#PlayerStories – Fighting the Odds & Following Her Passion W/ Shagufta Iqbal

With the rising value of eSports industry in India, more and more players are making it to the hall of fame. It is needless to say that female participation is also increasing in this arena, diminishing the barriers and obstacles with their great feats of achievement. As a matter of fact, a research carried out by Sportskeeda shows that 32% gamers in India are women. This is just the first step of a one long journey taken up by female eSports players to elevate their status in this line

Today, we present you a woman who is one of the most proactive trekker of this expedition of reaching the hall of fame, Shagufta Iqbal. Being a hard core CS:GO gamer, she has represented the nation in multiple eSports events which gives many a feeling of pride and at the same time makes many gaze at her success.

Let’s have a look at her journey!

 Plunge into Gaming

“My name is Shagufta Iqbal but I am more popularly known as ‘xyaa’ in the community. I am a full-time Software engineer and part-time streamer. I have been a gamer all my life. What started as a hobby became a very vital part of my life, so much that I am hoping to be able to do this full-time. Apart from gaming, I absolutely love cats.

My earliest memory of gaming has to be me playing Adventure Island or Duck Hunt on my console with my sister.

Right now, I am obsessed with PUBG. I also play alot of Overwatch when I’m not playing PUBG. Also, trying to get the hang of Fortnite but building is just too hard.

I used to watch alot of twitch streamers. I got inspired and started my own youtube channel but that didn’t go too well so I stopped. Later I was approached by GamingMonk to do a casual stream on their youtube. That was probably the best decision of my life. I had a lot of fun and once the stream was over, I just couldn’t wait to stream again. So I created a twitch and started streaming and there was only going up, everybody who came in to watch was so supportive and warm! I was making friends through streaming and I really loved it. I stream almost daily now”

Balancing Work & Passion

“Finding time to stream after working 12 hours a day gets really tough! Juggling between work and gaming puts alot of stress on you. I used to push myself alot before by working insane hours and then streaming everyday which became too hectic for me and I ended up taking long breaks because I got very tired. From my experience I’ve learnt that you can’t do everything at once, you need to give yourself some off time so your mind can refresh. So I do take 1 day or 2 day breaks from streaming every week so that I can rest and freshen up my brain”

Message to other girls in the field

Yes gender is sort of a big deal and girls do get alot of flak just for being girls. Remarks lashing preferential treatment in gaming are bound to put you down. Keep your head up & don’t let it bother you.

You need to look past that and keep doing what you’re doing because in the end, it doesn’t matter what everyone says as long as it makes you happy.

Vision of eSports in India


The onset of Optic Gaming in India does look very promising for the eSports scene in the country. India is finally getting recognition. There are also alot of big brands investing in esports in the country. With every passing year, the prizepool and the number of events is increasing. The future does look bright. With such remarkable talent India indeed has a bright future, the only way is up. Despite the shilly-shally around gaming, I feel the field has a lot of potential, take a plunge and lay down your path!
To Follow Shagufta : –
  1. Twitch: twitch.tv/xyaa
  2. Instagram: instagram.com/shaguftax


#BreakingTheMyth – Akanksha Sachan on Being a Girl Gamer

Gaming as a profession has been constantly looked down in the country. Gaming in general has had it’s fair issues of struggle, often regarded as a hobby to fritter away with one’s time, a get-away from studies causing poor grades. NOT TRUE! (95% in Boards W/ Dark Souls & Witcher 3) Luckily, to our favour, times have changed.

From what was deemed as “just another hobby”, a time killer, is now a full-time job. People are making millions off it, be it players or organisers. Women are advancing into Gaming/eSports which was initially perceived as a male exclusive avenue. Let’s have a look at Akanksha’s Journey as she breaks the stereotype surrounding girl gamers in India.

Q. Tell us something about yourself? 

“Primarily I am a Cosplayer. I was in love with gaming because all gaming characters had amazing costumes and that made me admire them. I have been Cosplaying since 2010 and that is partly the reason I got into fashion designing. It was gaming. It was the elaborate designs that made me want to be those characters that I saw on screen. I remember my first costume. The first time I saw myself in the mirror; I was exceptionally proud of what I had done

For most of my time in gaming, I remained casual. I played more to learn about game characters and not to compete or to take it too seriously. Cosplay was still my primary focus. The played MOBA’s such as LOL and FPS games from time to time. But at that time I didn’t take gaming too seriously.

Nearly a year ago, I got myself a new Gaming PC . And I guess that’s when things have changed the most. I now had to tools to take gaming more seriously; and the best part was that I didn’t have to compromise. I have a team and an amazing boss that supports my career as a Cosplayer.

Slowly but steadily I’ve grown as a gamer and things are looking bright from here on out. I’m sure that there will be more challenges ahead as there are today but now I’m confident that I can face them”

Q. When did you start gaming?

“I got my first computer in 2008 and I guess that’s when I played my first game(not counting those Cassettes day on Gameboys). I still remember getting to know the controls while playing ‘Project IGI’. I was hooked. I think for someone to be passionate about gaming, you have to start young. That is the time when it can really leave an impact; as it did with me.”

Q. What all games do you play?

I like to play PUBG , Tekken and other variety of games but I love  ‘League of Legends’.

Q. When did you start streaming?

Mostly it was through popular demands of my followers that repeatedly asked me to do this. So I gave it a chance and it was very well received. Thanks to all of that, I think I’m going to explore more of what i can do in streaming.

Q. Have you faced any difficulties pursuing gaming as your passion?

Most of the difficulties that I have faced have been monetary, I didn’t have much support from my family but they were never against it. They supported me as a Cosplayer, even when they didn’t really know what it was. I make a decent amount of money now and I’m surrounded with people that support me. Actually I would call myself lucky.

Q. Your journey has been truly inspirational, what advice would you like to give to budding girl gamers? 

To anyone who’s looking to make it in the gaming industry; just make sure that you surround yourself with positive energy. There are a lot of things and people that would for some reason pull you down. We all love to watch a train wreck but make sure that you’re not such a spectacle. Be known for good; and at the same time be ready to face the worst.

Gaming is supposed to be progressive and accepting of everyone but unfortunately that is not the case once you take the first step into the deep end of the pool. I had to face a lot of this until I met up with the right people, people that genuinely want to have fun and get better at gaming at the same time. Even after all the adversities, I got through it & I can only see good things lined-up for the future.

Q. eSports is growing worldwide, what do you think about the eSports situation in our country?

In my time working with Acro, I’ve been able to see the growth that gaming industry has seen in India. The last five years in particular have been very constructive; and we’re all very certain that the numbers will keep on improving. What everyone needs to understand is that Rome wasn’t built in a day; things will take time.