The Gaming and E-sports industry of the world have grown exponentially in the past decade and professional gamers are at par with players from other sports in terms of earnings and popularity.
Though gaming as a profession is far from mainstream in India, our country has still continued to produce very talented gamers who have plied their trade in the country and around the world and have won numerous honors.
One such individual is Kunal “PexXxeR” Bhatia. Counter-strike was and still is one of the most popular multiplayer games and the competitive scene of the game is fierce and insanely popular. PexXxer was one of the core members of Team aTe who were one of the first teams to gain mainstream success and they have represented India in the WCG grand finals and won the India qualifiers four times in a row from 2006-2010.
So without further ado, this is how an interview with PexXxer went.
#1 How did a career in E-sports start for you and for aTe gaming?
Well, I started playing Counter-strike as if it were just any other computer game but soon we were addicted to it and when we found out about the competitive scene of the game, I and my brothers decided to make a team and give it a try. Obviously, we didn’t start winning right away.
We lost and got knocked out of a tournament after losing a map 7-0 but we kept playing and practicing and all that paid off when we won the Mumbai WCG 2006.
#2 How big was aTe in their prime? What was it like playing for aTe?
aTe was very popular in their prime and we became even more popular when we beat Team Acid who were the undefeated champions in India. Playing for aTe was a great pleasure and all the fame and sponsorships added to the amazing experience.
#3 What does it take for a new clan/player to go pro?
All it takes to become a professional is true dedication towards the game. But that doesn’t mean one should focus all their time and energy into the game. One should always maintain a balance between professional and personal life. Just keep practicing and be focused about what you want from the game and that should be enough to take you to your goal. There is definitely no dearth of raw talent in the country and I think given the right opportunities gamers from the country can make it on the biggest stages.
Well, that was Pexxer.
Sayandeep “iScream” Dutta is a professional Counter-Strike:Global Offensive(popularly known as CS:GO) player and is one of the current stars in the country’s gaming scene. He had a few words of wisdom to share about the gaming scene in India.
#1 So we’ll start with a simple one, what’s your in-game alias or your nick? As it’s popularly called.
I used to go by the name SilverCROW back in the Counter-strike 1.6 days. I’m currently using the nick: “iScreaM” and this is the one I intend to keep using.
#2 How did a career in gaming become a reality?
Initially, I used to play games like FIFA and GTA for fun as I wasn’t too good at first person shooters. One of my friends suggested Counter-strike to me and I used to be a regular at the local cyber café. That is where I joined my first team and competed with other cyber cafes. Once we understood how big the competitive scene of the game is we practiced and it inspired us to reach the level of the players we admired.
#3 So what’s the current E-sports scenario in India like?
It is definitely growing bigger and bigger every day. I remember that in our early days we used to compete for prize pools of around 2000 rupees nowadays there are tournaments with prizes worth 1 lakh or even more. With more and more teams getting sponsored becoming a professional is becoming something worth the effort and hardship. The sponsors inspire the gamers to practice harder as they know at the end of the day they will get rewarded.
#4 How has the inception of CS:GO changed the scenario?
CS:GO is a much-improved version of the original 1.6 in terms of graphics and effects so a PC with considerable specs is needed to run the game, which gives the sponsors the opportunity to promote processors and other hardware which is good for the gamers as it increases the exposure.
#5 What are some of your achievements that you hold dear?
Well to be quite honest there are too many moments from my time as a gamer that I would never want to forget. To list some – WCG 2011 India qualifiers Delhi, where we secured the second position. We were winners at EDGE 2012, Techno India, Kolkata to name a few. But the tournament memory that I hold dearest is Cyberia tournament 2007 where we beat the best team in Kolkata named Afterlife and I was presented with the best player honor. That is one to remember.
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