Gone are the days when youngsters were told off by their folks for wasting hours “e-gaming” before a console, PC or mobile. Today, with increasing smartphone penetration and digitization across India, the tables have turned and esports has become a much vide-for profession for both the urban and rural youth slowly churning out esports stars. And why not? Because they are not only earning money and fame but also winning laurels for India.
ESFI Responsible For Encouraging Esports Stars
Esports Federation of India has in a way, been partly responsible for the shift in how the Indian youth perceives esports as a profession. The federation pioneered the competitive esports gaming format in India by organising national tournaments such as Nations Cup, National Esports Championship (NESC) and as recently ESFI Ranking Scrims etc.
These large-scale platforms have given gamers and streamers an opportunity to showcase their skills and compete domestically and create a name for themselves nationally as well as internationally making a mark while ESFI athletes have been competing in South Asia & upcoming World Championships to produce more esports stars.
Nothing beats the experience of the Indian tri-colour going up during any medal ceremony. Here are India’s top four esports stars that are setting the bar high and aspiring many more youngsters to take up esports professionally:
- Tirth Mehta – Hearthstone
- Karan Manganani – Clash Royale
- Moinuddin Amdani – PES 2020
- Abhinav Tejan – Tekken7
Tirth Mehta (Bronze medal winner in Asian Games 2018)
Esports Title – Hearthstone
Tirth Mehta, a 26-year-old lad from the sleepy town of Bhuj in Gujarat’s Kutch district who won the bronze medal in Hearthstone — a popular online digital collectible card game — at the Esports demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games.
Hearthstone, developed and published by American video game Company, Blizzard Entertainment, has garnered huge interest among online gamers from across Asia, including Japan, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, besides India. The game is a combination of chess and poker, requiring players to have core skills in maths and probability.
The hours Tirth spend depend on whether or not there was an upcoming major tournament. If there isn’t, he usually spend a couple hours a day if there is, he spends between 5 hours to 14 hours a day playing.
Karan Manganani (Placed 4th in Asian Games 2018)
Esports Title – Clash Royale
Karan “jin kazama” Manganani is undoubtedly the best Clash Royale player in India. Karan Manganani, 20, like many other Indians of his generation, plays a lot of video games. He spends five hours a day on average, on his smartphone playing Clash Royale, a chess-like strategy game.
Manganani has an easier time explaining his gaming habit to his parents, unlike most others his age, though. His ability to win virtual wars could potentially one day earn India gold at the Olympics.
List of Achievements 2018-20 Clash Royale: –
1. CRL Combine Phase 1 Rank 1
2. CRL Combine Main Event Rank Top 10(Los Angeles)
3. Asian Games 2018 National Champion (2018)
4. Asian Games 2018 Regional Champion (South Asia)
5. Asian Games 2018 Rank 4(All Over Asia)
6. Esl India Premiership 2018-19 Winter Season Champion
7. MGL World Cup Clash Royale 2018(India MVP)
8. World Royale League Clash Royale 2018(India Captain)
9. ESL India Premiership 2019-20 Summer Season Champion
10. World Royale League 2019 Team India (MVP)
Esports Title – PES 2020
Moinuddin started playing in 2012. His love for football motivated him to take up this game. It was initially started as a fun-time hobby like any other gaming individual. His parents are concerned about his career and job security as not every individual turn out to be a successful professional esports player.
However, he is yet to break the news about his ambition of getting into full-time video gaming and becoming an esports star who not only competes but promotes the game.
Not owning a PlayStation is the biggest challenge for this India No. 1. Even though he plays professionally, he still has to go to a cyber cafe to play the matches as he doesn’t own a machine. He though feels Esports in India is booming but we still have that mindset of playing is a waste of time.
Amdani is targeting nothing short of gold at the upcoming Esports World Championship in Eliat, Israel.
Two-time national champion
Runner up in PES 2017 tournament at IGX
Runner up at Nations Cup held in India
Represented India at the 2019 World Championship 2019
Represented India at E-Masters Asia
Esports Title – Tekken7
Tejan started playing Tekken when he was around 7-8 years old and used to go to an arcade shop close to his house where he started playing recreationally.
While he started off casually with his friends at the arcade just for fun but right after his graduation from school, he saw an advertisement for a Tekken 6 tournament and he decided to participate and soon good introduced to the Tekken community in India as well.
He started joining tournaments since 2010 and during this time there weren’t many tournaments happening and the community was quite a small one. With no official rules and pretty much every tournament having a different rule set all the time and unprofessional attitude at times when prize money were halved or declined-pretty much affected the growth of the game and increasing the popularity of the game.
Tejan feels getting a sponsor in India for a game which is not that popular is really hard, he has been trying to get the sponsors attention for many years now by staying at the number 1 position in India in Tekken and even placing top 3 in the international tournament but he is still without sponsors and at times even if sponsors are there Visa availability becomes an issue.
Current national champion
1st position in Dreamhack Delhi 2018 and 2019
3rd position SEA Major TWT 2018
4th position IESF 2018 Kaohsiung
9th position EVO Japan 2020
These young esports stars have set the ball rolling to make esports in India the most coveted profession with every tournament won and make India proud on winning the medals at national and international championships.