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Despite being in its nascent stage, the esports scene in India is riddled with drama. And not the good kind. Scams, disorganization, gross conflict of interests and what not. But there is another issue which lies at the core of it all.
Despite being famous and influential, many esports figures and personalities are not held accountable for their actions. This has been the norm since the scene began in India. A cosplayer who downvoted another cosplayer’s page by “snatching” her colleagues’ phones was never held accountable, neither was the alleged VISA fraud by Entity investigated. Then there was the case of pirated games at DreamHack Mumbai. All these issues involved the frontrunners of the Indian esports industry. I have not even counted the forsaken fiasco yet, where despite repeated allegations and requests, neither OpTic India management, neither the SoStronk admins nor the ESL admins found out that he was cheating. The fact that he was caught at Zowie ExtremesLand points out to the fact that either the former three did not care, or were just plain incompetent. Or maybe they did investigate and are just not good enough.
Though the above-mentioned cases involve an organization rather than an individual, the problem lies with the people that are hired. The “influencers”, as we call them, seem to have a superiority complex after they get the tag. One look at the esports community forums in India and you can see all the influencers abusing, creating a racket, and going as far as being rude to their fans even when unprovoked. And they forget all decency when they get in an online war with other influencers.
Something like this happened just a couple of days ago when Archisman “Fett” Pradhan, one of the more famous Indian casters, went on a rant against some Indian gaming personalities. The video for that is down below and I would definitely recommend headphones. Though it is normal to have grudges with other people in the scene, his rant against them crosses all boundaries, where he abuses their parents among other things. That after he apologized to the same people he is seen abusing in the videos.
This is the more recent example, but incidents like these are very commonplace which is a very shameful thing. When I wrote the article about unprofessionalism in Indian esports, many of the “influencers” tried to prove that the scene was professional. But that does not appear to be the case.
The scene indeed is not professional; it is far from it. This is just one of the cases where a known person has gone on an uncivilized rant trying to mask their own frustrations and insecurities. The people at higher positions need to be held to a higher standard, and the brands too must forgo their “chalta hai” attitude. Without that, esports is just going to be the “Wild West”.
Is there a solution for this?
There is, but it can only be achieved if the companies themselves and the gaming community work together on this. The gaming companies hiring these influencers need to keep a check on how they conduct themselves. People are usually fired for much less in the international scene. Do not confuse what I am saying with curbing their freedom of speech. Opinions can be voiced and grudges can be resolved in a more civil way rather than putting up a show. There has been a lot of uproar in the community after the recent video. But that is all that has happened. And usually what happens in cases like this.
Even after the transgressions, the culprits are still offered lucrative jobs and good positions. This just increases the disconnect between the gaming community and the gaming companies, and the brunt of that is felt by whole of the esports scene. More background checks need to be done and more responsible and talented people need to be brought into the limelight.