Kartikeya Behl is one of India’s top FIFA 19 players and has brought glory to the nation by representing the country in many international tournaments. He has been a part of the FIFA 19 pro scene in India and abroad for over 2 years now and was the winner of the Asian Gaming Football Championship 2017; the first Indian to accomplish the feat of winning an international FIFA tournament. Kartikeya has also been signed to an international esports organization ‘No Fuchs Given’ which was founded and is run by Christian Fuchs; the left back for English club Leicester City.
He will next be seen representing India with two other players at the ES Football Championship on 29-30 April at the Sunway Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The tournament will see the top 32 Asian FIFA 19 players compete for the title. Representing India along with Kartikeya are Siddh Chandarana and Lokmanyu Chaturvedi.
Being a veteran of the FIFA 19 scene in India, I got the opportunity to interview him and hear his opinions about competitive FIFA 19, esports in general and more.
IN: How did you get into competitive FIFA 19 gaming?
So it started off, I was working as an organizer for a company called ‘Gaming Monk’. I saw a lot of pro players who visited and were making a lot of money.
So I thought I should give this a try. I learned from the pros as I was managing these tournaments. I used to watch them play. I became better and better at the game and it just kicked on from there.
IN: Is your family supportive of what you do? Were they supportive from the start?
No…no…no…when I represented India in Thailand for a FIFA tournament a few years back, that is when they were like, this is something he can do professionally because this is getting him money, recognition, fame and playing for the country is a definite pride.
IN: How is the present FIFA 19 pro scene in India?
It is growing but it is not that great in comparison to the global market. I mean it is catching up but I think it would take another 1-2 years to finally reach that level.
IN: Do you see the game developing and having cash-rich regional leagues in India as well?
Yeah, I mean a lot of tournaments are coming up; the prize pools are increasing so if someone wants to do this professionally, now is a good time. I wouldn’t recommend going fully after it but you can have some sort of pocket money if not a salary (with the present FIFA 19 esports scene).
IN: How much do you practice?
I practice an average of 5 to 6 hours daily.
IN: Other than playing FIFA 19, what else do you do? What is your main source of income?
My main source of income is FIFA. I do not do anything else.
IN: What is your opinion about the present state of esports in general in India?
Kartikeya: As they all say, it is booming but I have a very different say on this. Even though the market is booming, there is a lot of untapped potential and we are lacking in so many things. There is no community, I mean people are not loyal, they are not united. Even if one guy makes it big, others will try to pull him down.
There is a lack of unity and a lot of politics which has inherited through the Indian culture has gotten into esports. Apart from that, the potential is there, the scene is yet to reach its full capabilities.
IN: Many people want to be professional gamers in India. What suggestions do you have for them? Is this a realistic goal?
I wouldn’t say that go after it blindly. I mean personally, I am very fortunate I made it through. It was a big deal for me to get this deep into competitive gaming. But luck doesn’t always work in your favor.
So my advice would be to have a backup. For a short while, I was working at Gaming Monk and also playing FIFA competitively. I only left my job when I had something concrete when I knew FIFA was making me money.
Anyone should not just drop out to pursue a career as a professional gamer, especially in India. This is not something you would like to hear from a professional player but the scene is not very well built (in India) at the moment. In the future, prize pools will definitely be going up and more people can become full-time gamers like me.
IN: Anything else you would like to say before we wrap up?
We need awareness of this (esports). We need parents to understand that this is something that can be done. We need recognition and more organizations to support the players.
To find out more about Kartikeya and to get in touch with him. Use the social links below, and go say Hi. Tell him we sent you.
About The Author
Wasif is an esports/gaming journalist and writer who closely follows competitive gaming and other popular video games. He loves writing and is published on a number of sites. You can reach him on his Twitter account.