Ronodeep Dasgupta aka Rony is a popular YouTuber and streamer with over two million subscribers on his YouTube channels, The RawKnee Games and The RawKnee Show. Network18 Digital Videos Head Ragini Verma holds a freewheeling discussion with him at Tech2 Innovate where he explains how life has changed after becoming a full-time streamer, the discipline required to make it a career, and how he deals with frustration.
They also discuss career opportunities in gaming beyond streaming and casting, and Rony reveals how he met Gotiya.
Below is the entire conversation:
Editor’s note: Some responses have been edited for brevity and style.
Ragini: Firstly, good afternoon to all of you and thank you to all for being with us at Tech2 Innovate. As you all know, 2019 has been a fabulous year for India and gaming. India became the fifth largest country when it comes to the online mobile category and with that has come huge audiences and hordes of players, and we have some really big stars. It is my pleasure today to have them join us today at Tech2 Innovate. Today we have Ronodeep Dasgupta a.k.a. Rony.
Ragini: You started Rawknee Games much after The Rawknee Show. But, when you met us you were hoping that The Rawknee Show would cross the one million mark before your gaming channel, but The Rawknee Games did that first. Do you think gaming content has brought you more success than the roasting one?
Rony: Somewhat yes, because I think gaming blew up in India last year and actually, it’s true, gaming has done more for me than roasting. But, both are close to my heart. Roasting is much more closer to my heart than the gaming part.
Ragini: You’ve done quite well for yourself and have earned a lot of love as well as money. So, how has life changed after gaming?
Rony: I have changed a lot. The best thing that has changed after gaming is that back in the day, when I wanted to play games, I was like “Mom, only one more game, after that I will end it.” But now I don’t have to do it. My mom is like “Why aren’t you streaming? Go do it. What are you doing? Go play games.” So that’s what has changed.
Ragini: You must not have thought it would ever happen.
Rony: Yup. My relatives, particularly my grandmother, think I develop games. She has no idea, she thinks I make games. If somebody asks my grandmother what your grandson does for a living, she says he does something on the computer.
Ragini: Because playing is not work.
Rony: Exactly, playing games is not work.
Ragini: You have not just one, but two channels, and to sustain and grow one is itself an uphill task. What kind of motivation does it take to do it day in and day out? Are there days of frustration or even insecurity, for that matter?
Rony: I do get frustrated. I have two different channels, I have to research for one channel, I have to livestream for the other channel. But the biggest motivation that keeps me going every day and night is these guys (my audience). Whenever I upload the videos and get comments, like ‘Bhai mazaa aa gaya’ (this was a lot of fun).
Sometimes I meet some people who come up to me and say I watched your video when I was in depression or when I was really, really sad. Because I went through a really dark moment in my life before. Two people helped me, that’s Ellen and The Rock. Knowing that I am doing something for somebody in that situation keeps me going. Even if I’m frustrated, that’s that one little thing I have to do. You’re making someone’s day better, that makes everything better. All the pain you’re going through fades away.
Ragini: Rony, your stated mission in life is to spread joy, which primarily means you have to don a character to entertain your audiences. So, how different is Rony from Ronodeep Dasgupta.
Rony: It is not that different actually, to be honest.
Rony: I was the clown of the class. I would make everybody laugh. I was the guy who would be outside the staffroom every week because I am doing something or the other, getting punished. So, I think that is what is followed up here. There was a difference, back then I had just one class and now, I have a lot of people to entertain on the internet. This is all that’s changed.
Ragini: So you made your personality your profession?
Rony: Yeah kind of, you can say that.
Ragini: To a lot of people, they play games to unwind and it is a hobby. Now that you do this as a profession, has it changed how you feel about gaming?
Rony: No, I think if you don’t like what you are playing, then it becomes a drain on you. If you like what you are playing, it is not a job. You are playing games with your friends, you’re having fun.
Ragini: Tell us about how you keep your lifestyle healthy, because gaming addiction is a known concern. I have personally met some boys addicted to gaming. There are also lifestyle issues, whether mental or physical, that can come out of it. Where do you draw the line?
Rony: Here’s what I do. I have fixed timings that this is the time to play and this is the time to not play. Back in the day, I used to play a lot. I used to stream in the evening, I used to play all night. I used to wake up and keep playing, that affected the work I was doing.
I have developed a schedule and I stick to it, eventually my body adapts. Now, I know I have to play from say 7.30 pm, have my dinner, and then go back to my work. After dinner, if I start to play, I don’t feel like playing the game, it’s like I am playing the game, but I am not enjoying what I am playing. My body has gotten used to it and now I have to stick to it. You have to make a schedule and stick to it. This is the most important thing.
Ragini: There is an opportunity to play, participate in the e-sports category. What kind of other career options in gaming do you think are there for people? Something that was unheard of in gaming, let’s say in 2017.
Rony: Actually, I think there are a lot of career options out there. You can create a new career option. A career is basically something that earns you money and I will say money is everywhere. If you can find that one thing that can get you money, it is a career option.
There are so many things, like casting. Now, as esports is getting better, we need lots of technical people to work in the backend, people who are good at spectating. There is this new job called spectators. They do nothing, just sit down in front of the computer. A spectator who works in the backend, he just starts playing the game, sits in front of the computer and watches players, so that’s his job. Then there is a guy who handles esports — analysts. If you are really good at the game, and you know how much damage a grenade can do, how many bullets does it take to kill a guy with a helmet, level three helmet, you can be an analyst. It also is a job.
Ragini: There is lots that has happened and changed in the space of gaming and I think people can genuinely see it as a career.
Rony: The problem is that when people look at gaming, they only look at YouTubers, they don’t look at other things. There are so many things. There are also managers right now. People need to manage. Teams need to be managed. So, if there is an esports team and someone needs to take care of the team, to manage what is happening with the team, who is going where, when and what match, what tournament and event. There are lots of options.
Ragini: Before we wrap this up, I have to ask, what’s the story behind how you met Gotiya?
Rony: So one day, actually it is a very long story, so I will make it short, I was walking on the street and I came back home and realised there was somebody with me and I thought he would go back eventually, but he did not and stuck with me. I made a new friend, so he lives next door. He has a small little room, very tiny. He lives there and does everything there.
Ragini: Side Effects of gaming.
Rony: Gotiya existed before gaming.
Ragini: Oh, really?
Rony: Actually no, gaming.
Ragini: Around the same time?
Rony: True… true, gaming.
Ragini: Tell me about this obsession with Spawn island?
Rony: So here is this thing, Spawn Island is free loot, nobody comes there to fight, you find a flare gun and you actually find good loot.
Ragini: So why doesn’t he (Aditya Sawant a.k.a Dynamo) go there? He refused to go to Spawn Island.
Aditya: Because there is only one loot. Only a person’s loot remains there. Right?
Rony: What is it?
Aditya: You can’t get loot for all the players.
Rony: It is there bhai, what do you do? I have looted for the whole squad.
Aditya: I have never seen this thing.
Rony: Idiot, the whole squad gets the loot.
Aditya: If you go alone
Rony: Come someday, come someday, I will teach you.
Ragini: Let’s do a Spawn Island session today
Aditya: Let’s go and see what things you get there.
Rony: Not today, some other day.