Published: March 31, 2020 2:43:52 pm
Sporting events across the world have been cancelled for the near future, and the only games that can be played during lockdowns are virtual ones. As many – including professional sportspersons – try their hand at esports, India’s highest-ranked player at Tekken 7 said that the lockdown has actually hit his gameplay.
Delhi resident Abhinav Tejan has represented India at multiple international esports tournaments and most recently won the Indian Lan Gaming Cup. The 27-year-old told indianexpress.com that he’s presently not just playing Tekken, but other multiplayer games like Call of Duty Warzone and PUBG among others, and has started streaming his games again.
He also spoke about how the lockdown was affecting him, the jump in gaming and the importance of physical interaction in esports.
How are you coping with self-isolation/self-quarantine?
Most people believe that gamers don’t go outside their homes and that is true in most cases. But for a competitive gamer like me, offline sessions are key to push your game one step beyond.
But now because of coronavirus, I can’t go to offline sessions and all the offline tournaments are postponed or cancelled. So the only choice I have is to play online and it has impacted my gameplay negatively. I am trying to figure out new ways to improve my game during the quarantine while staying at home.
Do you think esports professionals around the world are better prepared than other athletes for a quarantine in the time of coronavirus?
Yeah, it is definitely true because most of the athletes require training activities that require special training equipment and field. But esports gamers can train from their homes.
How do you keep yourself fit at this time?
I don’t exercise that much but I have a controlled diet. I am not doing this just because of the quarantine. Whenever I stay at home or I am not travelling to tournaments I prefer to eat healthy.
Do you think self-isolation has had an impact on your mental health and other athletes?
It is still too early to tell, but I don’t think it has had any effect on my mental health.
Has the coronavirus contributed to a rise in the number of concurrent gamers online?
I have seen a huge increase in online players recently, even during office timings. I mean, there is nothing for them (people) to do except play games. Just recently Steam (an online gaming platform) also reached a new milestone with 20 million concurrent gamers online.
Do you think esports can fill the void created by the cancelled sports events around the world?
I think it can fill that void if people are willing to try and watch competitive games. Esports can be as exciting and entertaining as any sport, but one needs to learn a game’s mechanics first to fully enjoy it.
Has there been a spike in the number of people live streaming since the pandemic began?
I’m not sure about other streamers because I don’t watch a lot of streams, but I started streaming after a year. I mean, you need to utilise that free time.
Do you think broadcasters should turn to esports as they have no live events to broadcast?
Since almost every other major tournament has been cancelled broadcasters will have to turn to esports eventually, as they can’t show highlights forever. However, there’s still a long way to go.
Do you see a future where esports tournaments can be played online from home?
For some games like Dota 2, most tournaments are organised online because the online environment does not affect the game that much. Though I want to see this take place for other games as well, I believe physical social interaction is also necessary and it is more fun as well.
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