While both esports and the gaming industry have steadily gained repute as a viable career (in India and across the world), they still remain fields which need motivated and driven individuals to succeed. No one showcases that determination better than Sagar Vyas. From playing FIFA at his modest home in Mumbai to representing India at WCG, then marketing head of Circle Gaming and then being a part of UCypher. Sagar has shown immense confidence and belief in himself. A story like no other, and a story worth sharing.
We know you as a marketing leader, but we have also heard that you are a professional FIFA player. 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?
Yes, I work for Circle Gaming as a Marketing Head. I also do lots of other stuff for surviving in the gaming scene, which is as predatory as it is unforgiving, preying on people who are insufficiently dedicated to making a career out of it.
I used to be a professional gamer. I used to play all games apart from DOTA because that is the only game which never clicked for me. I choose FIFA as the game I wanted to play professionally and choose to play single player games as I never wanted to blame anyone if I lost. I’ve been in a dominant spot in the FIFA e-sports scene from 2010-2012 and received a chance to represent India at ESWC Paris where I was in the toughest group and because of my unshakable defence, I was able to survive and placed in the top 10. This feat remains unrivalled till date, as no Indian apart from me has reached ESWC and cleared the group stages.
That makes me feel like coming back to the scene once again, something I have contemplated on and off for the past 3 years. However, instead of playing I chose to do something for the gamers as I already had enough achievements but always wanted to see new faces to win big.
I am still waiting for that single moment where one Indian goes international and keeps the Indian flag high. I always project myself as what I really am, since I have been in this gaming scenario for 10 years now and have gone through many ups and downs, which makes me aware and privy about situations what the next gamer should not go through. So yeah whatever I decide to do, I do it, no matter what.
As marketing head for Circle Gaming, tell us about how you were able to carve out a successful career in the Indian games industry and where you hope to eventually end up. What is your ultimate ambition?
Designations don’t matter to me a lot. If my work is respected as an employee, I am more than happy. My only motive is to keep the company happy without relying on deceit or treachery to do so. Circle Gaming is an Indian brand – which is why I chose to be with it. I hate supporting international players like most Indian gamers do because I always want to be seen as a good Indian player – the best Indian player to be precise. I would rather support Indian brand over international ones. I got so many opportunities to work with other brands but Circle Gaming was closer to my heart.
My future plans are to remain in the gaming ecosystem as I have really given my best efforts to it. I am just a 12th pass, and what I achieved was a result of pure hard work. I am also working as an influencer nowadays – you must have heard about my page, where I giveaway Circle goodies frequently.
We’ve seen Indian gamers come out of their comfort zone and start streaming their games live on Twitch and Youtube Gaming. However, they still lack a dedicated viewership, besides infrastructural problems (like a strong PC and decent Internet). What do you think can be done to remedy the issue?
Well, to be honest, I myself am planning to stream for quite a long time now, as many gamers had requested me to do some online videos since I have good reach. But as I said, work does not allow me to stream – instead, I make live videos to interact with gamers or share info that needs to be shared.
Yes, there are new faces or existing gamers who are trying hard to get viewership in India but are failing to do so. It’s not always because he/she do not produce quality content – its just that Indian gamers want to see your videos for giveaways of goodies or some ‘masala’ – and that is the only time when they get views.
Either they face the aforementioned problem or they don’t have the resources to build a decent PC (besides other peripherals), which they need for streaming. This is the reason I am getting more streamers to stream and providing them goodies for some giveaways on their channel so they get some views and become famous. I have an upcoming programme in the works for the streamers, which will be endorsed by not only Circle Gaming but by other big gaming brands as well. This is the next big thing – but they will have to play all games and not concentrate on DOTA or CS because I myself will not like the streamer streaming DOTA or CS 24/7, spamming the mic on his teammates imprudently, and getting views just like that.
Throughout your journey, were you ever pressured to switch careers, since it’s still a niche, kind of stigmatic market in India?
