Esports is a fast-growing global market with millions of gamers online willing to make a mark. India alone is estimated to have almost 620 million gamers by 2020. Unfortunately, though there are not many people who are willing to invest their time and money in esports.
The Bridge got a chance to catch up with 21-year-old esport gamer Monish ‘cyx’ Kumar who is from Chennai but was born and raised in Qatar. In his short career, Kumar has taken giant steps in the world of esport industry and achieved a lot.
He started playing esports from a young age of nine and hasn’t stopped playing since.
Describing his initial years as a gamer Kumar says “Since I was nine years old in Qatar, I started playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and A Talisman online. But Counterstrike 1.6 was what got me started. When I was 15 I moved to India and realized that there were Counterstrike tournaments which I participated in and later I played League of Legends. I got into Overtime due to a friend who gifted me the game. I then went to cafés and played tournaments and I made it to a tournament team in Season 2 where we finished second’’.
From winning PUBG tournaments to featuring in the New Indian Express, the young gamer has achieved a lot. He was ranked in top-250 in Europe in Overwatch and was also the part of the team which was sponsored by Arknemesis Gaming in Chennai. He represented Team India for the Overwatch World-Cup in 2019 in Anaheim.
Antonio Daniloski is who Kumar looks up to as his role model from the world of gaming.
“Antonio Daniloski was the center of mouse sports which is a big organization and he was a one man army in his team and after his death in 2010, the team just went down and could never come back. That was the big thing for me how one person had such a big impact and how amazing he was’’
Kumar also talks about Kabaji who according to him was one of the few streamers he would follow as Kabaji was an educational streamer and watching him developed any gamers knowledge.
Speaking about the future of esports in India Kumar said “I think Indian esports will be huge in mobile gaming with PUBG and Prefire coming out. We will be one of the biggest countries in epsorts. With PC esports there is a lot of potential but people do not take a lot of advantage of that potential as the society is still not convinced about esports as a career and lack the motivation to invest.’’
Kumar plays a lot of online games but his specialization was in the game of Overwatch.
Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer shooting game where the game assigns players in two teams of six and each player picks from a roster of 30 characters known as heroes. Players work together in a team and defend control points.
An engineering graduate from Sri Venkateshwara College of Engineering, Chennai Kumar is now pursuing his Masters degree in Sports Management from Bond University in Australia.
Kumar believes esports is becoming more of a sport and he wants to go fulltime into the industry. As a hardcore gamer Kumar would want to join esports industry because he believes he understands the industry and has a knowledge of it.
Speaking on his future plans after his course he said “I want my future to be in esports and with my experience I am hopeful of getting a spot in e-ports, although I still have to figure out what my best aspect in the industry is I am looking to do internships and I would like to be involved in the business side of esports as a lot of companies are investing into it and I believe I am creative and I can be successful in the business side of the game.’’
He believes he has an overall good game sense and believes he has cleared initial hurdles. At start his parents were not happy with him spending a lot of time on the laptop playing games.
“I was lucky to have supportive parents but initially they were not happy with me and they wanted me to focus on my studies, but they saw my passion after I explained them the money involved and about players, I made them understand about the industry and how it works and they gradually understood and took it as a sport and not a hobby. I think a lot of people should do that and they should make their parents understand about what they are doing and what the industry is about and show them they can be successful by winning tournaments or being part of organizations and volunteering, you need to prove yourself’’ Kumar said.
Kumar is well aware about the perils of becoming a professional gamer but is still determined to make his name.
“Playing is not easy as professionals deal with mental health and they sit at least 12 hours everyday and keep working and playing. I stopped doing anything for six months and only played. That is when I started respecting the professionals who do it. So you not only need passion but also dedication to become a professional’’ Kumar remarked.
Kumar had some word of wisdom for every budding gamer.
“If you want to go big as a player rather than playing 12 hours a day divide it into four hours a day and watch and listen to other gamers. That is the best way you learn from your mistakes and not by only playing. Watch other people and learn from your mistakes’’ Kumar concluded.