“The gaming industry will keep growing but also make sure you don’t neglect your studies. The competition is very tough and only the people who are ready to work hard and give it all to improve will survive,” said Ankit Panth.
The recent growth that the Indian gaming sector has witnessed is providing a plethora of new opportunities for talented people in the sector to come out and shine. The Indian gaming sector is one of the fastest growing industries, which is leading to produce fresh talents who are putting India at new heights, as far as esports gaming is concerned.
In a conversation with BW Gaming World, Ankit Panth, Red Bull Athlete talked about his gaming journey, struggles, changes in Indian gaming sector due to COVID-19 pandemic and more.
How did your esports journey start and what does it mean to you?
Ans- It all started from a gaming cafe. I was 15 when I started playing. It was not every day as I couldn’t afford it, however, I used to save my lunch money so that I could play on weekends. After becoming better, my cafe friends started telling me to go for tournaments. That’s when I got to know that you can represent your country in a counter strike. We got recognition in 2008 when I formed my team called ‘Brutality’ and it defeated India’s number one team. Then slowly we won tournaments after tournaments and my journey began.
Was it difficult when you start your journey back then?
Ans- Earlier it was very difficult as there were hardly any tournaments with big prize pools. We used to get mouse pads and Rs 500 as prizes in some events. It was getting hard to survive and make my parents understand. Luckily CSGO came and things started getting better where more events and prizes started coming in. Then when I did UCypher on MTV which was a gaming show. More people started noticing me, brands started paying attention and then my life changed.
Do you have any tips for gamers out there?
Ans- I would like to say be consistent and have patience. This industry will keep growing but also make sure you don’t neglect your studies. The competition is very tough and only the people who are ready to work hard will survive. I know making parents understand will be difficult however, fighting with them won’t do any good. It will only increase their misconceptions towards gaming right.
Do you think it is the right time for young gamers to choose gaming as a full-time career?
Ans- I would say if you are really confident then you can give it a try by making a road map and setting targets for yourself. You cannot say I will make it happen without having a plan. Also while doing this, you need to have a backup. Always ask yourself what if this fails.
What are the major changes you personally witnessed in the gaming industry in pre and post COVID-19?
Ans- Pre-COVID-19, we had a LAN tournament every 3-4 months but now everything has gone online. We play so many tournaments back to back everyday. For organisers, I feel doing events online is much easier and that’s why the frequency of events has increased, which is good for us as gamers.
What according to you is the present state of gaming in India? What are the things where the Indian gaming sector needs to work on?
Ans- It’s getting better, but we still need time to make it consistent. We need maturity in this industry for it to grow to a level where we can proudly show it to our parents. For now, I feel the toxicity and immaturity needs to go. The language some gamers use sends the wrong message to the masses. If we want stadiums to be filled with esports fans, we need to behave in a certain way and also work hard as a team which includes brands, teams, players, organisers etc.
Tell us about Red Bull MEO, especially for those who are not familiar with it.
Ans- Red Bull M.E.O. is the competitive celebration of the mobile gaming scene. It is a platform given to gamers who want to prove themselves in the pro circuit. It’s an event for mobile gamers which has a variety of titles. In India, Red Bull M.E.O. Season 4 features competitions across three gaming titles: Battlegrounds Mobile India, Teamfight Tactics and World Cricket Championship.
Tell us more about your association with Red Bull.
Ans- Red Bull is family to me. I have never seen such a brand who goes out of the way to help their athletes to improve their performance. Their entire team always keeps motivating you to give your best and the way they treat their athletes is commendable.