The 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou will be the first where esports will take place as an official medal event. And Indian mobile gaming teams such as GodLike Esports are confident they will be able to represent the country at the prestigious event. “The way our organisation is set up, full of great talents from across India, we are confident that our team will play in the Asian Games 2022,” Chetan ‘Kronten’ Chandgude said in an interview with indianexpress.com.
While PUBG: Mobile is one of the eight games to be featured at the Asian Games, initially it was unclear as to how Indians would participate, given the title has been banned here for over a year now. However, publisher Krafton, later confirmed that players could still qualify by playing the Indian version – Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI).
For the team, PUBG: Mobile getting banned has not stopped them from hiring new talents and working on improving their skills in-game. “The game getting banned was a surprising event for us, given at the time, PUBG was growing at a rapid pace in the esports department. It led to a lot of international organisations leaving India out of the picture as well, leading to lack of exposure, and was quite disheartening,” he said. But, the team remained optimistic, believing that there will be some solution to this, and accepted the government’s decision.
With BGMI bringing the action back, GodLike Esports has been relentless, winning tournaments, putting in at least 8 to 10 hours of practice per day, and pondering over mistakes.
Under the guidance of Abhijit “Ghatak” Andhare, a veteran in the Indian gaming scene, the team is also looking to bring home a trophy at the PUBG Mobile Global Championship (PMGC). His journey to being a professional team’s coach is quite interesting. Ghatak himself started as a PC gamer – bunking college to play Counter-Strike and DOTA in a dingy cyber cafe to winning back-to-back tournaments for Age of Empires II: The Conquerors.
At the time, gaming was not considered a viable career option, so he pursued photography for the next five to six years. That is until he stumbled upon PUBG: Mobile through a friend, which reignited his passion for gaming.
“The passion I had for gaming was never going to leave me so I decided that I’ll also take part in these huge LAN tournaments. And when I was 27 to 29 years old, I assembled a team and with them, went on to win the PUBG Mobile Club Open (PMCO),” Ghatak said.
“Eventually, I realised that the Indian competition level had risen drastically, where I wasn’t able to match the reflexes as some of the newer players in the scene,” he added. It was around this time that he realised that he had a knack for studying the game and coming up with strategies, which in turn, affected his playstyle.
This led to his decision to quit playing and focus solely on coaching these young players, deriving heavy insight from his early days of gaming.
“When we went out on tour in Milan, Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia, I noticed that no matter how much I study other players’ games, I still need to have exceptional gun skills. Otherwise, on an international level, I will become a weak link in our team,” he said.
Following that decision, he brought in Vivek “ClutchGod” Horo, who served as a great addition to the roster.
“The team is responding very well to his callouts, fights are coming out great, rotation is also impressive. Everything I saw and experienced, all my executions happened at the proper level and all of it is going in a very nice way. The effort we had to put in to reach till here, we will have to put in even more effort to bring in the world trophy and give our 100 percent towards it,” Ghatak assured.
Despite its growing demand and market, a lot of gamers worldwide continue to dismiss mobile games as “not real games”. As a response, Kronten had this to say, “If you look at the culture abroad, they give a lot of importance to gaming, And I feel, like, in India, we should do the same. If we disregard mobile gaming, other countries will overtake us and grow a lot in this sector.”
Noting games like BGMI, Valorant or Free Fire are skill-based games, he added that “it is not an easy task, playing competitive matches and not everyone can become the number one player.”