but also changed the psychology of many marketers, many of whom saw this period as an opportunity to pilot new initiatives. ONE Esports was recognised as a high-quality partner who would wisely and effectively apply partners’ investment to help them connect with the esports community.
ONE Esports is one of the few companies in the industry that can help brands engage and connect with the esports community across several fan touchpoints. We help our partners build a sincere relationship with esports fans. We start with listening to what our partners want to achieve. We then apply our domain expertise to identify and execute the right activations to deliver those goals. These activations range from live esports events, live talk shows, documentaries, written and video content, and social engagements.
For example, we recently announced a new partnership with Samsung that will see ONE Esports develop an exclusive ONE Esports mobile app for Samsung devices in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, to be launched later this year. The app will be the go-to source for esports news and content in Southeast Asia and will seamlessly integrate into the ONE Esports media ecosystem. It will feature news and content syndicated from ONE Esports’ website, https://www.oneesports.gg/, and it will be localised in 5 different languages. Samsung users will also enjoy exclusive videos and rewards. The app will be made available in the Samsung Galaxy Store and Google Play Store for over-the-air download exclusively on Samsung mobile devices this year.
Q 5) How is One Esports using data for fan engagement to deliver a better experience?
Data is at the heart of ONE Esports. It shapes everything that we do and drives the company’s key decisions. Our data-driven approach to marketing and business strategy has been fundamental to our fast growth and our ability to deliver results for our partners.
We have an in-house Analytics and Insights team that publishes proprietary esports reports. So far, we have completed proprietary reports on the OTT landscape, female esports fans, and most recently, about Chinese esports fans, which contains a summary of our high-level learnings about esports fans in China based on a large-scale quantitative research study.
We recently announced a partnership with HSBC, one of the world’s largest international banking and financial services organisations, where ONE will conduct proprietary research to understand the Southeast Asian esports community’s preferences and behaviours related to esports fans’ financial services decisions.
Esports gives equal opportunities if you’re skillful - Parul ‘Alpha’ Sharma
Despite esports growing at a mercurial rate in India, it remains a largely male dominated industry. Unlike most sports, esports doesn’t have separate categories for men and women and both can compete with or against each other based on merit and skill for the highest honours. Having more female participation in the industry not only ensures greater diversity but also paves the way for girls to pursue a career in esports in the future.
Godlike Girls is a female BGMI team consisting of a six member squad: Parul ‘Alpha’ Sharma (leader), Nancy ‘Clutchy’ Singh, Mannat ‘Evil’ Kudyar, Khushveen ‘Rebel’ Kaur, Aastha ‘Scar’ and Antra ‘GodLAntraà’ Tyagi. In this exclusive interview, team leader Parul ‘Alpha’ Sharma speaks about pursuing a career in esports, responsibilities as leader of Godlike Girls, encouraging more females to pursue a career in the industry, overcoming challenges, memorable achievements and future goals.
Q 1) Since there are comparatively fewer female esports athletes in India, what inspired you to pursue this field as a career option?
Esports is one of the few sports that does not require separate categories for men and women. Everyone can compete against each other equally. You can play at the highest level regardless of your gender if you have the skill.
Q 2) What are your various responsibilities as the leader of the Godlike Girls team?
As the leader of the girl’s team, my responsibilities include
1. Formulating and implementing tactics in the game
2. Analysing how the team can improve after matches
3. Organising team activities
4. Making sure that my teammates are at their mental and physical best
5. Give equal opportunities to all the players
Q 3) What must be done to encourage more females to take up esports as a career option? Do you think that esports is a lucrative industry for female gamers in India?
In recent years, esports in India has been growing rapidly, making it a lucrative industry for gamers. Conducting more large-scale tournaments for female gamers is something that would definitely encourage upcoming female gamers.
Q 4) As a professional esports athlete, what are the various challenges that you have faced in your journey so far? How did you overcome them?
One of the major challenges I faced in my career was to convince my parents that I wanted to pursue esports professionally. Eventually, I managed to convince them once they saw the prospects for gamers. Another challenge was the lack of opportunities. GodLike played a crucial role in helping me overcome that challenge.
Q 5) How has the experience been at Godlike so far? What are some of your most memorable achievements with the team?
The experience at GodLike has been immense. They have helped us in providing the right infrastructure and opportunities. Through GodLike, our team has received the recognition we deserve. The most memorable achievement has been the first tournament we won under the GodLike banner. We showed everyone that we could repay the faith GodLike has put into us.
Q 6) What are your goals, both as an esports athlete and as a leader of Godlike Girls? How do you plan to achieve them?
Our goal is to represent India just like the GodLike Boys team did recently. Winning more tournaments will always remain a primary objective. The plan to achieve these goals is simple - give your 100%.
Godlike is the best esports organization in India - ZGOD
At 21 years of age, Abhishek "ZGOD" Choudhary is currently representing GodLike Esports. He recently won ‘The Redeemer’ award at the Battlegrounds Mobile India Series 2021 tournament and enjoyed a tremendously successful 2021 after his team finished first in four different tournaments. In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, “ZGOD” speaks about his journey in the esports industry, experience in Godlike, memorable achievements in his career, overcoming setbacks, advice to youngsters and future goals.
