Arrow is a 19 year old gamer from Pakistan and one of Pakistan’s top players in DOTA. Arrow, whose real name is Muhammad Ahsan Hameed, started playing DOTA recreationally in 2009. After playing for two years, he took a hiatus and then returned to the game in 2015. However, in those short years the gaming industry and societal perceptions of gaming were changing drastically and Arrow had no idea that his hobby was about to take transform his life dramatically.
Since the early 2000’s, the rise of the global gaming industry has been swift. Advancements in internet accessibility and technology have been at the forefront of this acceleration. All of a sudden, games were readily available on any device and easibility in coding and softwares meant more people were making their own games and uploading them to online gaming stores, creating an over saturation in the industry. By the time Arrow returned to gaming in 2016 to participate in the GIKI DOTA event, professional gaming tournaments across Pakistan were on a rise.
As Arrow rapidly rose to become one of the top players in Pakistan’s gaming industry and started to team up with players of the same calibre, he began to progress quicker into the world of professional gaming by participating in the government funded Portal eSports and the Mountain Dew Gamers Arena, the latter being the largest professional gaming event in Pakistan with a turn out of over 10,000 people.
One thing that distinguishes Arrow from other players is his dedication to the cause. He took a gap year to pursue gaming, a decision unheard of in the country, and further attended various gaming bootcamps across the country to refine his gaming skills. Although his dedication to gaming meant that he had to spent time away from his family and friends, Arrow believes the pay-off to be worth it and encourages people and parents in particular not to dismiss their dreams of pursuing gaming at a professional level.
Arrow is not wrong to encourage people not to dismiss this industry. Today, the gaming industry is worth over a hundred billion dollars and is one of the most lucrative fields one can purse, should they be successful that is. This year in the United States, the Fortnite World Cup took place with the winning prize money being 30 million dollars. It will be fascinating to see how the industry changes in the coming year and what future the gaming industry holds for children who dream to be like Arrow.
Perhaps if we were to give gaming the same level of attention we give to cricket, esports might just become the biggest sport in Pakistan.
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