New Delhi is gearing up to host one of the biggest Battle Royale leagues the country has ever witnessed. 12 teams from across the country will battle it out at the Siri Fort in the grand finale of Free Fire India Today League on October 12.
Young minds from across the country have teamed up to battle for a winning pool of Rs 3.5m. More importantly, winning team will represent India in Free Fire in the global tournament called Free Fire World Series in November.
Having arrived in the city well ahead of the final, teams are preparing for the big day. 48 players from 12 teams also have an opportunity to get to know the faces behind the virtual names that they had been quite familiar with.
With mobile gaming becoming popular across the globe, youngsters in the country are taking to eSports seriously than ever before. In fact, India had sent a eSports contingent to Asian Games wherein 6 games were introduced as demonstrations sport. eSports will feature as medal events in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games to be held in the Philippines in December.
Shahid Malek, an HR manager, who juggles between his busy work life and eSports career, certainly knows a thing or two about the potential of eSports as career options. Malek will be in action in Saturday’s final as he will represent Team Mossaad in the Free Fire India Today League.
While his parents were initially reluctant to let their son sit with his mobile phone hours together playing Free Fire, success in major tournaments and the recognition that comes with it has helped change their mindset.
“The 1st year, we used to play for close to 6, 7 hours a day. These days, since I am working, I play 1-2 hours a day and that after work,” Shahid Malek tells indiatoday.in.
“Last time, we visited Jakarta. My parents are trusting us. They are seeing future for us in this. E-spots, in India, is on the rise. I represented India in Jakarta last time — Asia invitationals.”
Vidhur Sharma, a civil engineer, who will represent Hawk’s Gaming in Saturday’s final says his parents are supporting their interest in eSports.
“I was totally addicted to this game. I used to play 23-24 hours a day without closing the day. When we started playing, my parents were like ‘What’s this what is wrong with you?’,” Vihdur Sharma says.
While Free Fire India Today League has become a huge success, players want more exposure with many such tournaments in India to make sure they give their best at the international level.
“We want more tournaments like this in India. This is the first time we are having a tournament like this, of this magnitude in India. In countries like Indonesia, almost every week they are having a Free Fire tournament. We want more such tournaments in India. We want to focus 100 percent for this,” Malek adds.
It’s going to be a big battle for the top spot. Prize money, personal glory and recognition is up for grabs in the Free Fire India Today League. However, the players are more excited than nervous to be part of something historic at the Siri Fort this weekend.
“In India, it’s the first time we are getting a studio set-up for the final. There is going to be a big crowd watching us play. This is certainly a step in the right direction,” Malek says.