A personality who has really blown onto the PUBG Mobile scene in India, this year, is Angad Singh Chahal or as he is more popularly known as, The Exper1ment. While there seems to be a dearth of English casters, especially in the PUBG Mobile scene currently, Angad has carved out a name and space for himself as he has been one of the primary English talent in the PUBG Mobile India Tour. We sit down with The Exper1ment to get his take on shifting from playing competitively to being caster, his journey and learnings in esports and his take on all things PUBG Mobile.
Hey Angad! Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what you’ve been up to lately?
Hey guys! I’m Angad Singh Chahal and I’m 29 years old. For the last year or so, I’ve been into this whole PUBG Mobile scene in India that has erupted and I’ve primarily been casting in English. I’m also currently in the process of getting my MBBS complete.
Being a 29-year old, you obviously didn’t start off with mobile gaming. So what got you into gaming?
I started off gaming as a casual gamer, ever since I was a kid. I got my first console when I was 9 or 10 years old, which was a Playstation back in 1999 or 2000 and I was hooked. In 2006, I really got into the PC gaming culture because there was a huge cafe scene back in the day. I started with Dota and Counter-Strike 1.6 and I was one of the kids who would stay in the cafe for 10-12 hours a day. We played some small local tournaments and stuff every other week but as a concept Esports wasn’t really a thing. I think it was about the time YouTube also started booming but at the time there wasn’t enough awareness.
Seems like a very familiar story for many gamers. So what about Esports? When did you hear about esports and were you watching other esports before PUBG Mobile?
I knew about esports, through YouTube and stuff and I did follow some of the big BYOC LANs but in India the scene was so small to be honest. The scene started growing from about 2012 onwards but that was a phase of my life when I was a bit phased out and I was busy figuring out different aspects of my life. But yea I did know about the esports scene, especially in Europe where it was kind of big and I did have some friends who were playing professionally as well.
And when did you start playing PUBG Mobile and what attracted you to the game?
I started playing PUBG Mobile completely by accident to be honest. It was somewhere around season 2 and one of my friends asked me to try it out. Initially, I was hesitant and I didn’t want to play a first-person shooter on a mobile device. But I tried it and was instantly hooked.
Ok so before you actually started casting this year, you have had some competitive experience as well. Tell us a bit about how you went from playing to casting.
In esports, I started off as a player and I played the first big PUBG Mobile tournament which was PMIS in 2018. After that, I tried doing the YouTube grind for a bit. But it didn’t really work out in the sense that my content didn’t connect with what the audience wanted in India. But sometime earlier this year, I found casting and it kind of fit into what I was looking for. I mean, I love talking and gaming and when you combine the two together, it made for a great combination.
Why did you choose to not purse playing competitively?
In terms of the competitive scene, I did participate in the first big tournament which was PMIS in 2018. But that eventually didn’t work out. I think the main reason for that is that people were not willing to invest time and effort. Players were not sticking together and to be very fair they still aren’t. I know so many kids who are playing and they lose a match and they start pointing fingers. And personally I also couldn’t dedicate that much time to the game so yea I made the conscious decision to step down from the competitive side of things. I think initially I decided that I would stay away from competitive PUBG Mobile till December of this year and then see where I stand. But then this casting opportunity opened up and opened up a whole new door for me.
When and how did you get your first casting gig?
So how I started was that one day out of the blue, someone asked me to host a few customs. I asked them what was I expected to do and they told me, to watch the match and commentate on it. And somehow, the people enjoyed it and I enjoyed it and fortunately PUBG Mobile asked me to do the Jaipur LAN. And yea I was a bit shaky at first but I’ve managed to learn over time.
Was it difficult when you started out as a caster? What did you do to bring something unique to the table?
One thing which is important if you want to cast is that you have to be outgoing. Initially, I too was a bit reserved even though I am not an introvert. But fortunately, even before casting I was on the stage at PMIS so I knew what the players were going through. I also had a connect with the players so I could talk to them and learn more about them.
