Virtual world transforms me into a different person: Shagufta Iqbal aka Xyaa
A gamer and an online streamer Shagufta Iqbal narrates why she loves esports, bias against female esport players, why she became an online streamer and the promise that the world of esports have for youngsters.
“I am a streamer by profession and a gamer by heart” says Shagufta Iqbal an online streamer and an esport gamer.
Online streamers are also known as live streamer who broadcast themself online via live stream or pre-recorded videos.
Every esport gamer has a gaming name and Iqbal’s online name is Xyaa. Iqbal explains the reason behind her curious name.
“I used to have my Indian name as Ninja, like the streamer Ninja but then there was this youtuber who had a cat and she named her cat as ‘Xyaa’, that really stood out to me.” said Iqbal.
Iqbal picked up gaming at the age of 12 and it is then her journey of being a gamer as well as a live streamer began.
Iqbal’s father was a subscriber of the Digit magazine. Every issue of the magazine had two CDs with it and among those CDs there used to be a flash game CD and that was Iqbal’s gateway into the world of gaming.
She started playing the games on a personal computer and later on got into online gaming. Since then she has played a wide variety of games and some of them are Claw, Age of Empires and Counter strike 1.6.
Xyaa has played a wide variety of games and some of them are Claw, Age of Empires and Counter strike 1.6. (Image: Shagufta Iqbal)
“If you haven’t played Counter strike 1.6 then you are not a gamer”, said an excited Iqbal.
The games that have kept Iqubal hooked up at the moment include PUBG, Apex Legends, Call of Duty, Counter Strike: GO, Overwatch and Fortnite. Among them she loves to play PUBG and it is her all-time favourite.
In January 2018 she started live streaming. Because previously there were not many live streamers from India, specially female, which motivated Iqbal to make the switch and get into live streaming.
Offline Iqbal is an introvert. But when she logs into the virtual world she transforms into a whole new person and that persona is an important part of her life.
Being a female streamer is not easy. She has received a lot of hatred and faced discrimination and the hate still exists.
“Once I was playing with a male youtuber and every time he would get to kill people, there was a lot of cheering for him. When I killed one there was no reaction and when I died people were like what a looser!” explained Iqbal.
Being a female streamer is not easy. Xyaa has received a lot of hatred and faced discrimination and the hate still exists. (Image: Shagufta Iqbal)
“Because of these bullying a lot of female gamers are not coming out of their nutshells and that is why there are not a lot of female gamers in this era. The opportunities are there so the female players just need to come out.” she said.
There are still a lot of stigma attached to the gaming industry and Iqbal has accepted that it is going to be everywhere.
Iqbal believes that nobody should think about the social discrimination and be the gamer or the live streamer the way they want. At the end of the day it’s the achievement and happiness that matters.
Iqbal believes that nobody should think about the social discrimination and be the gamer or the live streamer the way they want. (Image: Shagufta Iqbal )
According to Iqbal her major achievement as a gamer is to have partnered with Intel as it is the brand she looked up to while growing up.
Being a streamer she earns a decent amount of money through her channel, advertisements and donations. There are a lot of opportunities coming up in the booming world of gaming industry because of foreign esports platforms.
Recently, Cobx one of India’s top esports company partnered with PGL, an international e-sports company. Which made a huge noise in the gaming industry.
“Obviously, global gaming firms are making beeline towards Indian talent, which will generate a lot of opportunities for the gamers like us in the future.” Iqbal concluded.