Online stars are often born in the most uncanny of places. In the last few years, platforms like YouTube and Twitch have provided unrecognized talents with a podium to finally showcase their skills.
Ritesh's (of Villain Gaming) journey has been riddled with hurdles, and his road to stardom has been an incredibly difficult one.
In an exclusive interaction with Sportskeeda Esports’ Abhishek Mallick, Ritesh opens up about his difficult childhood and how his family’s monetary constraints made him drop his studies for a few years.
The YouTuber also talks about his road to 600k+ subscribers, and how difficult it was for him to maintain his daily job as a vegetable seller while creating content at the same time.
Here is an excerpt from the conversation.
Q. Ritesh, let’s start by having you tell our readers a bit about yourself. What’s life like outside the Villain Gaming YouTube channel?
Ritesh: Hello! My name is Ritesh Naik, and I am from the small city of Kalahandi in Odisha. Before becoming a YouTuber, I used to engage in our family business of selling vegetables. For two years, I have been making content on my channel while still working at the shop.
Hence, my normal life is drastically different from my YouTube persona. I have been making and editing videos while at the shop, and uploading them once I am done for the day.
Having to focus on two things at once does get hard from time to time, but overall, it’s not difficult as my parents help me out. They wholeheartedly support what I do.
Q. Growing up in Odisha, tell us a bit about your childhood, and the special relation that you shared with video games.
Ritesh: My childhood was not easy. Coming from a middle-class family, I had to face a lot of ups and downs early on in life. Our financial condition was not good, because of which I had to quit my studies for a few years and focus on the shop.
But fortunately, I was able to complete my 12th standard, and things have been looking up for us ever since. The shop is running well, and Villain Gaming has also grown significantly. It has become an additional source of income for my family.
Q. Villain Gaming has been one of the fastest-growing Free Fire YouTube channels in the nation. With over 680k subscribers, was this level of success something you expected when starting out?
Ritesh: I am indeed very fortunate that Villain Gaming was able to gain this amount of traction and support from the community.
When starting the channel, I didn’t have any subscriber target in mind, as my sole aim was to show my audience that my content is very different from the rest of the YouTubers out there. So, I just concentrated on uploading videos every week, and all of a sudden. my content started to go viral.
Once Villain Gaming boomed and I started to monetize my content, I was able to give my very first income to my parents. It was the best feeling of my life, and my parents were overjoyed with how well my channel was doing.
Q. Tell us about some of your early hurdles when setting out. What do your parents think about your career as a content creator? Were they supportive from the very start?
Ritesh: Yes! My parents have been very supportive throughout my YouTube career. I am fortunate that they don’t feel that I have been wasting my time playing games on my mobile phone.
When Villain Gaming became a second source of income, they started realizing the potential that YouTube has, and they became even more supportive of my passion ever since.
Q. Free Fire has been the title that you based your entire channel around. What is it about the game that inspires you to want to dedicate so much of your time and energy?
Ritesh: At the start of the channel, I did dab into a lot of games. However, they never really did click with me. Sure, they were fun at first, but none of those titles brought me that joy that Garena’s Free Fire did.
I adore Free Fire’s multiplayer experience, and how it allows me to connect with new players and make friends along the way. Moreover, Free Fire allowed me to get in touch with different kinds of players.
The community base is quite vast, and the friends I used to play with started calling me Villain. Soon, even my folks started calling me that as a gesture of love and appreciation.
Q. You have been a content creator for EsportsXO for some time now. Can you walk us through some of your experiences with the organization?
Ritesh: My experience with EsportsXO has been incredible so far, and I am very lucky to have been working with them for so long.
Q. What are some of the improvements you would like to see in Garena: Free Fire heading into the latter half of 2021?
Ritesh: The game itself is improving at a steady pace with each update. So the changes that I want to see are not with the title but with its esports scene.
I want the Free Fire esports scene in India to grow exponentially and be bigger than what PUBG Mobile used to be before the ban.
Q. With Battlegrounds Mobile India finally getting announced, how much do you feel the mobile esports scene of the region will change once Krafton’s title officially goes live?
Ritesh: I think Battlegrounds Mobile India will cause a second boom for the mobile esports industry in the nation. I am anticipating its launch and cannot wait to try it out when it finally goes live.
Q. How different do you feel BGMI will be compared to PUBGM?
Ritesh: I feel Battlegrounds Mobile India will be very different from what PUBG Mobile was. Through some social media posts, I did learn that Krafton’s upcoming title will start from season 1, so I won’t be surprised if the two titles have a lot of differences.
Q. What’s the future like for Villain Gaming? What can fans of the channel expect to see in the near future?
Ritesh: It’s hard to confirm my future plans for Villain Gaming as of now. However, one thing I can say for certain is that I will keep doing my best to make quality content and become one of the top Free Fire YouTubers in India.
Check our Tokyo Olympics Coverage here!