Chennai: What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘gaming’? Time Waster? Addiction? Couch potato? In an age of consistently living our lives in front of screens, we are bound to have such assumptions. However, little do we know that this is an arena of untapped potential in India and a surefire career option.
Vinod Naraen (19) from Chennai is one such example who leverages his love for gaming to slowly transform it into a career. Speaking to NewsToday, he says cautiously, ‘If you assume gaming can be fully turned into a career, you are wrong. It should be a passive source of income in the beginning.’
Vinod initially focused on gaining viewers and monetising his content on Twitch – the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers with over 2.2 million monthly broadcasters and 15 million daily active users! Gamers earn here through sponsorship and ads. After streaming many successful gamers’ content, Vinod found their success factor: fun. “When you have fun while playing a game or when you love whatever you do, you are bound to succeed,” he smiles. “I soon embraced it.”
Show me the money!
His love for gaming climbed triple-fold when he took part in ‘Fortnite’ gaming contest in a college. For those who don’t know what it is, ‘Fortnite’ is a game taking place in a visually enchanting land where players fight for survival. “It is a child-friendly version of PUBG,” laughs Vinod.
In the contest, Vinod came close to top 100 ranking position out of 3,000 gamers. “I had over 60,000 live viewers watching me play,” he says. The opportunity emboldened him to compete in more ‘elite contests’. “Fortnite often conducts online gaming contests. So, the player who reaches the top 2,000 rank earns $ 200,” he says, adding, “In the ‘difficult-level’, top-ranked gamers are awarded $ 20,000! There are many games like Fortnite that regularly organise such online contests.”
The conversation then shifted towards the type of people gamers meet online. “I come across a lot of people from different countries,” says Vinod. “They ask me a lot of questions and it is fascinating to hear their perspective about India. I once played with a gamer from France who asked me if Indians play Holi every day.”
Vinod stressed the importance of being “decent online”. “I meet many angry people and trollers online. Such behaviour is bound to affect others mentally,” says Vinod. “Also, many think every Indian gamer is a pervert because they have had bad experiences with them.”
Trusting strangers online
Vinod feels online gaming community builds teamwork and friendship. “There may be a level in a game were you need to solve a task, so you team up with your co-player who is sitting somewhere on the other side of the world,” he says. “So, you are actually having fun in a digital way. You laugh, talk and it feels great. For an introvert, gaming becomes a tool to engage with strangers.”
Vinod is also into game developing. “I learn coding games through YouTube. It is fascinating to learn how a game is created from scratch.” Vinod gets excited when the chat shifts to GTA. “It is a brilliant game. I hope to create Chennai like San Andreas city in Grand Theft Auto.”