Exclusive: You can make a career out of playing video games, says Gareebooo
Kunal Saraf, more commonly known as Gareeb, is one of India’s top YouTubers and has two channels called Gareeb and Gareeboo. Gareeb is for funny content while Kunal uses Gareeboo to stream his gameplay. He has over a million subscribers on both his accounts. He was recently voted one of the top 4 PUBG Mobile content creators in the world and has qualified for the PUBG Mobile Star Challenge (PMSC) 2019 where he will play with Team IND.
We got the chance to talk to him about his streaming career, esports, making a profession out of gaming and more.
Gareeboo’s story began years ago when he passed his tenth grade and started preparing for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). He said that he wasn’t good at chemistry but loved physics, which he banked on to help him clear the exam. Gareebooo tried his best and came very close to getting a seat in one of the reputed IIT centres as he cleared the main exam and scored 105 in his JEE Advanced paper.
Around that time, the occurrence of certain family matters set off a chain of events which brought Gareeboo to where he is now. “I wanted to be independent”, the streamer told Sportskeeda.
He then started looking for avenues to make this happen. Carry, the channel that streams League of Legends highlights was also starting to blow up at the time, and was someone who caught Gareeboo’s attention. He finally decided to try out YouTube. Initially, he received a lot of criticism from friends and family as they began questioning what he was doing and told him to continue focusing on studies. “This made me even more determined to do something via YouTube,” said Gareebooo.
He started his first channel, Gareeb, in June 2017. From the very beginning, the response he received was amazing. He quickly started racking up subscribers and jumped from 2K subscribers on June 24, 2017, to 17K on July 3, 2017. But then, due to copyright issues, his channel was taken down.
“This was like a bad dream and a big shock for me”, said the streamer. However, Gareebooo didn't lose hope and started a new channel on the same day. The name for this new channel was unique but very long and he didn’t like that. He started asking his friends what should he rename the channel. Due to his habit of saving money, his friends used to call him Gareeb and Kunal just went ahead and named his channel that. “People once used to tease me by calling me Gareeb but now I am proud to hear that”, said the streamer.
In 2018, Gareebooo rediscovered his love for gaming. “I used to play video games a lot when I was in tenth grade”, revealed Kunal. Due to this, he decided to buy a PC with the money he was saving for a new bike. Initially, he juggled games from PUBG Mobile to story-mode and RPG games like GTA-V. “I always loved story-mode games as they were relatable and made me truly dive into what was happening”, said the streamer.
Finally, he narrowed it down to PUBG Mobile and started streaming the game on the other channel he created for gaming, Gareebooo. Now, he has over a million subscribers on the channel and also streams other games like GTA-V as well as PUBG Mobile.
We delve deeper and ask the content creator more about his exciting journey.
Q) Are your parents supportive of what you have been doing?
In the beginning, they weren’t so supportive of what I was doing. But now, after some time has passed, they are completely fine with it.
Q) Do you have any advice to new streamers?
My advice would be to remain true to yourself. There cannot be a second Gareebooo but in the whole world, there is only one you. Start streaming like that and don’t copy others.
Q) You went to Taiwan for shooting the mini-series for the PUBG Mobile Star Challenge, how was that experience?
Extremely nice! It had been very well organized and we had a lot of fun. I met many of these people for the first time so it was definitely exciting making these new connections.
Q) Being among the top four streamers who received the most votes in the PMSC voting stage, you were selected to go to Berlin, Germany for the PUBG Mobile Club Open (PMCO). What happened to that? Why didn't you go?
We were all ready to go. However, there were some problems we encountered with the visas. The visas got rejected and due to this, we were unable to go. Even professional teams (Indian Tigers and Team IND) had to play the PMCO prelims from India due to this.
Q) Did you ever imagine when you were younger, that you could become one of India’s biggest content creators?
No. I didn’t have internet access or a mobile phone when I was younger. I wasn’t even aware of what YouTube was. After Jio 4G was launched, I discovered all these things.
Q) What is your opinion on the esports scene in India currently?
People didn’t realize that you can build a career in gaming and can become a professional in it. People’s have a mentality which is “play games and have fun.” But it isn’t just fun anymore, it is becoming a profession for many.
Q) Do you have any plans to go professional?
No, I do not. I am competing in the PMSC as an influencer for entertainment. A professional player has to put in a lot of time into the game. I would rather use that time to entertain my audience.