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‘My Story Is Inspiring Others To Take Up Online Sports Seriously’

Outlook 2020-07-31 00:00:00

In a cricket-mad country where a Sachin Tendulkar or a Virat Kohli can never escape public attention, the name of Aaditya Sawant is unlikely to ring a bell to the common sports buff. Right? Wrong. Not if you have more than seven million YouTube followers and two million on Instagram. Nicknamed ‘Dynamo’, 24-year-old ‘Aadii’ is the power behind a burgeoning clan of streamers showing off their gaming skills online. A PUBG Mobile specialist, Dynamo has an ave­rage of 200,000 views whenever he streams his game over the internet for a two-three hour session. He gets paid for every minute and needs a full-time person to manage his time every day. He tells Soumitra Bose that a “skilful streamer can make seriously good money”. Excerpts from an exclusive interview:

You are quite a rockstar. Can we call you the Virat Kohli of online sports in India?

(Laughs) I won’t compare myself with a Virat Kohli, but I am part of a growing fraternity of sportspersons who have found a new playground using the internet and the smartphone. I have been able to give direction to a lot of budding talent in e-sports and streaming....  

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“I am part of a growing fraternity of sportspersons who have found a new playground using the internet and the smartphone.”

My father is a teacher. He wanted me to study and keep fit by playing outdoor sports. But my attention was drawn by large groups of people screaming and shouting while looking at computers in internet cafes. I was awestruck by the emotions and wanted to experience this myself. That was the start of what has been a fascinating journey so far.

How did this idea of streaming come about?

I thought people may like to see me play and that’s how the idea of streaming came about in 2010. Hardly anyone in India did streaming when I started my YouTube channel.

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You won thousands of online fans rather quickly....

When I started livestreaming of PUBG Mobile in 2017, it was a fairly new concept. One had to find skills to be the last man standing. My techniques to survive in this hyper-active and intense war game conti­nue to win me online fans. I love games like First Person Shooting and I developed my own personality. Soon it became a career option.

How much time do you devote to streaming?

I hated to wake up at 6 am to go to school. So I changed to one that started at 11 am. My parents supported me in what I was doing. To balance between my passion for e-sports and studies, I deci­ded to pursue a manage­ment degree online. On an average, I stream four-five hours a day, but due to the lockdown, the hours have gone up to sometimes eight hours a day.

A website said you earn Rs 2,230 per hour of streaming and are worth Rs 20 crore....

(Laughs) I can’t say what’s my real value, but I can afford to buy two to three iPhone 11 pro max phones (approximately Rs 132,000 each) every month! For someone my age, I think that’s not a bad income.... A skilful streamer can make seriously good money. For YouTube, a certain amount of time has to be given. For instance, 4,000 hours of video timing can be monetised in terms of ads playing on your videos. Sponsorship from companies associated with gaming and super chats are other revenue streams for me. You can bec­ome an exclusive member of my channel and chat with me for a fee. During streaming, we get donations too. People want me to chat with them as I play and may pay anything between Rs 20 to Rs 10,000. The bigger the amount, the more stable is the chat because everything is happening at a high pace.

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