Siddhant Joshi is not your average Joe. His job demands him to spend innumerable hours with a bunch of players and also meddle with a series of games. Is he a P.E. Teacher?
From being a League of Legends champ to building the family of Entity Esports, Sid Joshi’s gaming career has grown along with the esports scene in India. Sid Joshi is currently the Manager of a successfully blooming gaming team – Entity Esports. Sid’s experience in the esports field is a treasure trove of gaming wisdom. Take a sneak peak of it to gain a better understanding of the gaming scenario.
Siddhant Joshi is not your average Joe. His job demands him to spend innumerable hours with a bunch of players and also meddle with a series of games. Is he a P.E. Teacher? Absolutely not. Guess again. Joshi, 24, hailing from Mumbai, is the manager for India’s leading esports organization – Entity Esports.
Though esports is a relatively new concept in India, it is a booming phenomenon worldwide. With increased sponsorship and viewership, its popularity has been crashing through numerous glass ceilings. SuperData, a consultancy firm which specialises in analysis of video games and professional gaming, pegs the global esports revenue at $900 million for 2016 and is expected to surpass a billion by circa 2018. While the scene in India is still at its dormant stage, 2016 has been an exceptional year so far. In comparison to previous years, this year has seen a surge in the number of events organised, rapidly expanding prize pools as well as a stark increase in the gaming quality. A notable event is the ESL India Premiership which holds a prize pool worth Rs. 42,00,000.
Previously viewed as a waste of time by the majority, video-gaming now has suddenly grabbed a lot of eyeballs. However, Sid is not an alien to this phenomenon. One of the first League of Legends players from India to attain the Diamond Rank, he has patiently watched and participated in the evolution of Indian esports over the past lustrum.
A Journey to Behold
Sid was a gamer from time immemorial, since his school days he was notorious for grinding countless hours at gaming cafes. In 2009, he moved to the United Kingdom to pursue a degree in Business Administration. But his gaming instinct never left him. He began playing League of Legends, which got released earlier that year. The same year Riot Games hosted a LAN event at London. Incidentally, this was also his first LAN event. Putting together a rag-tag team, they got placed 3rd at the event. “After that event, people were actually recognizing me on LAN, saying that ‘You play really well,’ ‘I have read your guides and stuff.’ That is when I decided that this is something I want to do in my life”, recounts Sid while narrating his gaming journey.
Sid Joshi Attending his 1st LAN in UK
In 2013, he returned to India and joined Oblique Gaming as the captain of their League of Legends team. However, in between he left for a lucrative job in the Middle East, but soon returned as his hunger for gaming could not be satiated there. NeckBREAK Gaming, at that time was creating an All-Stars team and Sid made the cut. However, it was here where he got to test his managerial skills after his gameplay started detoriating following a carpal tunnel syndrome. Coincidentally, the manager seat at NeckBREAK was also vacant at that time after Sidhharth Nayyar left the team. It was from here that his journey as a manager began.
The Mother of the Family
Sid’s normal workday starts at 10 am, when he has to wake the players for the day. “Before we would wake up the players at 7 am in the morning, but that did not work out because they are extremely lazy and nocturnal animals.” However, he states that this is not an easy task, as he often has to rely on loud jarring Bihari music and cuddling to do the trick.
After bath and breakfast, follows solo gaming sessions, which continues until 1 pm. After lunch, the team begin scrimming. Scrimming refers to the act of grinding together as a team. Sid stressed that this is the most important session of every day as this not only helps improving team play but also bonding. After every scrim, it is mandatory to sit down and discuss every game, be it a loss or even a win. In between sessions, the players dabble with other games which helps improve their hand-eye coordination and reflexes.
Dew Arena 2016 winning Coach
Apart from ensuring their performance at events, Sid also makes it a point that his team receives their daily dose of Vitamin D too. An hour is cordoned off everyday where the team has to necessarily go outside and catch some fresh air.
Interestingly, Sid views himself as the mother of his small thriving troop. “So, my job is to stay at home, make sure my kids are eating well, sleeping on time, and of course ‘studying’ properly. Later 2-3 years down the line, when I'm old and I cannot work anymore, I can live off their profits” he adds.
The Unconditional Support every Gamer wishes
Sid received unconditional support from his Mother to pursue this unconventional profession. But he had to hard sell the concept of gaming and esports. “Since 2009, my Mother has been quite supportive of my whole gaming scene. Because the thing is I didn't go empty handed, I showed them my achievements and I was like this is what I have done, this is what I can do” he reminiscences.
But these days, Sid also has to convince the mothers and fathers of his budding players. Recently, he successfully recruited a young talented kid from Pune, but convincing the lad’s parents was an uphill task. “We had to tell them that this is a risky profession but every profession is risky at some point. Even if you make him an engineer, tomorrow there is no guarantee of him getting a very good job, every profession is risky, and you have to take this decision because this is what your child wants.” Entity Esports later provided the young man with a brand new PC but with a hefty clause. “If he doesn't score well in his exams, we take the stuff back. That is the deal we have. Now he is scoring well in his exams as well and is playing phenomenally too,” Sid gleefully adds. It is win-win for both parties.
Taking the Calls
Playing the manager’s role is not a walk in the park. In his brief period as one, Sid had to make several decisive ones. His decisions made keeping the well-being of his team and organisation in mind. For him, it is not the player’s performance but instead the player’s character which matter the most. Sid states that the Indian scene lacks professionalism because most players directly join from college and have no prior corporate exposure.
However, when questioned about the Crowley issue, Sid said “We have looked into a lot of factors before making the move, I feel, this is a really good move for us. I have even spoken to a lot of managers at Malaysia. I spoke to the manager of Fnatic as well. The response I got from them was something what I had to take into consideration when taking the decision regarding Crowley.” He also added that this was the toughest decision he took till date.
Esports and Beyond
After being a witness to the esports scene abroad, Sid is confident that India is heading towards the right direction. Entity Esports is a formidable name when it comes to DOTA 2 even though, the organisation has not made any considerable progress in CS:GO and Overwatch. Also, Sid believes that it is DOTA 2 which has the potential to make India an International powerhouse, hence most of his efforts are focused towards this game.
When asked about introducing roster locks in Indian esports, Sid was hesitant to agree. He elaborated his stance stating “this is little bit early to introduce a roster lock in the Indian scene right now. It has not grown at the point where people can play games for a living. What will happen because of these roster locks is that the organisations which are trying to put their money and effort into these players will suffer. But, it is a good thing for a later period, because it will bring consistency into the team and people will take this a little more seriously. However, now it is not necessary now because we cannot tell a player to play 24x7, it’s just too early.”
Sid is a very progressive manager. He does not conform to the popular notions of creating separate teams for boys and girls. For him an inclusive team will better capture the spirit of the game. “If there is a good girl gamer out there, who is deserving enough to be a part of Entity Esports, I will include them in the main team,” he adds.
Being a natural born competitive person, Sid enjoys the competition this field has to offer. “A few years ago, gaming was joke, gaming was something people frowned upon, and now people are making millions. So, the fact that we get to show this to people, show this to people who did not support us back then, is also refreshing,” he cherishes.
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