Red Bull MEO Season 5 India finale was a blast as we got to see some great competitions amidst the scenic views of Sunder Nursery. Esports fans also got a chance to meet and greet some of the biggest personalities in Indian gaming and esports industry.
We spoke with CS:GO Veteran, Ankit ‘V3nom’ Panth during the India finale. He was one of the stars of the show with loads of fans trying to get as close to him as they could. Towards the end of the show, we all got to experience a DJ set by the professional Gamer. Check out our conversation below:
Q. As you are a Red Bull athlete, would you care to elaborate on how Red Bull has helped in the growth of gaming in India?
Ankit: “They are doing it by organizing lots of more events be it mobile or PC both. When I became a Red Bull athlete, my plan was with them to you know, do more events and grow eSports from the grassroots. And I think Red Bull has helped. And they’re doing it right from Red Bull campus clutch to Valorant. Now, the India team is going to Brazil to represent India. And now Red Bull MEO so all these events are really boosting the eSports scene in India.”
Q. So we all know about your accolades in competitive gaming, apart from competitive and online play, do you dwell in narrative-based titles basically story mode games?
Ankit: Story Mode games? Not that much, maybe once I get into pro streaming. Like when I become a professional gamer, I’ll try multiple games. But for now, I keep to my pro gaming, because it takes 10-12 hours of my day. I have to practice, i have to compete and then sometimes on the weekend I play FIFA or WWE.
Q. I’ve heard through previous interviews that you have sat with the parents of your fans and explained to them how the esports industry works and the pros and cons around it. Do you feel the stigma around gaming has changed in the country in the past couple of years? What changes do you wish to see in the future?
Ankit: “Not completely but yeah, it has improved a lot because a lot of you know fans are coming to events, along with their parents. I recently saw during my meet and greet a kid coming in with his father, you know, taking pictures. So, it’s growing because of events, and you know, events like Red Bull MEO where we are doing such big stages and you know, people are competing, and they have a chance to represent their country through the Red Bull Campus Clutch in Brazil.
So now parents are also understanding okay, they can do this for India, and they can do it in their country and earn money and, you know, pursue this as a career. But I think it’ll take another two to three years for them to also understand that you know, this is not something wrong that their kids want to do. Even my parents you know, saw initially that it is something wrong.
They started to think that you know, this is Poker or gambling, and you know, PCs and all will give you addiction and stuff like that. But now when they see me playing and competing at the highest levels, with brands coming in, with events like these happening, they are now, you know, trusting me on my choices.
I feel the same will happen in future with all the other gamers and upcoming gamers because they have something to show when I started, I had nothing to show but now they have a lot of events to show.”
Q. It is evident you are into fitness and do not indulge in any vices, but are there any guilty pleasures other than gaming that you indulge in?
Ankit: I go to the gym, I play music, these are the two main things. When I’m angry, I want to let out my frustration. If I lose a game, I go to the gym. So, I get out my anger there. So, I always try, you know, to do something which helps me improve. Even if I’m angry, it’s an emotion, I take it out in the gym, which again helps me build my body. I convert my negative things such as anger and all of that to something which will help me have a positive impact on myself. This is how I do it. When I’m bored, I play some music or make a podcast and stuff like that.
Q. What is the next competitive event you are looking forward to or preparing for?
Ankit: I think we will start competing next year. Right now, we’ve got two new players one is from Singapore and the other one is from India only. We actually got him from Red Bull Campus Clutch. So, we have signed these two players. And we started practising hopefully you will see us competing back in January.
Q. Considering your unique background in professional esports and gaming as a whole, What is your Wishlist from game publishers, developers and even authorities to take gaming to the next level?
Ankit: I think getting in more events and doing marketing in a way where they reach parents. And you know make them understand that no this is a sport I think that will help. They should do some campaigns which reaches directly to homes through television and then maybe you know make parents understand that this is what your child can pursue and it is a career and you know, maybe is one of the best ways they can represent the country also. Learning these things will help.
Q. Lastly, what is your favourite game that released in 2022? Which game are you looking forward to the most in 2023?
Ankit: I really enjoy playing FIFA, so I would say FIFA. The game that I’m looking forward to, maybe WWE.