Harnit “Gunshot” Khatri is a YouTube streamer and gamer with over 243,000 subscribers. He has more than 18 million views and plays games like Dota 2 and PUBG. He has represented India in international tournaments in the USA and is currently a university student in Canada.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Gunshot spoke about being a streamer, the scope for esports in India and so much more.
Q) You are studying in Canada. How do you manage streaming and studying?
I live in Canada but have an Indian audience so I have to work through Indian times. Thanks to my university, I can schedule my classes as per my convenience. My major days of study are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 12 pm to 6 pm (Canadian time). After that, I either go to sleep by seven. If I am out, I go to sleep by 10 pm so I can wake up early and stream till 12 pm or 11 am and then go to college.
I live in the college dorm which is on the campus so it is very easy for me to commute. I can leave five minutes before a class starts and still reach on time. So, I get up at about 2 am to 3 am in the morning and then stream while others are sleeping.
Q) You represented India at the MSG finals in Louisiana, USA in Call of Duty. What was that experience like?
I have been playing video games since I was in Grade 8 and I have been participating and winning tournaments all around. When an opportunity opened up when I could represent India at the MLG World Finals, I thought that this is the end goal. So we put on a team went there. We didn’t perform like we wanted to but since that was the first LAN event for me, I learned a lot and met a lot of people.
The biggest thing I got from there was actually going to the United States alone, without any restriction from parents at just 15 years old.
Q) What advice would you give to someone who has just started streaming?
I am a streamer and a student as well. Many people depreciate their education when they start streaming. This is wrong because in streaming, you either make it big or you don’t. If you don’t make it big, it becomes very hard to survive.
A piece of advice I would give is to not miss your education (and work) as you get into streaming. The second thing is to stay focused. Stay dedicated to one thing. If you are streaming, don't think about going professional. You should not diversify into different fields and just focus on one thing until you become successful.
Q) Is a career in esports a legitimate option in India?
Earlier it was not, but now, since gaming has boomed up, a lot of pathways have opened. If you are not a streamer, you can become a professional gamer. If you are not a gamer, you can get into the management part of things like work with an esports team or participate in events and work as a league operator, commentator and what not. There are many fields (in esports) that people don’t see.
Q) What is your opinion about where the Indian esports scene is heading towards right now? We are seeing it increasingly align towards mobile gaming in India. What are your thoughts about this?
I think that some people don’t like it and will have a different opinion than me. But the thing is that even mobile gaming is good for India. India is a big country with a lot of people. Mobile gaming is easily accessible because everyone now has phones and internet, thanks to all the operators who have cut down their costs. So it’s very easy to game over here now.
Earlier, when I used to think of esports, the image in my mind used to be of big setups, having a PS4 or a 144Hz monitor as a bare minimum just to compete at the same level (of other pros). This would, at an average, cost between Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 but now you can invest just Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000 (on a mobile phone) and actually become a professional player.
Q) What does your family say about your career path?
My family was very sceptical about it. The first time when I told my mom that I am going to the USA for the world finals in an all paid trip, they were like no one would pay for the ticket and stuff like that.
But when I had to travel, I went to the airport with my dad and at that moment when he was dropping me off, we hugged and it was the first time I saw my dad crying because he was proud of me and of what I was doing at such a small age. My family has been very supportive of me playing video games since I went to the USA. But before that, they would close my X-Box or PS4 in between games when I was trying to scrim against other teams or when I was in a tournament so I just slept and went to school the next day.
Q) Are you currently just streaming or are you planning to go professional on some game as well?
I think I already did my part. I went pro in Call of Duty and also PUBG PC so now my major focus is to stream full-time and entertain my audience while chilling a bit. If an opportunity opens up later on where I think that it is a wise time to go pro, then I will go pro. I might even think of going professional after my college when I will have a lot of time and investors have grown a bit. Living in Canada and competing in India is difficult. If I plan to go professional, I will probably compete in Canada.
Also follow Sportskeeda for the latest news and updates from the world of esports!Published 07 Jul 2019, 22:41 IST