Q 1) How did your journey in esports begin, and what made you pursue a professional career in this field?
My journey in esports began in 2019. I used to play for hours with my friends, and that’s when I realized that I was good at this game. I was highly passionate about the game. The remote possibility of making it a career excited me; therefore, I decided to give it a shot.
Q 2) What made you join Godlike Esports, and how has the experience been so far? What motivated you to switch from Team TapaTap?
GodLike is the best Esports organization in the country. The ambition and plans of Chetan (Kronten) for GodLike made me join the organization. He was creating something special, and I wanted to be a part of it. The project presented by GodLike motivated me to switch from Team TapaTap.
Q 3) What has been your most memorable achievement in your esports career so far and why?
The most memorable achievement has been the opportunity to represent India on the global stage. Every athlete dreams of playing for their country, and I am fortunate enough to live that dream. Therefore, it is my most memorable achievement.
Q 4) What are some of the setbacks you have faced in your journey? How did you overcome them?
One of the setbacks I faced in my journey was the demotivation you feel at different stages of your life. Several things can demotivate you because you can still not achieve your goals even if you give your best. I overcame this obstacle by always remembering why I started this journey - because I was passionate about the game, and it allowed me to make my parents proud.
Q 5) What would be your advice to youngsters who wish to pursue a career in esports?
Never think that you cannot achieve your dreams. If you work hard, you will achieve your goals sooner or later. Never give up on your dreams.
Q 6) What are your future goals? How do you plan to achieve them?
My future goal is to represent India. While representing your country, that feeling you get is unreal, and I want to relive it. The plan is simple - give my 100% and trust the process.
My goal is to make Godlike Esports the best team in the country and represent India - Vivek Aabhas "ClutchGod" Horo
Currently playing for Godlike Esports, 19 year old Vivek Aabhas "ClutchGod" Horo is one of the most successful competitive gamers in India. His team recently finished 1st at the Skyesports Championship 3.0, LOCO War of Glory: Grand Finals and the OneShot Showdown Season 2: Grand Finals and are now setting their sights on a successful 2022.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, ClutchGod speaks about his introduction to PUBG, training regime, experience with Godlike Esports, the demands from a professional esports athlete, the viability of esports being a career option and his future goals.
Q 1) What is it about PUBG that grabbed your attention, and when did you realize that it’s a game you can excel in professionally?
When I play PUBG/BGMI, I feel at my natural best. I feel relaxed, and my entire focus is on the game. I have never felt that way with anything else - so that feeling while playing the game grabbed my attention. When I won my first tournament in 2019, I realized that I could excel in esports professionally.
Q 2) As one of the most successful and popular competitive gamers in India, tell us about your training regime and how do you prepare for a big tournament?
We train for 7-8 hours every day. We have a strict schedule that has been set after years of being in the game. We play practice matches and hold team discussions after them to discuss the game at length. We also hold sessions where we watch gameplay clips of teams from around the world and study how to improve our game.
Q 3) What is your role at Godlike Esports, and how has your experience been at the team so far?
My role at GodLike Esports is as an In-game leader and Assaulter. The experience has been tremendous. The management team has done an excellent job providing us with the opportunities and facilities to compete at the highest level.
Q 4) While there seems to be a debate about esports not being a “real sport,” please share some insights on the physical and mental demands required to be a professional esports athlete?
It takes many hours across many years to play at a competitive level. Like any sport, you can hop in and enjoy playing casually, but you will not be a professional athlete. The level of physical and mental exertion in esports, if not more, is as demanding as traditional sports. The cortisol level produced by an esports athlete is about the same as that of a race-car driver. This is combined with a high pulse, sometimes as high as 160 to 180 beats per minute, equivalent to what happens during a high-speed run, almost a marathon. That's not to mention the motor skills involved. Esports athletes, just like in other sports, also need and benefit from physical and mental conditioning.
Q 5) Do you think becoming an esports player in India is a viable career option? What are some of the challenges you have faced in your journey?
Becoming an esports player in India is definitely a viable career option now. Several factors such as the high availability of smartphones and high-speed internet at an economical rate, great platforms like YouTube and Loco to showcase your talent, increase in the number of tournaments and prize pools have helped change the perception of esports in the country. Parents and society are now realizing that esports can be a rewarding career option. One of the biggest challenges I faced in my journey was to convince my parents to pursue my dream to become an esports athlete.
Q 6) What are your goals for the future, and how do you plan to achieve them?
The goal is to make GodLike Esports the best team in the country and represent India on the global stage again. We plan to achieve this by working hard day and night.
My goal is to make India proud by winning the PUBG Mobile Global Championship - Neyoo from Godlike Esports
The Grand Finals of the PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2021 are set to be held from January 21st to 23rd and Godlike Esports is the only team representing India in the final event. In an exclusive interaction with SPOGO, the team’s Entry Fragger and Assaulter Suraj Nityanand "Neyoo" Majumdar speaks about his journey and experiences in the esports industry, memorable accomplishments, advice to those aspiring to make esports a career, overcoming challenges and future goals.
