Indian eSports is looking to go to the next level and the return of former Fnatic Creative Director, Elroy Pinto to India might just help the country add more professionalism into the ever- growing community.

From his travels across Europe, Pinto speaks about how the Indian scene can adapt over time, to become a powerhouse in the years to come. He spoke to TalkEsport in an exclusive interview.

HOW DID THE FNATIC OPPORTUNITY COME UP?

The Fnatic opportunity came up because I was moving out of the old-MYM in 2007 and I was looking to take up something similar to MYM, i.e. team management and content. When I left MYM I was looking to continue my growth in eSports, I had been approached by one of the owners of Fnatic in the past and I did not want to leave MYM back then. So I reached out to them and a few other places but with Fnatic after a few discussions it was clear that I’d move to Fnatic and continue working in eSports there. After that I’ve not looked back.

SINCE YOU HAVE RETURNED TO INDIA AFTER A HIATUS, WHAT ARE THE CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN IN THE INDIAN E-SPORTS SCENE?

Well I used to visit India once a year but yeah it’s been 5 years since I actually stayed in India and the changes have been massive, not just since I started out 12 years ago playing WarCraft 3. I can see there’s a LOT more people from the ‘real world’ looking to find in-roads into eSports to try and monetize it, but people with the faintest idea of what to do or have their heart in the wrong place.

On the positive side it’s probably the best time to be playing games, and am quite confident of how the market is going to grow, just by pure numbers we’re going to become one of the biggest nations in eSports in the next 5 years.

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ARE YOU PLANNING ON GETTING INVOLVED IN THE INDIAN E-SPORTS SCENE?

I definitely would love to! I’ve had some conversations with some really spirited individuals who seem very eager to grow the scene here. I am more than willing to offer my expertise and experience to help gamers grow and organisations grow. I’ve spent 8 years building up one of the biggest brands in eSports and I am very eager to see our own scene develop.

THE INDIAN GAMING CARNIVAL WAS A BUMP IN INDIA’S GROWTH TRAJECTORY, WERE THERE ANY EUROPEAN/NA TEAMS THAT HAVE JUDGED THE SCENE BASED ON THAT?

Without going into specifics, it’s always there on most people’s minds, it is actually one of the more bleak aspects of Indian eSports internationally but what can we do? Look at the positive, the benchmark has been set so low that the sky is the limit now.

YOU HANDLED MOST OF THE CONTENT, HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE?

I used to handle all content on Fnatic before my departure and yes I’ve handled all kinds of content on fnatic; social media, website, sponsor work, videos. The experience has taught me a lot and more importantly I am very confident in my skills in conceiving the best possible content for eSports.

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WHAT IS THE PERCEPTION OF E-SPORTS AMONG THE PEOPLE THERE AS COMPARED TO INDIA?

eSports is now cool in many ways, it’s honestly an amazing feeling going to Wembley Arena in London to a sold out eSports audience, there to watch LCS.

CS:GO AND DOTA 2 HAVE BEEN DRAWING SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF INDIAN PLAYERS, WHAT IS REQUIRED TO MAKE IT A SPECTATOR SPORT IN THE COUNTRY?

I am still conflicted in my own view of this, I used to think that TV is the next step in making eSports big in Asia, but with the way our country is developing when it comes to internet penetration I am quite confident that even live streaming can be a big factor in our growth in terms of spectatorship. More importantly we need to have world class LAN events, quality has to increase.

HOW MUCH LEGITIMACY FOR E-SPORTS IS THERE IN EUROPE?

Well there are eSport bars in Europe called the Meltdown Bars (look them up!). Consuming alcohol is probably a national pastime in the UK. There’s plenty of support provided by the Swedish government for people setting up eSport organisations there. The Berlin municipality helped a lot of the LCS teams when they were moving from Cologne to Berlin. Don’t get me wrong, people still give you a look if you play too many games but it’s become a bit more accepted. It also helps that Valve & Riot drive their games forward, this was different from 10 years ago where leagues organised by the developer were non-existent.

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DO YOU THINK INDIAN E-SPORTS HAS TALENT THAT CAN MAKE IT TO THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL?

Of course, we just have to give all of them a platform to perform.

WHERE DO YOU SEE INDIAN ESPORTS IN 10 YEARS TIME?

In, 10 years India will be one of the biggest nations for eSports. Unless we mess up big time.