Valorant is Riot Games' latest addition to the fast-paced first-person shooter genre and has been growing in popularity ever since its release earlier in 2020. The game has given rise to many esports tournaments in India and overseas for professional players.
The developers recently announced that Indian Valorant servers would come into play, ensuring lesser ping for Indian pros. As a result, the competitive scene in the country is witnessing a massive transition of players from other titles to this offering.
Simar Psy Sethi is a prominent name in Indian gaming, and has set a benchmark for aspiring gamers. The 22-year-old has won several ESL India Premierships, was awarded the Best Player of India in 2016 and has numerous MVP awards. He is known for his aggressive AWP-ing, and is an icon for the youth.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda's Rijit Banerjee, he talked about his positive mindset, thought process during matches and story of becoming one of the best CS: GO and Valorant esports players in India.
Q. How did your gaming career begin? Who was your inspiration behind taking up gaming and esports as a profession?
Psy: I started playing video games back in 2013 in Mumbai, when my friends gifted me Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Steam. My first rank was Gold Nova III. After that, I moved to Delhi, my hometown, but I didn’t have a PC as it was back in Mumbai. So, I started visiting cafes and in the process made new friends there, and we started playing competitive matches in CS: GO.
At that time, I used to watch professional players like rite2ace (Tejas Sawant) going abroad and representing the country. It made me wonder if spending too much time and dedication into this game was worth it.
Then, one day, I was with a few of my friends, and one of them said, “Isko mat khilao, yeh harwa dega!” (Don’t play him, he’ll cost you the match!) and this provoked my ego. I retorted: “Okay! We’ll see after a year, where I stand, and you stand.”
After that, I started grinding for 12 hours a day and joined my first professional esports team in 2014.
Q. What hurdles did you face when you started gaming? As you know, Indian parents aren’t big fans of their children saying they want to pursue gaming as a career option.
Psy: My parents were very supportive, although there were times when it all went a little overboard. I explained to them that I understand that my studies were getting compromised because of my endeavour, but I told them to have faith in me, and that I would surely do something big someday.
They relented and gave me one year to prove my worth, and I became a professional esports player at the age of 16, within that time. Then, I started learning, travelling, and represented the country four times, so I am happy now, and my parents are satisfied too.
One of the main hurdles that I faced was the repetitive strain injury (RSI) that happened to me when I was in prime form, forcing me to take a break for three months. It still gives me pain today; however, it has decreased significantly compared to my early days.