This is a series of interviews on the intrepid individuals behind the scenes of eSports, on how they get to where they are today, and what advice they have for those seeking to enter the scene.
The eSports Jack-of-All-Trades
Also known as Sodafiz, Afiz is an eSports jockey: He is known for creating Scrimwatch, a community initiative to help Overwatch players to get noticed, get recruited or even form teams with each other.
Recently, he initiated local tournament Blitzbrawl, where teams come together once a week in a tournament setting.
“My priority is to create as much content for Southeast Asia (SEA) players as possible and give people a reason to not just play Overwatch, but to know more about the things around the game.”
Afiz fell in love with the game during the closed beta access.
“It’s probably one of the best games I’ve played in my entire life.”
And he was very public with his new-found love on Facebook, avidly posting Overwatch content. His passion was requited and Blizzard invited him to cast for the Overwatch Launch Weekend event.
People in game started recognizing him after the event.
“That made me feel really good, people actually know who I was and what I did.”
Afiz went on to create Scrimwatch to gather players on a weekly basis to scrim against one another.
“That made me realize that Singapore is damn hungry for a competitive scene.”
Not an Easy Path of Dedication
As an ITE graduate, Afiz had to pick everything up by himself: from Photoshop, Premiere Pro, to streaming platform XSplit. These things are the technical basics of running a tournament event, and he does everything by himself.
However, Afiz knows his own limits and will not overstretch himself.
“I know my capabilities. If I know I won’t be able to do it, I won’t do it. I’m straight to the point. I want people to follow me and to watch me because they like what I’m doing. I feel that’s one of the ways a brand can grow, naturally.”
Afiz is extremely grateful for the amount of support he gets from his friends and the community.
“There are so many people around me that is willing to help me, and I want to work with them because we share the same vision.”
“Cash is always an issue for me, but thankfully, I’ve been blessed by people that always provide me with gear to improve the quality of my content.”
Throughout the interview, Afiz emphasized that his networking skill is something he is still actively working to improve.
“In Singapore, it’s very hard when you’re a nobody. When you’re a nobody and you don’t have any friends who’re somebody, it’s very hard to penetrate the industry.”
ESports in Singapore
To the players: “Keep playing. Don’t focus on drama. Just play. The more you play, the more you improve. the more you improve, the higher rank you get. the higher rank you get, the more you get noticed. It’s basic math.”
To the team and talent management: “Be more positive. Be clear cut with managing your team. Be very clear of what your team can or can’t do. Don’t promise things you can’t give the players. Learn how to get sponsors.”
To partners and organizations: “Everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie. But these organizations, brands and personalities should start collaborating. Be transparent and straightforward.”
However, Afiz feels that there is not enough support to contributors for the eSports scene in Singapore. Singaporeans tend to take things for granted and lack enthusiasm. Afiz’s simple solution to improve the current situation is for Singaporeans to support each other more.
How to Start?
Afiz trained to cast by watching streams with the sound turned off, and talking as if he was the one streaming. It may sound silly but it is effective for Afiz. You just have to keep learning. There is nothing anyone cannot do, it is just a matter of effort and attitude.
“Find your expertise. What can you do? What is your niche?”
Afiz is open to brainstorming with anyone looking to get into the scene and is willing to help.
“Do more. If you are someone who is starting from scratch, do more. Create events. If you don’t how to create, learn. Don’t know where to learn? Ask. Nobody to ask? Google or YouTube!”
“Don’t worry about the returns. Just keep doing it, and people will notice. And the returns will come eventually. If you want to do it, do it. Don’t make excuses.”
Edited by: Yata