Games change lives

With three kids from Coimbatore winning a cool Rs 60K each at Elsword India Championship, gaming tournaments are creating a major impact on players from economically weak backgrounds
Gamers often claim that video games have a lasting impact on their lives, but the outside world almost always just sees it as a waste of time. As a gamer myself, I know how games can have a positive impact on people’s lives and this rather beautiful story might make you rethink your stance on video games. My work recently took me to the Elsword India National Championship, where teams were flown in from four cities across India to fight it out for the title of National Champion, but more importantly, Rs 4 lakh in cash was up for grabs. Now, I thought this would be like any other event I’ve attended, one where I’d meet more gamers like myself, most of whom are just looking to make some good money. I met the organisers, got a tour of the impressive set-up over at LXG Bengaluru, but I was left speechless when we reached the spectator arena. There, before me, was a room with over 50 kids, all from lower middle class families, the likes of whom you’d never expect at a fancy ‘esports’ event. Now you might think I’m just being an a** about it, but that’s the truth – competitive gaming in the metros across India is a bit of an elitist activity, but Elsword India Championship showed that gaming helps break boundaries. The fact that Elsword is a rather simple game is one of the main reasons it has managed to reach these gamers. The Internet cafes they have access to don’t have the best hardware. Most wouldn’t even run today’s games but Elsword’s simple and free-to-play nature gave them easier access. You’d be surprised to know even though the game is in English, most players were much more comfortable communicating in Hindi, and some not even that; yet they were the best of the best at what they did. Where they came from and who they were outside the game world did not matter; inside they competed side by side with others from across the country. The winners, three shy kids from Coimbatore who needed a translator for their interview, took home `60K each. Now that’s a pretty hefty sum for just about anyone, but it may very well have a life-changing impact for them. All this because they used to spend a few hours a day playing a silly video game with their buddies down at the Internet cafĂ©. Now if that’s not enough, here’s some more. Earlier this year, a 15-year-old Pakistani gamer in the US was picked up by one of the professional DOTA 2 teams as a bit of a wildcard, and he helped them win the Asian Championships and took home a cool $1.2 million. Moving closer to home, Sostronk, a company that hosts Counter Strike servers in India, is hosting tournaments every month with over Rs 1.5 lakh up for grabs and that’s just one organisation, there are a few dozen that host large events over the course of the year. Gaming is no longer a waste of time, it’s changing lives everywhere and is on the verge of turning a hobby into a very viable profession in India very soon. Are you open minded enough to accept it? Source: The Asian AgeReference-Image: