Jonathan “Johnny” Amaral, one of the best BGMI players in the country, was recently signed by GodLike Esports and has emerged victorious in some of the most prestigious tournaments of the season. He is now gearing up for the Battleground Mobile India Series 2021 (BGIS 2021) and has his eyes on the championship.
From saying “Zerrroo kill bhai main ni khelra” to becoming the MVP in most competitions, Jonathan has come a long way in the esports world of mobile gaming. In conversation with Sportskeeda Esports’ Debolina Banerjee, Jonathan opened up about his BGMI journey, his close-knit team, and his hunger for winning major tournaments.
Q. From professional esports to content creation, you have quite an impressive CV in the world of mobile gaming. Tell us a bit about your journey and the inspiration behind choosing this as your career path.
Jonathan: In the beginning, I used to play this game (PUBG Mobile at the time) just for fun. My friends and cousins used to come over to my house to enjoy Team Deathmatch (2v2/4v4) matches. I gradually started loving the game and gave it my all whenever I played.
Slowly and steadily, I started collecting more information about the game, which led me to discovering the whole concept of esports. Frankly speaking, the trophy and the massive prize pool for the tournaments drew me in. I thought to myself, “Johnny kuch karna hai isme tereko”, which led me to the whole of esports.
I started researching more about esports and developed close friendships with the members of the Skull Clan. We started playing friendly matches, and they thought of giving the PMCO a try. Unfortunately, we did not qualify due to a shortage of just two points.
However, I did not give up. I have known Ghatak since my rank-push days, and he gave me the proposition to collaborate and form a team. Since I was branded as a Classic match player by other gamers, I wanted to prove them wrong by showing them my versatility.
In my first-ever international esports tournament, the Vodafone 5G ESL Mobile Open, we (Entity Gaming) secured the fourth position. My mother was overjoyed with my performance, and both my parents motivated me to move forward.
My dream is to become a world champion.
Q. You are one of the very few gamers who have achieved success at quite a tender age. How do you deal with attention, expectation, and fame? Your family has seemingly been supportive of your decision to become a professional mobile gamer.
Jonathan: To be honest, I really enjoy it when people come up to greet me and take pictures. I never imagined that such a day would come. I always try to give my best and keep my fans happy.
My parents supported me from the first day. My mother follows my tournaments online on the PC. She consoled me when I failed to qualify in the first tournament that I took part in.
My father used to underestimate my number of kills, making me more determined to get more kills in any match I played.
Q. You are one of the most popular gamers who has been the face of BGMI ever since the first trailer came out. How did it feel to be one of the chosen ones ever since the beginning?
Jonathan: I was pleased when I found out that I would be featured in the BGMI trailer. I feel lucky and ecstatic to share the screen with Dynamo, Kronten, and Bollywood star, Arshad Warsi.
Q. GodLike Esports has one of the best BGMI rosters in the country. What is the best aspect of being a part of such a great team?
Jonathan: We never let ourselves believe that “We are the best”. All four of us just have one motto: to give our 100% at every upcoming tournament. Our primary focus is to win the trophy.
When it comes to fans, we try not to let them down as they have their expectations vested in us. We look to perform to the best of our abilities to win the competition.
All four of us have the motive to bring back an international trophy representing India whenever we get the opportunity.
Q. From ZGOD to Neyoo, your teammates are a few of the greatest players from India. With whom is your synergy the best in the team?
Jonathan: Clutch God, ZGOD, and Neyoo play their roles amazingly. My synergy is excellent with all three of them.
Q. Ghatak, the coach of GodLike Esports, is very proactive when it comes to communicating with players regarding their BGMI queries. What is it like working with him? Do you really believe that communicating with fans has a positive impact on a player’s performance?
Jonathan: I am really proud to play with Ghatak. He is like an elder brother and a father figure to all of us.
Ghatak is very active in the BGMI community. He watches the stream of random streamers, regardless of the number of fans they have. All he focuses on is the skill of the player. He is one of the best talent scouts in the country.