Q 1) How did your esports journey begin, and when did you realize it’s a passion you can pursue professionally?
My esports journey began in 2019. The first tournament I participated in was NIMO Streamers Battle, where I played under Team Cosmic YT with Ghatak. I realized I could pursue esports professionally when I joined TSM Entity. I understood the opportunities in this market and I wanted to make the best out of it.
Q 2) What made you join Godlike Esports from Team TapaTap? What’s your role in the team, and how are you finding the experience?
GodLike is the number one esports organization in the country. When I heard about the opportunity of playing for them, I couldn’t believe it. It allowed me to play with the best and compete at the highest level. Currently, I play the role of an Entry Fragger and Assaulter for the team. The experience has been immense. I could have never imagined this when I started playing. I am grateful for all the opportunities that have been given to me over the years.
Q 3) You have achieved a significant number of things in your esports career so far; what would you say is the most memorable and why?
I am grateful for the several memorable moments in my life. The most memorable one would be the moment when I won the MVP at BGIS 2021 (Battlegrounds Mobile India Series 2021) and where we got to know that we would have the opportunity to represent India at PMGC (PUBG Mobile Global Championship) 2021.
Q 4) How much do you train in a day, and what would be your advice to others who wish to pursue a career in esports?
We train for around 8-9 hours every day. To those who wish to pursue a career in esports, I would advise them to take their practices seriously, work hard without getting distracted, be consistent, and not lose motivation if they face any obstacles.
Q 5) What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was at the beginning of my career. I did not win a tournament until the 8th tournament I participated in. It was very demotivating as we worked extremely hard for every match. I overcame that challenge by working even harder, studying opponents’ gameplay, and watching games of international teams/players.
Q 6) What are your goals for the future, and how do you plan to achieve them?
The goal for the near future is to win the PMGC (PUBG Mobile Global Championship) and make India proud. I plan to achieve this by working hard, giving my 100%, and working with my teammates.
WEC Global Final berth sealed by Arrow Esports, Chemin Esports, Total Gaming and Orangutan Elite
(Esports news) The World Esports Cup (WEC 21) has come to an end with teams such as Arrow Esports, Chemin Esports, Total Gaming and Orangutan Elite securing the Global Finals berth and will now face the best teams from Pakistan and Nepal. The championship which began on November 21st 2021 is in the last leg of its grand finale with the mega event starting from January 10th to 14th 2022.
Despite putting up a valiant battle, Team SoloMid (TSM FTX), Blackflag Army, Aura Gaming, Stone Crushers, Desi gamers, TG Tycoon, Helping Gamers, and UG Empire could not secure a place in the final showdown as the event was a resounding success with one million plus views, views--6 lakh on the first day while 4 lakh on second.
We’ve got some of the most recognized free fire teams from across India, Pakistan, and Nepal
through the tournament and it's heartening to see that the best and the most skilled ones will be taking on each other. With Indian and Pakistan clashes along with the teams from Nepal on the card, we promise an edge-of-the-seat thriller as you watch the global finals. I congratulate each team who made it to the grand finale and I wish each of them the best of luck for the final showdown. I personally look forward to the epic clash of India vs Pakistan in this last leg,” said Mr. Vishwalok Nath, Director, World Esports Cup.
The teams representing Pakistan in the final showdown will be: Team Hotshot, The Guardians, Five mutants and Legend Style ES while the teams representing Nepal are: 2b Gamer, Tonde Gamer, Dada Gang and KM Brotherhood. Team Arrow Esports, with players like Afzal Khalid, Roshan Singh, Sanchayan Das, Abdullah Khalid, Divyanshu Singh and Prableen Singh in their team, topped the India Finals with the most points, 158, (Rank point – 93 and Kill point – 65).
Team Chemin Esports, comprising top gamers like Swastik Madhukar, Anil Vadher, Prakash Vaghela, Jogesh Pandey and Anand Madhukar, secured the second position with 154 points (Rank point – 91 and Kill point – 63). Ajay Sharma- led five-member Team Total Gaming, comprising gamers like Hora Vetkumar, Narai Yadav, Daksh Garg, and Rohit Sarraf (sub) grabbed the third position with 122 points (Rank point – 64 and Kill point – 58). Team Orangutan Elite, with Dev Kumar, Rohit Sahu, Lokesh Karakoti, Aditya Singh, and Ajay Saini in their roster, joined the top three in the fourth position with 113 points (Rank point – 67 and Kill point – 46).
The inaugural edition of WEC with Infinix Smartphones as the title sponsor has a prize pool of Rs. 75 lakh. The tournament will be played virtually and will be streamed live on India Today Gaming Youtube Channel along with the Facebook handles of India Today, and Aaj Tak giving fans across India, Pakistan and Nepal the opportunity to witness the tournament and watch their favourite teams compete in Free Fire.