A look into Indian eSports with Elnino: SEG Co-Founder

Games are becoming a staple in our everyday lives. Which is why we are only seeing the growth of games like COD, PUBG, CSGO, Valorant, etc through orgs like SEG, Astralis, etc etc. Though some might argue that CSGO is dying, that is total rubbish. And you can read on it on our analysis of modern FPS. You can also see it how teams like Astralis continue to thrive in the CSGO scene.

So anyway, back to the interview.

Interviewer: Hi! Thanks for coming to our studio and having this interview with us. We have heard and seen a lot when it comes to SEG as an emerging Esports group from India. And since we have a section for gaming on our website, we thought interviewing you guys would be fantastic.

So glad to have you here, so to start off tell us a little about yourself and the team you’re currently with?

Hello there, my name is Jason, I’m from Shillong and also the co-founder of SEG Esports. My IGN (in-game name) is SEGxElnino. I’m a gamer by heart, I’ve been playing video games ever since I was a child on the Little Master console playing Mario, Contra, and started with that generation of games.
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Source: Contra by Konami

Interviewer: oh Mario and Contra! every child’s “go to” games back in those days! Remember when every girl just dying to be Princess Peach hahaha… so like, how did it all start? What gave you the idea of starting an Esports team in the first place?

E-sports for me have always been a great way to build one’s analytical skills, besides its recreational values. So starting an e-sports team is simply a perfect combination of both passion and skill and it just felt right being a part of it.
We started as an informal clan for a group of friends to play and compete together. Over time, we realized its potential and committed ourselves to aim higher and higher. Striving towards building a top gaming community starting with the northeast of India.

Interviewer: That’s sounds like a superb initiative, but it’ll be a tough battle up ahead. If you need any assistance from NEOtakus in any way, let us know… By that I mean media related thing… probably. I hope everything works out for the best.

But I am curious, what are the prospects of starting an Esports brand here?

I am a passionate gamer at heart and we can see the potential it has, especially on an international scale. So why not work on that when we know we have the potential? I mean, Esports is gaining momentum in India and it’s becoming a very lucrative industry. It’s just about tapping into that combined with our passion for gaming, it is definitely a winning combination.
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Interviewer: Alright alright cool. So ummmm… what other games do you play other than PUBG? Does it strictly have to do with a specific game or a genre perhaps?

I honestly play any game that I can pick up. If given the chance (and time, obviously), I’d love to try as many games as I can. But if I had to pick, I love multiplayer games that include fps shooters (Call of Duty, Pubg Mobile, Battlefield 4(my go-to favorite).
Then MOBA games (like League of Legends, Wild Rift on mobile). Survival games like Rust, Minecraft. Also used to play a lot of FIFA in college and competed in tournaments and made some pocket money (this is where I was like, Hey, Esports can be a thing). The competition is fierce, the adrenaline rush when you pull an insane clutch, strategies you plan are worth my time.
Sources: LOL Wild Rift

Interviewer: Righhttt! You were the one who introduced me to Wildrift as well, for which I will be forever grateful…. hahahahha… Are you guys planning on streaming more regularly? I heard streaming houses are a thing now apparently?

We’re planning to let the girls’ lineup (SEGxMedusa) stream more often on their channels as well as the SEG official channel. We’re looking to take in content creators to bring a fun model for viewers as well, something like OTV. And yes, of course, we want to stream more regularly and plan out various fun events for other gamers and viewers as well.

Interviewer: Alright. Will look forward to that, Jason… I mean, I do consider myself quite the gamer as well (desperately hopes *wink wink*).

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We’ll let you know when we need another girl star player hahaha. Anyway, the primary goal of SEG is to be an Esports lifestyle brand. We also want to uplift the gaming community here in the northeast.

So how often do you guys play competitively? Tell us a bit about the tournaments you guys have taken part in so far.

Performances in tournaments play a huge role when it comes to making an Esports brand, and the current aim is to represent the northeast with the top teams in India for BGMI (battlegrounds mobile India). From the main lineup, two of our players are PMCO Finalists, one is a PMIT Semi-Finalists, this is the stage where the top teams in India compete.
Our other lineups have played several tournaments and scrims from OSPC 2 Times finalist, Northeast Cup finalist, NEPL S4 CHAMPIONS, Ne vs South India runner up, Chingtam elite Tournament Finalist, and many more.
Battle Grounds Mobile India

Interviewer: Sounds like you guys have been grinding… a lot. That’s pretty neat. Maybe tell us a little about the members as well? I am aware that you guys are from different parts of India. what’s the process of getting the members from different backgrounds and forming one cohesive unit?

We have about 40 members in the clan now. 5 lineups play competitively in Pubg Mobile including an only girls lineup. We have members from Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh. But we evaluate players based on their skill, performance, and behavior and we expect professional behavior from each team member. We also have the SEG management team that runs our social media accounts, graphic designers, video editors that range from different parts of India-based on their talent.
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Interviewer: Woahh!! gathering 40 members from all around is quite the feat. I can barely handle a team of two people. Speaking of which, I have to ask… how is it having female players in your team? Do they face that discrimination for being female in the gaming industry?