“Pressured” and me? I don’t know what “pressure” is. I always work/play or do anything without depending on anyone. I don’t bow down to people’s impressions of me in this field, either people like you, or they don’t. There are things which I need to improve in my personal life (including my rage issues, which you might have seen during UCypher), and I’m working on it. I can game, work, interact with gamers at the same time so all you can say is a 12th pass person comes up with a multi-talented action package.
What are some of your favourite video games? Titles you grew up on and still feel strongly towards?
There is no such thing as a favourite game, I liked all games which I played apart from DOTA. Funny thing is I hated FIFA and knew little about the game. Right now even if I make a comeback, the only game I will start playing again is FIFA. For a second preference, I would say Rocket League, since it is one of the best sports games to influence the gaming world (besides FIFA, of course).
We do know that you are a professional FIFA player. However, despite the increasing popularity of e-sports in India, only certain e-sports like CSGO and DOTA 2 have been in the spotlight, whereas others like FIFA, Rocket League or Rainbow Six: Siege still struggle to gain popularity. What’s your take on this and what do you think can be done to fix this?
Well, I do agree on this point, but truth be told, the gamers themselves have to be blamed. If I keep a CS or DOTA event there will be people coming and playing the event but if I keep a FIFA, RL any other potential esports, gamers don’t take it seriously and don’t come to the events, as a result of which the event fails.
Well if the gamers don’t come out of their comfort zone to play the events of niche esports, this is not going to improve anytime soon. This mentality has to be changed where I used to get more than 100 gamers for FIFA for events back in the day, whereas I barely get 10 nowadays – which is very bad to see. Yet again even after so many unsuccessful attempts will continue to do so and will be coming up with another back to back events for the single player games hopefully this time I get many participants so that other event people also come to the market once again and the trend is set. Also, there are some problems with EA as well for the licence issue and all which will also be taken care of very soon. Hoping for the best.
Do video games appeal more to you as a form of mass entertainment (aka e-sports) or are you interested in the artistic/narrative potential of them as well?
I did play singleplayer games in my free time, as I said earlier because I did not want to blame anyone but myself for my bad performance. However, I barely get time for video games nowadays, with all the work. So I’m more of an esports focused guy now. However, I am trying to get back to single player for experiencing some wonderful stories.
What are your opinions on the console market? Do you think they are valid, or will forever remain a lost cause, next to PC gaming?
The console market is good, but it cannot be compared with the size and potential of the PC gaming market. People(particularly Indians) would rather invest on a good gaming PC than buying a console. Sony is doing a good job in providing free consoles and TVs for every event which is easier for the organizers to install the games in them because at the moment few want to invest in consoles. But many young people are already buying consoles, and I’m hoping to see a revival(and possibly a boost) in the console market in the future.
Lastly, leave a few encouraging words of wisdom for some of our younger, passionate and ambitious readers, who may feel the same way you did at their age.
When I was young, I had no one to answer this question for me. Now, I myself could guide thousands of gamers, answering questions on their favourite hobby on social media (and in interviews).
First, concentrate on building up your game which you play – but at the same time, please make sure that you are socially active. This is how you need to attract sponsors or any other gaming firm to showcase your talent. If you don’t do it, no matter how good you play, you will still remain in one corner alone with no big teams to invite you.
Socially be more active and keep playing more games to become the professional gamer everyone aspires to be, but very few actually become. Passion is a different thing – even I was passionate about e-sports, so I used to travel to cities for events with tiny prize pools. At the end of the day, satisfaction matters much more for me than the amount of money you earn. I don’t know about others, but these are my views on the burgeoning esports industry (and the numerous aspiring professional gamers) in the country.
Keep supporting the “lovesx” as I will always try not to disappoint any of my fellow gamers and will take the maximum pain I can take from my side to improve the gaming scene in the country. Cheers.
If you haven’t already heard of Sagar, or “Lovesx”, you can find more about him using the links below. Also if there is anything you would like to say, we would love to know more in the comments.