Competitive gaming has had its roots since the LAN parties of the ’90s. Back in the day, people used to chill at cafes and play Quake, CS 1.6, NFS Most Wanted, or Age of Empires with their friends. The concept of ‘playing games together’ gave birth to a billion-dollar industry – the movement being spearheaded by players who wished to take up video games as a profession. E-sports is now a global phenomenon, featuring countless games like CS: GO, DOTA 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty, StarCraft 2, Street Fighter, Tekken, and more. The Indian scene was a bit late in taking up the hype surrounding this particular industry. The numbers weren’t interesting enough to bring in big investors to the scene. The growth of the local scene was properly kickstarted with the formation of ESL India, which became responsible for hosting a majority of high-profile tournaments in the region. Today, we have multiple professional teams in the scene. Debanjan Das (AKA DeathmakeR) is one of these players – one who took up the mantle of professional gaming. He has often been greeted with verbal accolades like ‘the best aimer of East India‘. Going by the alias of ‘DeathMakeR’, Debanjan is currently a professional CS: GO player for team Global Esports. Gameffine got the exclusive opportunity of getting to know more about him first hand. Some excerpts from the interview have been shared here.
Gameffine: Let us get to know you a bit better. Give our readers a brief summary of yourself and why it is that you do what you do.
Deathmaker: Hello, my name is Debanjan Das also known as DEATHMAKER in the world of Counter-Strike. I’m from Silchar, Assam, and was always fond of playing games as a kid. 10 years ago I stumbled upon the game called Counter-Strike and fell in love with it – my competitive nature keeping me going on for so long.
Gameffine: What, according to you, is the primary reason for e-sports being less widespread in India as compared to other countries?
Deathmaker: In India most of the parents want their kids to choose conventional fields of work such as medical, engineering, architecture, etc. to secure their future. No heed is paid to the passion of the kid and everything apart from studies is generally considered to be a pastime by society. Contrary to that, in European nations and in America, kids generally follow their passion and choose their careers for themselves. But I wouldn’t blame Indian parents either because it is only in the last 5 years that esports has been on the rise in India. It is now possible to make a living out of it, so gradually Indian parents have started being more receptive to e-sports as a career.
Gameffine: The primary reason for e-sports not making an impact in India is that a lot of people(including kids) are unaware of e-sports. What are your thoughts on this?
Deathmaker: Well this statement might have been true before the advent of PUBGM in our Country. It spread like a wildfire and has managed to capture everyone’s attention. But there is still a bit of truth in the statement that you have made, apart from metropolitan cities most of the people living in different parts of India are unaware of what e-sports is and that you could make a living out of it. Many players have represented India throughout the years – me being one of them – but there has been no recognition of any sorts in mainstream media or via the government and hence majority of the people are unaware of any of this happening at all.
Gameffine: What drew you into the massive world of competitive gaming?
Deathmaker: Ever since I was a kid I used to go to gaming cafes and play Counter-Strike with my friends for fun. But I saw that there were a lot of tournaments happening in India and I always wanted to be a part of them. I had the urge to be known as a professional E-sports athlete in the gaming industry and otherwise from the time I started to play in local events. This is what drew me into competitive gaming and I am happy that today I can be called a professional e-sports athlete playing for Global Esports.
Gameffine: How supportive were your parents about your decision to get into the world of esports?
Deathmaker: Initially no one apart from my grandfather supported me when I wanted to play Counter-Strike. As I started to make a name for myself in the local newspaper by winning events my parents became much more supportive. Finally, when I started earning a salary and representing an organization they were very happy for me and never questioned my gaming habits anymore.
Gameffine: Throughout your journey, were you ever pressurized to switch careers since it’s still a niche, kind of stigmatic market in India?
Deathmaker: Yes, there was a lot of pressure. My parents never understood what esports was, so when I took a year drop from my studies to focus on gaming they couldn’t come to terms with it. They constantly asked me to study and become a doctor or an engineer, but I kept grinding my way through it and never diverted my attention towards the criticism.
Gameffine: How do your people around you, basically the society reacted earlier and now, what they feel about you when you are now earning as a gamer?
Deathmaker: It has basically been a journey of earning respect. When I started most of the people ridiculed me and thought I was making a fool out of myself. Now, everyone looks at me with a different sense of appreciation and they respect that I proved them wrong and I also found what I was looking for.
Gameffine: What drew you into CSGO and stick with it in the first place?
Deathmaker: I’ll say this in one sentence – there hasn’t been and never will be a game like Counter-Strike.
Gameffine: How do you find a balance between your personal life and professional gaming?
Deathmaker: Well truth be told it is difficult to juggle between my personal and professional life. Just like any other traditional sports player we put in a lot of time practicing daily while living together and also traveling a lot, which doesn’t leave you much free time. So I make it a point to keep a few hours for myself every day after practice and spend time with my friends and family whenever I get the chance to do it.
Gameffine: What are your opinion on Valorant? Do you think it has the potential to become the next big thing for Indian esports?
Deathmaker: Well speaking about Valorant I think it’s a good game mainly because of the similarities with Counter-Strike. However, I do think that it’s a completely different game because of the abilities of individual heroes. Although I do think Valorant can become the next big thing in India, I personally don’t see it happening in the next 1-2 years.
Gameffine: Do you feel the PC gaming market will ever surpass mobile gaming, here in India?
Deathmaker: I honestly think the PC Gaming market can surpass mobile gaming in India but only after 7-8 Years. I am saying this because just like the mobile has become very accessible as a platform right now, in the future the same thing will happen with computers as well, So it will lead to a paradigm shift between the two.
Gameffine: Any words for inspiration for the people who wish to take up esports as a career, but can’t do so because of various societal pressures?
Deathmaker: As much as I would like to say that you should go all in and play games, I would suggest that you find a balance between studies and playing. Put in all your extra time and effort into gaming and do it full time only when you feel that you can make it big. Till that time comes, always learn to find the balance between the two.