Q. Some battle royale enthusiasts think that BGMI has exceeded the fan-following that PUBG Mobile had. Do you really feel that is true? How can BGMI get better in the future?
Jonathan: BGMI has played a very crucial role since its launch. It is getting better, and its publishers are focusing more on the growth of the community.
Q. With Free Fire Max already here and PUBG New State and Apex Legends Mobile on the way, do you feel that the fanbase of BGMI will be reduced in the future? Out of the two titles that will be released soon in India, which one are you most excited about?
Jonathan: I do not feel that the fan base of BGMI will be reduced once the two games roll out. This is mainly because the love for BGMI amongst mobile gamers is immense.
I got to try out PUBG New State, and it was a great experience. I really liked the game mechanics of the futuristic title. But I can say with conviction that the love for BGMI will never fade.
Q. You were recently crowned as the MVP of the Skyesports Championship 3.0 with a whopping 77 finishes. What was your overall experience of the tournament? Is winning major competitions the ultimate deciding factor in proving one’s talent?
Jonathan: We started preparing for the event one month earlier. Our main focus is to win the competition. When it comes to killing, I am good at it. You can call me a “killing machine” (*laughs*).
Whenever a tournament ends, we never let our win make us obnoxious. Even after becoming an MVP or winning the event, we try to stay humble. As soon as one competition ends, I buckle up and prepare for the next one.
Q. With the BGIS 2021 approaching soon, how are you preparing for the tournament? Who do you think will be the most formidable competitor?
Jonathan: We are practicing really hard since the BGIS is fast approaching. Since it’s the first official tournament, we are pretty excited about it.
We consider everyone to be our competitors as we do not underestimate anyone. However, I will have my eyes peeled for the new talents as we are unaware of what they bring.
Q. Whenever there is a major tournament on the way, how much time do you dedicate towards the game? Aside from grinding, what else do you do to ensure the whole team performs to the best of its ability?
Jonathan: We practice for eight to ten hours a day and ensure to take breaks in between. Mental preparation is a must.
We made it a point to have dinner together under the same roof in the boot camp. Aside from griding, we also watch movies together and go out shopping. We try our best to build a positive ambiance for everyone at the boot camp.
Q. Along with MortaL and Sc0ut, you are one of the most popular BGMI gamers to comment on the increasing number of hackers in the game. Did PUBG Mobile have this problem with hackers back in the day? What possible methods can Krafton implement to improve the situation?
Jonathan: Nobody likes to play when there is a cheater in the lobby. Also, PUBG Mobile had fewer cheaters than BGMI.
I remember the time when I was accused as a hacker during my previous years. The entire community went against me and reported me to the higher-ups.
However, I have faith in Krafton, and hopefully, they will give us a good gift this Diwali by doing something constructive regarding this.
Q. PUBG Mobile Lite players are ardently hoping for the release of BGMI Lite. Is there a chance for the lighter version of BGMI to be released? Why is it likely/unlikely?
Jonathan: There is a rumor that BGMI Lite will be released soon, and I am looking forward to it. I really hope that the game meets the expectations and requirements of the fans.
Q. Aside from being one of the best professional BGMI gamers, you also have a YouTube channel called “Jonathan Gaming” with over 3 million subscribers. How important is diversification when it comes to uploading videos?
Jonathan: People mainly come to my channel to watch my gameplay. My fans try to learn from my videos, so I tend to upload more informative content like my tournament gameplay, warm-up videos, stream highlights, and more.
I like to retain my original identity while streaming. Viewers tend to like creators who are raw with their content, and I am proud to have such a great audience.
Q. What are your words of wisdom to players striving to make it big in the professional gaming world?
Jonathan: Everyone wants to make a name for themselves, so they opt for shortcuts. This is one major mistake, and I would never recommend it, as hard work and dedication are what matter.
Keep playing in tournaments and enjoy the learning process! Never underestimate yourself, as all of us are capable of performing wonders. The “Never give up” attitude helps a lot as it has helped me too. My best wishes are with you all!