Social Ketchup Ed, Mrinil Mathur Rajwani converses with 19-year-old leading gaming influencer, Techno Gamerz aka Ujjwal Chaurasia.
During the COVID-19 induced lockdown, the digital gaming industry saw a boom that redefined online gaming as a source of entertainment. 2020 was a milestone year for this industry and it grew to a size of ₹90 billion from ₹62 billion in 2019, clocking 45+% growth, according to Statista. The surge in mobile and digital gaming is a result of the growing need for virtual entertainment and interaction opportunities with family, friends, and peers, especially last year during the lockdown. The popularity of gaming creators hiked investments and brand associations, taking the sector to a new height. On the one hand, when games like PubG and AmongUs became mainstream among gamers, the industry also saw exponential growth of gaming creators and streamers who now have an insane fan following and are truly ruling YouTube and other social media platforms aka Techno Gamerz or Ujjwal Chaurasia.
A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to do an Instagram LIVE with Techno Gamerz, and it resulted in 48 hours of calls, texts, and DMs seeking a chance to speak to him. All they wanted is a chance to meet this creator they follow and adore. That’s when I realized that there’s more to the industry than what meets the eye. There’s a dire need to unfold the stories of these gaming creators and what makes this domain so special.
Techno Gamerz recently hit the 20 M subscribers mark on YouTube and we spoke to 19-year-old Ujjwal Chaurasia and our September Edition Cover Person to better understand the gaming content ecosystem and what led to his popularity.
Mrinil Mathur: What made you start creating gaming content?
Ujjwal Chaurasia aka Techno Gamerz: It all started by being a consumer of gaming and tech content on YouTube. I was 15 back then, and I did not have any roadmap as to whether or not I want to be a gaming content creator or YouTuber. I’ve always loved playing games, and I did that whenever my brother, Ankit, handed over his phone to me during my free time. I started playing high-end video games on a generic smartphone, I had figured out a hack to do so. My friends got to this, and they found it super cool and asked me to help them with it. That is when I created my first content on YouTube, and soon the video started floating among school friends and kids groups. I slowly started uploading more videos about anything and everything, and one day my brother came across this channel. I was nervous that he may complain at home, but luckily he was the one who saw the potential in me and further encouraged me to pursue my passion. He is the one who showed me the direction; he asked me to find my niche and create content on a specific genre and not post random stuff on the channel. I gradually started developing a strong affinity for online games. I had gained quite a substantial amount of knowledge about different games. My brother then seeded the idea of starting a dedicated gaming channel on YouTube. And I thought, why not? That was how Techno Gamerz came to be. I primarily started the channel for my friends to impart all the knowledge I had acquired from playing so much. Little did I know, the channel would get so much traction and increase my subscriber base to thousands, and later millions. Since then, I’ve been smitten by the gaming content bug.
MM: What was the thought behind naming your channel Techno Gamerz?
TG: Techno Gamerz was initially started with the thought of creating and sharing technology and gaming content. But soon, the craze for gaming took over as creating tech videos involved a lot of investment. But I couldn't have talked about technology products without using them, and I didn't have enough money to keep on purchasing new products and creating videos. That was not a sustainable option for me. Hence, I moved my focus to gaming as playing games on the phone didn't require any money.
MM: What, according to you, went right for you that resulted in 20M subscribers on YouTube and 1.5M on Instagram? Which one worked as the game-changing video for you?
TG: Keeping it real is the best way to create engaging content and I believe that has worked for me. This one basic belief seems to work wonders for me! Also, when you use anecdotes from your life, your content becomes very relatable to your audience. They feel like a part of you and vice versa. So yes, keeping it real is my mantra!
When I started my journey, Dragon Ball Z was a popular game. I thought about creating content for Dragon Ball Z fans. For the first few months, I focused on only one game, Dragon Ball Z. I joined various WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups to promote my videos. I also started adding a Hindi voice-over on these videos. And within 4 months, I earned 1,000 subscribers. This video changed everything for me and this milestone is closest to my heart so far.
MM: How does branded content creation work in the gaming industry?
TG: Unlike videos of other creators, gaming creators have videos lasting longer than 30 minutes to an hour. Therefore there’s an opportunity to showcase a product or brand for a larger screen-time. Interestingly, post the pandemic, many endemic and non-endemic brands have started showing interest in partnering with gamers. However, I believe it’s the smart integration of products depending upon the audience demographics in the long gameplay videos that helps brands get better reach. With more than 50% of the audience being kids and young adults, gamers need to promote brands that may benefit their audience, not themselves. Currently, many streaming apps, tech brands, and FMCG brands have started sponsoring live streams and gameplay videos.
MM: 2020 has been the year when your channel saw massive growth. Do you think revealing your face to the audience helped you?
TG: 2020 was revolutionary for the gaming industry, and interestingly many gamers saw a 3-5X growth or jump. I have an interesting story about my face reveal though. Soon after my Dragon Ball Z video, my viewership went from 100s to 1000s, and that day I was on cloud nine! And just like that, I hit 4 million subscribers. I went to attend a gaming event which I will never forget because I’d never felt like such an outcast before. Despite acquiring a subscriber base of 4 million, no one, literally, no one seemed to recognize me. And then it dawned upon me that I’d never revealed my face! It was then that I decided to change my strategy and start making interactive videos where I’m talking to my subscribers. That increased my follower base further.
Happy Birthday, Ujjwal! Thank you for entertaining us with your content!
You can download the complete interview with Social Ketchup Magazine here.