Has it ever happened to you that your parents start yelling at you for spending hours on your gaming console? During my teenage years, I used to spend most of my free time perfecting my aim in one of the most popular FPS games, Counter-Strike 1.6, but my mum did not like the fact that I was spending my time on something which did not really have a tangible outcome until my college team won first place at a college festival. Back then trying to convince your parents about the gaming scene in India was very difficult and it really didn’t make sense to actually invest your whole time playing computer games competitively. But times have changed now for good. Team Brutality’s captain, Ankit “V3nom” Panth in conversation with Saurabh Gamare tell us the steps what a young gamer needs to follow in order to become a pro gamer.
STEP 1: CAREER CHOICE – YOUR DECISION
Exhibit : Is it a good career choice for teenagers to invest in Gaming?
Ankit: The gaming scene in our country has still not reached a consistent level. It is picking up and getting bigger but still, we need to see the consistency. So I would suggest if you think you have it in you, go for it but keep some backup. Ignoring studies or work and completely relying on this is a big no from my side unless you can see the future and you are confident that only this would give you a good life.
STEP 2: INVEST 2 HOURS DAILY
EXHIBIT : HOW MANY HOURS SHOULD AN AMATEUR INVEST IN GAMING?
Ankit: Professional players invest 6 to 8 hours or even more sometimes. During big tournaments, it can even hit 10 to 11 hours a day. For amateurs, they should at least try and give 2 hours every day, where they can try and learn the weapons in the game, the official maps, watch tournaments or demos (replays) of their favourite players and learn from them.
STEP 3: CONVINCE YOUR FAMILY
Exhibit : How should gamers convince their parents whether Esports is a viable career option or not?
Ankit: I had to earn their trust which took me a lot of time but eventually they started believing in me. I didn’t neglect my studies, I don’t drink or smoke, I don’t have spectacles, and I go to the gym every day. These are some major concerns which parents have. If you don’t neglect your studies and your report card scores don’t fall, most of the parents would give you some time to play. I lost a lot of tournaments initially but then when I started winning and there was money coming in, they kind of started noticing it. Eventually, all parents want to see is a viable career which could give their kids a better life and there’s nothing bad in that. Right now even my parents are still 50 per cent convinced so you can imagine how difficult it is but it’s not impossible.
STEP 4: GAMING KIT FOR THE WIN!
Exhibit:- When should amateur gamers invest in buying a gaming kit also does buying a gaming kit help improve one’s gaming skill?
Ankit: Once you know the basics of the game you should invest in gaming peripherals. It will surely help you improve your game. Back in the days, I used to have a membrane keyboard and a pretty basic headset but now when I switched to the Corsair K70 mechanical keyboard and the Void Pro wireless headset, I felt a major difference. The keyboard is very responsive and the sound is pretty clear in the headset. Same goes for the computer. I am talking about Counter-Strike here. If you are playing below 250 fps then you won’t be able to perform your best. Also, you cannot expect to play on 50-100 fps and get those insane kills against a guy who is getting more than 300 fps. Investing in a 240-hertz monitor would also help a lot. I play on the Alienware 25 240 hertz gaming monitor and it’s undoubtedly the best monitor out there. The colours are amazing and the response time is great.
STEP 5: PRACTICE. PRACTICE. AND PRACTICE.
Exhibit: What should a gamer do to take his gaming skills one level above?
Ankit: The competition is getting tougher every day. You have to be connected to the game. Set a practice routine. Try and practice every day and while doing that record your own demos. After you are done playing you can watch your own demos and analyse your mistakes. It helps a lot when you watch international tournaments, learn from the people who have been there since the beginning. Take note of your local gaming scene. If you are playing a local competition, check who is your opponent and watch their demos to see their weakness and strategies. It would help you to counter their moves during the game. The more time you invest into the game, the more you will learn and improve. There are no shortcuts in the world of Esports.
STEP 6: GET LOCAL EXPOSURE
Exhibit: From where can a young gamer get guidance and playing exposure from?
Ankit: First, they should gain experience by playing in local cafes or college tournaments. Then once the team is ready they can start competing in ESL India Premiership. In this tournament, there are 3 cups. Starters, Challengers and Masters. The amateur teams begin from the starter cup and then depending on their performance they keep levelling up. During the entire year, there are so many tournaments which they can participate in. There will be top teams but you have to play if you want to understand where you stand and how much more you have to improve. Fearing the top teams should not be an option.
STEP 7: BUILD YOURSELF AS A BRAND
Exhibit: How to earn a living if you are not winning tournaments?
Ankit: Your journey will only start once you have gained some recognition after winning tournaments. Then you have to build your fan base and approach sponsors. In my case Team Brutality is India’s only team to have a maximum number of sponsors such as Dell, Alienware, Intel, Corsair, Gold’s Gym and that’s not it. I have my solo brand deals as well with multinational brands. I am the brand ambassador of Alienware and Intel. I have signed a big 7 figure deals with a lot of brands which is helping me live my dream in the world of Esports. It’s all about building your brand and how hard you want to take your passion ahead. I also stream on YouTube and get a lot of donations through PayTm and Superchat every day. A few months back a guy called Prabhakar donated me more than 1 lakh. So earning is not a problem but being consistent and convincing parents will take a lot of time and will require a hell lot of hard work.
STEP 8: CONSISTENCY
Exhibit: How to get sponsorship from brands?
Ankit: Once you start winning tournaments and have made a name for yourself, you can start approaching brands. It’s not easy because building a brand is very different from building a team. You need consistency and a fan following only then you will even get a reply
STEP 9: STAY MOTIVATED
Exhibit: How do you keep yourself motivated to carry on playing competitively?
Ankit: I have worked very hard for this. Today when I see my mom smiling because of what I do. That’s my motivation. Now she doesn’t have to answer anybody anymore, people don’t throw questions about her upbringing. I come from a humble background and in the beginning, when I started I didn’t have a computer nor did I have money to spend on gaming cafes. There were also times when I used to complete my friend’s homework so that I could play at his house for a few hours. I didn’t get anything on the platter so I know the importance of what I have earned today.
EXHIBIT: WHO WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PLAYER THAT YOU GREW UP WATCHING?
Ankit: Spawn, cogu, and f0rest
EXHIBIT: ANY GAMING SUPERSTITIONS OR ROUTINE BEFORE A TOURNAMENT?
Ankit: Play my set on the phone, do some pushups, head back to my computer and kill some bots for warmup
EXHIBIT: WHO HAS BEEN YOUR TOUGHEST OPPONENT SO FAR?
Ankit: In Dubai against their home team, Team Risky
EXHIBIT: IF NOT A GAMER THEN?
Ankit: DJ or Fitness expert or a Model
EXHIBIT: WHICH GAME HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE ONE FOR YOU?
Ankit: In 2010 during my Counter-Strike 1.6 days, we played a Tournament at Chitkara University in Jalandhar and defeated India’s then number 1 team, Ate Gaming in the finals after being 1 map down in a best of 3 maps. I can never forget that tournament