Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG), the brand behind the popular ROG gaming phone series, has announced the launch of the Asus ROG Academy in India. The competitive Esports training initiative will be India’s first virtual academy programme for upcoming gamers who are looking to be professionals.
Through the initiative, Asus ROG will identify PC gamers through a screening process, and the selected individuals will be provided the necessary equipment, coaching, and even a stipend to prepare them for competitive Esport tournaments on a national, as well as international level.
“With ROG Academy, we aim to be able to provide a platform for the young generation to see what kind of opportunities are there in the gaming industry,” Arnold Su, Business Head, Asus India, told indianexpress.com during an interview. Su suggests that the way both gamers and parents look at gaming is changing and that Esports will soon be a part of bigger events like the Olympics in the coming years.
Su also shared that “the count of online gamers in India grew by 31 percent in 2019 and reached approximately 365 million. As per a FICCI- EY report on the media and entertainment industry, the numbers is expected to reach 440 million by 2022
Which games will players be trained for in the ROG Academy?
As part of the initial quarterly phase, Asus ROG Academy will be looking at Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO). However, the brand is planning to eventually look at other titles as well.
Nishant Patel, Co-Founder, AFK Gaming, also explains why ROG Academy began with the Counter-Strike series first through the programme. “Counter-Strike is a 20-year-old series,” Patel shares explaining the stability and significance of CS: GO in the Esports scenario.
“In India, there is some predictability of a calendar that this ROG Academy team will be able to compete in once they’ve gone through the training regimen so that that’s why Counter-Strike was a very obvious choice for the programme, to begin with,” Patel adds.
How will Asus ROG Academy work?
As part of the initiative, Asus ROG will launch a year-long programme, divided into four quarterly sessions. The shortlisted players and teams will go through multiple rounds of selection, and six selected individuals will become part of a 3-month long session for the first quarter. The selection process will be overseen by a panel consisting of representatives from Asus ROG, various partners, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)
“The training curriculum will be five days a week, twice a day with one session in the morning and one in the evening,” shares Prabhakar, who also shares that the lessons and training will be based on elements picked up from some of the best competitive teams in Southeast Asia and across the world.
The programme will include activities ranging from theory and individual skill training to coach mentorship and training on elements like teamwork. Players will also be trained on higher-level concepts and strategies used in competitive gaming. Various exercises will be tailored to the individual skillset of the players and the competition they are training for.
What will applicants obtain from the programme?
Asus ROG will be providing the final team of six players an Ex-Gratia of Rs 1,00,000. Additionally, players will also receive a stipend of Rs 15,000 on a monthly basis during the training period. The selected six players will also be representing Asus ROG for an additional 3 months through the while participating in any subsequent tournaments or events.
How and when can you apply?
The brand will be taking in registrations for the ROG Academy programme from Feb 1, 2021, till Feb 10, 2021. Interested individuals will need to be at least 16 years of age to apply for the programme. Those aged between 16 and 18 will also need to provide a consent letter from their parents to participate in the programme.
The screening process will be held soon after the conclusion of the registration phase. Interested gamers can sign themselves up at https://asus.in/ROG-academy/
Why India needs initiatives targeted at Esports
Despite plenty of talent, issues like lack of the right infrastructure and the social stigma around gaming as a career option are what stops a lot of gamers from looking at Esports as a serious profession.
Prashant Prabhakar, CEO, SoStronk, an Esports gaming startup, refers to the issue with competitive gaming in India to be a “knowledge-gap”. “It’s not that we don’t have talented players; We have always had talented players, but we’ve never really approached practice the right way in a professional setting and approached it from a data-driven context,” he explains.
Prashant adds that the ROG Academy programme will train gamers “not just from inside the game, but from outside the game as well,” pointing at factors like building up mental endurance and mental fortitude, and the physical strength required for long Esports tournament hours.