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The Virtual field of Kashmiri e-gamers
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The Virtual field of Kashmiri e-gamers

Post by M Omar on Sunday, February 26, 2023

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With more and more kids getting access to fast internet and smartphones, this has created a new generation of youth who play online games and make money too. E-gaming is a very fast growing genre of sports, luring youth to its fascinating magnetism.
Here, in Kashmir the youth are getting into it and doing good in the e-gaming sector. They are getting views world-wide and do earn from this promising sector. Though with orthodox parenting, many youth are not getting into e-gaming but a rough estimate suggests that there are around 1000 youth who are professionally into e-gaming and doing good.
Mesum Abbas,15, a resident of Saida kadal area of Srinagar is one such online gamer and a Youtuber. He has a channel by the name ‘S-One 1’ where he uploads videos of the Free Fire game.
Free Fire is a battle royale game developed and published by Garena for Android and iOS. It became the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2019. As of 2021, Free Fire had surpassed 150 million daily active users.
Abbas, a ninth-standard student at the Kashmir Harvard school and has been actively into e-gaming since class 5. His journey into video gaming began in early 2017 when his father got him a mobile tablet.
“When I heard about online games that time, I started playing COC (Clash of Clans),” Abbas said. But he played it like a pro player. His engagement with his tablet was so much that the device got obsolete within a year.
Eager to be in the gaming arena back, he asked for a new phone and his father, later on, bought him a new phone. He was playing Free Fire on his new phone when he met a guy on the other side. He appreciated his gaming techniques and suggested he move to YouTube.
“Then I had no idea that YouTube could be monetized. I had the idea that YouTube is used for viewership and getting famous only,” he said. He now earns a decent sum of money from the gaming videos that he uploads.
Then, he started recording and uploading his gaming videos on his YouTube channel, Gaming with Mesum. It got a huge viewership and subsequently gathered around 53,000 subscribers from all over the world.
However, the internet blockade post-August 5 2019 led to Abbas losing access to his channel.
It was then in 2020, when 4G internet was restored, that he started another YouTube channel to Livestream his gaming videos. The channel currently has around 1,58,000 subscribers.
In 2021, he started another YouTube channel called “S-ONE 1” to upload recorded videos of his gameplay. He has more than 1,52,000 subscribers on this channel and a total view count of more than 18 million. I mostly upload gaming tutorials on this channel and teach others how to complete difficult missions in the game,” he said.
Like any other athlete, Abbas has his fair share of struggles. Initially, his family was not supportive as they believe that it is a distraction from studies but as they understood the gaming genre, they stood by his side.
Abbas wants to make an outstanding team of Kashmiri Software developers to build a high-end Kashmir-centric game. “A Kashmir-centric game would give a feeling of belongingness to the Kashmiri audience and the gaming enthusiasts.”
He believes that a very small number of people in Kashmir are into it. He said that most parents are not aware of this thing and that gaming has prospects too. “In Delhi, there is an e-sports field for e- gamers. As of now, there are almost 5 such fields in India.”
Moreover, throughout the world e-gaming is now in the mainstream curriculum and is being taught to students at different universities and colleges, said Abbas.
Abbas has also been invited to the E-Sports Asia Championship 2023, to be held in North Korea.
Pertinent to mention here that researchers have found that turning mobile mental health intervention into a smartphone game can potentially improve mental well-being.
Published in the journal PLOS ONE, the study showed that gamifying the content of mobile interventions improved resilience, a key character trait that reduces the susceptibility to depression, stress and anxiety.
“eQuoo (the gamified intervention app) was able to show that it not only had a significant and beneficial impact on the participant’s mental wellbeing but that gamifying therapy counterbalances sky-high attrition rates most mental health apps struggle with, especially in the demographic of 18-35-year-olds,” ,” said study authors from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.
Mobile mental health apps have the potential to act as interventions for depression and anxiety, but their effectiveness appears limited with studies showing that individuals do not stick with the routine for long periods.
To improve their effectiveness, the authors proposed turning intervention content into a game that includes levels that need passing, feedback, points, and other gaming elements. A five-week randomised control trial was completed by 358 participants who were assigned to one of three groups: gamified intervention app, normal intervention app, and waitlisted with no app.
Zaid bin Zaffar, 25, is another e-gamer who is directly associated with Free Fire - the only Kashmiri so far. He has two channels; one is Bin Zaid Gaming, which started in 2019 with 1.9 million subscribers and the other one is Bin Zaid Live started in 2021 with 203k subscribers.
Zaffar has done MBA from Kashmir University. He believes that parent counselling is a must thing to do when it comes to e-gaming. “Parents do not know much about the thing as it is new and it is hard for them to understand that one can make a career in e- gaming,” he said.
He further added that this is certainly a good career choice where people can earn a decent sum of money independently.
“What if I had been waiting for a government job that is hard to find or if it would have been into the private sector, the chances of growth are limited there,” said Zaffar.
Zaffar is right now the biggest Youtuber in Kashmir and is the first such youtuber in the Valley who has hit one million subscribers.
He feels that this e-gaming should not be limited to individuals only but the sports authorities need to chip in and promote, uplift and support this new emerging gaming sector. “If the authorities would help us, many youths will get into it and Kashmir can have a promising e-gaming sector of its own,” he said.
Umar, 23, a resident of Lethpora area of Pulwama is another e-gamer and a youtuber. He has his e-gaming monetized channel on Youtube ‘Avengers’ with 10k subscribers. He is an arts graduate and looks after his saffron shop.
He started his e-gaming in the year 2018 with Free Fire and prior to that he was playing ‘Eight Ball Pool’-an online game with his friends.
As of now he uploads two to three videos on his channel and in 2022 he organised a ‘One Day Youtubers Battle Tournament’ in which 64 youtubers of Kashmir took part.
He wants to dedicate his time to e-gaming and wants to do it professionally. “I see how e-gamers from other places do it professionally with all the skills.”
Umar said that universities here should take a lead and initiate the courses for e-gaming like rest of the world institutions offer. He believes that in the near future it is going to be one of the top career choices of the youth. “It is just a matter of time,” Umar said.

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