We know girls get lesser opportunity and exposure as compared to the boys or perhaps competitions are limited. But we see immense potential in the players and would like to give the girls an equal opportunity, so what we’ve done is put them in Scrims and they’ve not disappointed us. They have dominated on numerous occasions, we’re really excited and proud of their hard work. And we’re definitely looking to sponsor a few players who we think have the potential.
There definitely is some form of discrimination towards female gamers, and we do not approve of it. We’ve addressed the issue on our social media and the response has been positive so far. Tournament organizers and streamers who have organized open custom rooms have also responded by saying that they will ban players who publicly discriminate based on sex, race, and toxic behavior.

Interviewer: Naisu.. Things are going the right way in the gaming community. huhuhuhu :3 Would you say that you guys are pretty tight? What does this team and members mean to you?

Of course, everyone in SEG is family… Please don’t put the…
Vin Diesel

Interviewer: Too late

Aaaaanyway, all the new members have settled in well, fortunately. Obviously, there are small disputes but we deal with them as professionally as we can. I have spent a lot of time on SEG for the past few months so it’s a big part of my life right now, and there’s always work to be done. The team members are the pillars of the organization, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. What we try to do is help every member in places where they need help, we’re always be willing to support them.

Interviewer: Words of true leader *sheds a single tear*

Crocodile’s tear, perhaps

Interviewer: Soooooo yeah, it’s a fact that Esports is still growing and it’s still not recognized as much as other forms of sports. What are your thoughts on that?

So Esports is already huge and growing. Let me google the numbers… “The market value of India’s gaming industry was around 90 billion Indian rupees in the financial year 2020. This was estimated to go up to over 143 billion rupees by 2022.”
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Look everyone…numbers! 😀
More opportunities are developing, providing job opportunities for individuals who are interested in gaming, be it competitive, content creation, design, game development, etc. There is a lot of scope when it comes to gaming. The PUBG Mobile India Tour of 2019 had a pool prize of 1.5 Crore and all companies have realized that things are only gonna get bigger. At the global level, the prize pool goes up to 250 crores. So in India, we have only just scratched the surface of its actual potential. The real question lies in how can we make it sustainable.

Interviewer: Then I probably have to do some more research before raising my questions… everything just r/whooossh over my head hahahahah…. Moving on, what are the challenges you guys face as a team and how do you guys overcome them?

Trying to gain popularity organically is a challenge, it’s difficult to stand out from the other big organizations. Internet is a problem for most of the players, as they require a stable internet connection. Some players in SEG have problems with devices that cannot run games as smoothly as they would like so recording and playing or streaming at the same time is an issue. These are some challenges we face from day to day.
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Interviewer: Right! And especially when you’re being competitive, I am sureeee it’s a pain in the arse. Has being together for a long time change from the time you guys had just started?

Before there was no pressure, it was all fun and games but now, things have gotten serious. All eyes are on us and we have to make sure there is consistency in our performance. Especially with the new team members we have signed, the pressure on them is immense from the public and we would also like them to perform well on the national stage.

Interviewer: Well, you guys are doing a greater job, even with all the pressure strikes victory pose How far are you guys planning on taking this? Is it something that you see yourself committed to for the long term?

The sky is the limit for SEG and the players. We want this to grow; we want to give opportunities and set standards on a professional level so we can help carve a path for upcoming and growing teams as well. This is for the long haul, it’s not gonna be an easy journey, but we will give it our all.
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Other main founders of SEG

Interviewer: As the co-founder of SEG, are you proud of how much your team has achieved so far? what would you wanna say to them?

If we look at it, we are still a small organization in a vast ocean. So far we have achieved some recognition in small tournaments. However, we hope to build a growing Esports community in the northeast and of course build a reputable name for ourselves. So far, I didn’t imagine being where we are right now, but we are also taking it one step at a time. To the players, I would like to say that we are proud of each and every one of them and how they take ownership of our clan.

Interviewer: I am sure the members will be thrilled to hear that. Speaking of which, if someone were to start an Esports team from the scratch, what advice would you give them?

Start small and move up slowly. Learn from mistakes. Focus on small goals and and focus on building a strong foundation as a team. Keep pushing forward and don’t give up so easily.

Interviewer: Some words of encouragement from our Uncle Jason. a.k.a. SEGxElnino. (Yes, he’s a lot older than he looks). Now before we end this interview, we request all the people who we interview to give us a song that they want to suggest to our readers to listen to. We’re making a NEOtakus spotify/YouTube playlist so we’d love to have a song you’d recommend in it.

A song I’d love for people to listen to would be Toploader–Dancing in the Moonlight. It’s one of my all-time favourites.

Interviewer: Now, for the last question, from one emerging organization to another, what’s something you can advise us on the hustling and the bustling?

SEG still has a lot to learn. If we started big directly, we would have had a lot of problems. Starting small has allowed us to learn about the market and our competitors, we then can put all the best things that work for us. Since I have previously worked with other start-ups, I’ve learnt that building it takes time. Plan your goals, strategize and do your research to meet your targets and measure the growth. See what’s working, learn from others and work smarter.
Thank you for the interview. It was insightful as well for me as I haven’t thought of a lot of these questions myself. Hoping that everyone at Neotakus has a bright future ahead! Cheers!

Interviewer: And that’s it for this week’s interview, and hopefully everyone enjoyed that while learning something new today. Next week we have another equally exciting person who at a very young age… already garnered a big fanbase around his Webcomic. We will have Mr. Wax as our upcoming guest. Look forward to that. But for now, please follow SEG’s different social handles:

If you enjoyed this brief interview, don’t be afraid to check our other interviews as well, just click here.
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