Soumak “Painkill3r” Ghosh is an upcoming FIFA professional in the Indian Esports circuit.
With notable performances in ESL India Premiership Winter Season, Soumak has made it clear that he might be new to the circuit, but he’s here to prove a point.
Sportskeeda Esports’ Titas “TeeKay” Khan got a chance to sit down for an exclusive interview with Mr. Ghosh and learn about the beginning of his Esports career, the journey so far, and his plans.
The following is an excerpt of the conversation.
Q. Soumak, before getting started, tell us a bit about your IGN, “Painkill3r” and what made you come up with that?
Soumak: The name "Painkill3r" was used by me when I played FPS games with my friends as a medic and tried to heal my teammates.
Q. Even before you were signed by LevelZero Esports, you were a regular participant at most of the local as well as national FIFA tournaments. Can you please tell our readers a bit about the journey from a FIFA enthusiast to a professional Esports athlete has been like?
Soumak: The journey has been good for me despite not being the best in our country. Currently, I am placed in the top eight Indian FIFA pros. However, I aim to reach the top four soon.
For that, I need a lot of practice and hard work. More so because the Esports scene is extremely competitive, and you never know who will shine tomorrow.
At first, I used to get defeated in the initial rounds. But coming into the competitive scene and getting signed by a professional organization made me mentally stronger. It also denoted a sense of responsibility towards the organization.
One piece of advice I can give based on my journey is not to step back when you are doing something that makes you feel confident and happy in life.
Whether it is studying or doing anything else, before committing to something, always look around and see what is happening in the scene. This is especially true for gaming and Esports because it is still a growing industry in India.
Q. Talking about LevelZero Esports, please tell our readers a bit about how the support of a well-established organization has impacted not only your performance but also your life?
Soumak: As I mentioned previously, getting signed by a professional organization made me mentally stronger. Our CEO at LevelZero Esports, Shrey "Sh1ne" Verma and Dipayan "Drigger" Bhowal, always backed me in my tough times.
Sometimes I shared my personal problems, which were hampering my gaming career, and they always backed me with positive advice, which led to better days. I am very thankful to them.
Q. Growing up in India and having to deal with the usual problems that one does in a country with a developing infrastructure when it comes to Esports and gaming, what is your take on a career in gaming in India, and what changes can be made to make it more mainstream?
Soumak: Gaming is a growing industry in India. Most families want their children to earn substantial money and become established people who can care for the family.
This line of work is tough to pursue without support from your family. However, for the past year, I have seen a massive improvement in the professional FIFA scene.
FIFA has approved India as an eligible country. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) hosted the eNations Cup.
Receiving recognition from a notable organization is always a pleasure. I always wanted to be with football, whether it was a physical or a virtual relationship.
Q. What made you decide to follow a career in Esports, especially with it being a fairly new career prospect in India?
Soumak: Currently, I am also pursuing a master’s degree in computer application alongside my gaming career. I am not a big fan of doing a desk job with fixed work hours.
Instead of that, I want to do something that I enjoy and give my full dedication. The real cherry on the top is that it also pays the bills.
Q. After you decided to pursue Esports as a career, how was the situation back home? Were your parents supportive of your Esports career, or were they skeptical about its possibilities as a career in India?
Soumak: My parents never supported me in this situation, and it’s quite natural. It’s an industry that they never saw or heard about during their youth. Obviously, they wouldn’t blindly trust anything.
I am thankful to my school friends and a few others I met through gaming, which also supported me in my tough times. Everything needs time to grow.
Last year in January, I lost my father. He had only seen me playing the game as a hobby most of the time. I wish he could see me succeeding in the professional circuit. Hopefully, he can see me from where he is right now.
Q. Having been a part of the professional scene for almost two years now, what are your feelings towards the Indian Esports scene, and how do you think it can be made better?
Soumak: Players need to be identified by the media. Media houses like Sportskeeda help a lot by interviewing a player trying his level best by keeping all his problems aside and trying to become the best in his circuit.
You can see all the best players doing interviews elsewhere and talking about their life. But some people might get inspired by the hard work done by a new player in the professional circuit who has managed to grab everyone's attention.
I am extremely thankful to Sportskeeda for giving me such a stage to share my words.
Q. With the global pandemic forcing the entire world into lockdown, how do you think it has affected Esports and interactive entertainment like streaming and streamers in general?
Soumak: There are two types of outcomes in this lockdown situation.
Firstly, it has demolished the LAN events, but tournament organizers somehow are trying to manage online events despite having connection issues, which is a major part of this lockdown era.
However, we need to cope with this thing and be happy with what we have instead of complaining about what we could have.
Secondly, in my view, the lockdown helped streamers get more views and generate followers, thereby making the industry a bit more relevant in the country.
Hopefully, this will spark a movement where gaming and Esports can become more relevant in our country.
Q. You can be seen streaming at times. What is your take on full-time streaming, and can we expect a similar stint from you in the future?
Soumak: Yes, I have streamed a bit, but I do not have a proper setup to stream yet. I do not wish to do things half-heartedly.
At first, I need to adapt to the game and focus on becoming a better player. After that, I will be able to entertain my audience with the same.
I am still in a learning period. If you want me to state my current condition, I need to be more interactive with people to become a good streamer as I am a bit introverted.
Q. We all know that grinding on one game for days can get tiring and monotonous. Tell us a bit about some other games that you play when you are not in the mood for FIFA.
Soumak: Yes, grinding on one game for days can indeed get tiring and monotonous.
I try to finish my college assignments when I am not gaming because getting good marks and having an educational degree is also important. Sometimes I play single-player games like COD, Battlefield, and Assassins Creed on PC. Especially when I am not in the mood for FIFA.
Q. Your love for FIFA can often be traced back to your love for football. Your social media posts have often indicated your love for Mohun Bagan. Could you reiterate a few instances that you will always cherish as a lover of the sport?
Soumak: Yes, Mohun Bagan is like my second home as it is in my blood, and no one can take that away. When I was in the fourth standard, my father took me to the ground for the first time. That’s when I found my love for football and Mohun Bagan.
I used to practice with a club as well. But due to two unfortunate surgeries within a span of one year in my childhood, I had to quit football as a career option. That’s why I try to implement my football skills through FIFA. Hopefully, I am doing it the right way.
Q. If it wasn’t FIFA or Esports, what career options could you see for yourself?
Soumak: I don’t know, maybe everyone could have seen me as a professional football player instead of a professional FIFA player.
I never thought of anything else instead of FIFA in this online competitive scene because I was never a big fan of any FPS game. As a hobby or something to play with friends, FPS was a good alternative. Definitely not something in which I could be a professional.
Q. You have struggled and succeeded as a professional Esports athlete in India. With that in mind, would you like to give a general word of advice to anyone looking to pursue a career in gaming in India?
Soumak: Speaking from my own experience, I have three pieces of advice for them:
- Always try to play ranked games when you aim for such a thing because it will give you a rough idea about your skills and where you have to improve.
- Talk about your interests in Esports to people around and those who matter. Do not care about others.
- Always try to look after your studies before doing something which is still a growing platform. Otherwise, in my opinion, the path will be difficult if you have taken a wrong turn.