So yea, doing a bit of homework on the players helped me add a bit of depth to the casts. Sure play by play is one aspect but just adding that extra bit of spice and information, which the audience probably didn’t know helped.
So you’ve been casting with Bleh and Asurai for the most part? What have you learnt from them?
I have learnt so much from my co-casters as well. Bleh obviously has so much experience and he has done so many LANs, even internationally. So yea he knows so much and it really helped. He helped me with how to build up momentum and hype. Also, I was fortunate to work with people who don’t have massive egos. And I really enjoy casting with Asurai as well and I look forward to casting with him again.
Now that you have been casting for a bit, do you plan to make it into a full-time career?
As far as a full-time gig goes, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to do it full time. But I do understand, that casting is not about just talking. You have to offer something fresh and new and not be repetitive. But yea let’s see how the Kolkata LAN goes but still, I am giving this some thought, if I’m being honest.
In terms of casting, are you planning to stick to just one title or are you open to exploring other options as well?
If you’re going to cast for a particular title, you must have some in depth knowledge about it. But then again, the reality is that you need to have some variety and need to diversify a little to actually get work. If you are an established personality, then you can probably pick and choose but when you are trying to get up there it’s important to be open-minded. Like even Bleh, for example, he is primarily a Counter-Strike caster but when he shifted to PUBG Mobile, he had to spend time playing and understanding it before he could do the event.
Personally I am definitely not going to hold myself to a single game. CS:GO is one game that I have been watching a lot. I would really like to try my hand at it. And if I had to move out of the shooter genre I do want to try some Dota as well since I do have some background in it. But barring esports, ideally, I would really like to cast some real sports as well. That would be a dream come true for me.
Do you think being an English caster in India puts you at a disadvantage?
In a way, yes. One of the most frequent comments I get is ‘Hindi bol’ (Speak in Hindi). I understand that the majority of the country wants Hindi casts but that’s the beauty of our country. There are a lot of folks who don’t speak in Hindi as well and a lot of people seem to have a grasp on English. So yea, it is a bit like two sides of the same coin. There are some pros and cons.
There is an enjoyment factor to it as well, in the sense that I enjoy what I’m doing and I want to keep doing it and hope for the best.
What are your thoughts on the results that the Indian teams have had internationally?
If you compare the Indian teams to some of the teams like the Chinese ones who have been dominating, I think the key factor is work ethic. What I feel is that all our boys have immense skill and sure you have bad days and good days, but what happens on the stage is mainly work ethic, focus and mental discipline. But I still think the way things have gone is good and hopefully, in the upcoming tournaments, we’ll do even better. Nowadays teams are doing bootcamps which I think will definitely help with communication as well as some of the finer things which will make them stronger.
If you could change one thing about the PUBG Mobile India community what would it be?
If there’s one thing I think it would be to give the small guys a chance. I think we are a country of untapped talent and there are so many kids who are willing to put in the effort and time and they have the drive as well. I’m not taking away anything from anyone because everyone has worked hard to be where they are but I feel it’s important to shine a spotlight on the smaller guys as well. Exposure will really help us right now. Right now if we keep highlighting the people who have already made it then it will be hard for new people to come up. Sure it makes sense from a business perspective but we do need to work on the other thing as well. I’m sure you’re aware of some of the toxicity in the community and stuff and people are told to pick sides. But the only way to grow as a community is to provide everyone with an equal platform so that they can shine.
What would be your advice to the people who want to get into casting?
So my first advice is simple - Know your game. The second thing I would like to emphasize is to give your own flair and twist to it. Play by play is fine but if you’re just calling out what everyone can see, you are adding very less value. So yea try and talk about what the teams could have done and just add a unique perspective whenever possible. Also, it’s very important to go back and study and watch your own casts and try and find out where you went wrong. Without doing that you can’t really grow.