Indian PUBG Mobile pro 8Bit_Thug talks about his bonding with Mortal, team 8Bit

Thug, as his teammates know him, led team 8Bit into the Asia finals of the PUBG Mobile Star Challenge.

Streamers play a major role in promoting PUBG Mobile in India but there are only a handful of them who back themselves to go ahead and professionally represent the country at an international e-sports event.

He may not be as popular as most PUBG Mobile YouTube streamers in India but 8Bit_Thug is definitely a name which many associate among the best players of the game in India. In this exclusive interview with Animesh Agarwal, 8Bit_Thug as the world knows him, talks about the high of winning the last round of the Asia Finals at the PUBG Mobile Star Challenge, what goes into forming a professional mobile gaming team and much more.

Animesh Agarwal, better known as 8Bit_Thug is the founder of team 8Bit.

Animesh Agarwal, better known as 8Bit_Thug is the founder of team 8Bit.

Who is 8Bit_Thug?

I'm not just a professional PUBG Mobile player and a streamer but also a person with a vision. Five years down the line, if a child goes up to his parents and tells them that he/she wants to build a career in mobile gaming, I want to ensure that his/her parents don't give it a second thought. That's my vision.

What is it like to represent India in an e-sport event?

First of all, I'd never imagined that we'd get an opportunity like this. Being in the gaming sphere for roughly three years now, I have seen others go out and represent the country in such events, but for me personally, it was an overwhelming experience. Going on to win Round 6 of the Asia Finals just gave me goosebumps. Wearing that jersey with the Indian flag on it, was definitely a proud moment.

How does the positioning system in PUBG Mobile tournaments work?

This year, there's going to be a PUBG Mobile India Series which has already been announced, with a prize pool of Rs 1 Crore. In 2018, they'd (Tencent and Bluehole) announced a PUBG Mobile professional tour for 2019. They haven't spoken much in terms of details of the tournament yet, but given what we've seen last year, the team which wins the national-level tournaments generally goes on to get invited for the Asian tournaments. So it's basically one win leading to the other.

Now, they've promised us a lot for 2019 and based on that I'm quite certain that there will be at least three major national level tournaments in India this year. There will be one World Championship, which will likely happen at the end of the year. This hasn't been announced yet, but every e-sports game follows the same pattern and I don't think PUBG Mobile will be any different.

Explain your partnership with Mortal?

Mortal and I partnered to form our own teams in PUBG Mobile. I met him through the game and soon realised that we share a similar vision of having a team of our own. We partnered just to provide our friends in the game, those who have the skill, an opportunity to leave what they do every day and focus on gaming for a change.

We have a lot of plans for 2019, both for ourselves and the gaming community to which we cater to. Expect us to announce a bunch of things this year. We'll try our best to help out the community and ensure that we have our eyes on every player who has the skill and needs the spotlight.

Take us through the process of building a professional team?

Owning a team firstly requires you to register the team as an organisation. This comes with all the legal procedures you'd require to start any firm. This includes having a contract with each of your players where everything needs to be mentioned. How much do you pay each player? Do you provide them with the gear to play? Merchandise? If a player goes to participate in a tournament, then the exact share of his/her winnings that you are entitled to and a bunch of other things. Everything needs to be stated in the contracts and I'm sharing this bit of information because there are a few people out there who wish to start a team of their own in the near future.

Outside India, a majority of the professional teams are owned by businessmen willing to invest into gaming, but in India, things are still quite different. For example, in my case, I'm not just a random owner of a team but someone who's a fellow player. Someone who sits down every day alongside my teammates to play the same game. So I definitely feel better connected to my teammates and this also helps me understand the problems each player might have.

I've never presented myself to my team as an owner. Everyone involved in the team is skilled at what they do and being in a team just helps them convince their parents that what they're doing is genuinely something that can be made a career out of.

In India, if someone comes in and tries to run a team like a professional e-sports outfit, things just won't work out. The professional gaming circle in India is still very much at a nascent stage and unless you look at every aspect of your team as you would for your family, everything might just start crumbling.

I wouldn't ever say that I own a team. Every person in my team is as much a part of this venture as I am.

When do you think an Indian team will win a PUBG Mobile tournament?

This year? I'm quite confident that one of Mortal's or one of my (8Bit) teams will go on and win something on the world stage. I really feel confident enough to go ahead and put this on record.

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