Asus ROG Academy: Season 4 coach Simar ‘Psy’ Sethi talks about Esports, his new role, and the pandemic

Asus India recently signed professional Valorant esports professional Simar ‘Psy’ Sethi as the coach for Season 4 of ROG Academy. India Today gaming got a chance to chat with Psy about a multitude of topics. Let's check everything we discussed here.

Gaming hardware giant Asus recently announced the start of Season 4 of its three-month-long boot camp, ROG Academy. The company first opened registrations for Season 4 back in December 2021 and received more than 1800 applications. It has signed notable professional esports player, Simar ‘Psy’ Sethi as the coach for the latest season. For some context, Psy is an Esports veteran in the Indian esports ecosystem. He started his journey with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) back in 2013 and later switched to Valorant.

Psy brings a wealth of experience through years in the competitive landscape both on the national as well as the international stage. During his competitive years, Psy won multiple awards while representing teams like Entity Gaming, Team Brutality, Entity Blue, and more. His experience and hard work enabled him to win the “Best Player of India” award back in 2016.

Right before Psy commenced on his new journey as a coach, India Today Gaming got a chance to talk to him. During the conversation, we covered a multitude of topics ranging from the obvious such as Esports to other less obvious aspects. These include coaching in Asus ROG Academy, the transition from an esports player into the role of a caster and coach, differences in the esports ecosystem now, and the impact of the pandemic. Esports fans and readers can find the complete interview below:

Q: How excited are you to join ROG Academy as the coach for Season 4? What is the one thing that you are looking forward to with the upcoming season?

A: Being part of the ROG Academy is an exciting opportunity for me, both personally and professionally. I am looking forward to mentoring and training the finalists of this season to help them reach new heights by making them very strong contenders in the Indian Valorant scene. I'm stoked to be able to share my experience and insights with emerging talents. And when the time comes for them to leave the academy and move on with their journey, I hope to see them grow together as a team and as players individually.

Q: Could you share a brief of your strategy in helping improve the ROG Academy team this season? Or what are the three most basic things that you generally focus on during the training?

A: For this season, the main focus areas are going to be individual growth and training the players to work together as a unit. Ensuring sync amongst the players is a must. Additionally, helping players make the right decisions in-game, especially the IGL and the filter is also of utmost priority. I will definitely devote some special sessions for these two roles.

Q: On a personal level, how has the transition been for you to move from a professional esports player to a content creator and a caster?

A: Being a content creator and a player are both roles that I am familiar with, therefore, I wouldn’t say it has been a complete transition. As much as I love competing professionally, I also enjoy interacting with my community and streaming. I'm definitely looking forward to being back in the professional scene and I am optimistic that my stint as the coach for the ROG Academy will help me grow as much as it helps the players.

Asus ROG Academy Season 4 Banner

Q: From your days as a pro player, what changes have you seen in the Indian esports ecosystem? What more do you wish could change in the future?

A: I started my journey all the way back in 2015 and it's safe to say that the professional e-sports ecosystem has grown leaps and bounds since then. There's more stability, opportunities, as well as platforms that provide support and empower e-sports players. If there was one thing that I could change, I would urge more e-sports enthusiasts and players to not just conquer the Indian e-sports industry but to push themselves harder and conquer the global or international e-sports arena as well.

Q: How has the pandemic affected the Indian esports industry in your view? What changes or trends can we expect in 2022?

A: As the world battles the odds of the pandemic, most tournaments are now taking place online. The pandemic has resulted in increased consumption of digital content, and this has helped a lot of creators like me, providing us with a pool of new opportunities. Over the last few years, we have witnessed tremendous growth in the Indian e-sports ecosystem, and we'll soon see younger talent rise up to take the Indian esports scene forward in not just Valorant but all titles. Personally, I love playing on the stage and in front of crowds so I really hope that we can all be back on the ground safely soon.

Asus ROG Academy Season 4 starts

We also took the chance to speak with Arnold Su, Business Head, Consumer and Gaming PC, System Business Group at ASUS India about ROG Academy Season 4, association with Psy, and more.

Q: How excited are you about the association between Asus ROG Academy and Psy? What other big names could we look forward to in the future? What other games would ROG Academy focus on in the future?

A: The ROG Academy Program is an important program we initiated precisely to interact with budding gamers and to provide them with a concrete platform they deserve. With an experienced coach like Psy onboard, we are really looking to elevate the experience of the current roster. He is a veteran player who has experience across 2 titles and has represented the region multiple times over the years. His knowledge and guidance are invaluable to the program and him being a respectable figure in the community makes it even better.

We really want to focus on one season at a time and take things as they come. There are a lot of variables to consider so it won't be right to comment on names at the moment. However, at the moment we are in the process of lining up some notable pro teams to come and conduct sessions with the current crop of players.

We started with CS: GO but in India and even though the player base is big, the number of tournaments, pro teams, and sponsors have seen a sharp dip. On the other hand, Valorant has been the go-to title for FPS enthusiasts, and we are seeing the emergence of a thriving community of pro players, content creators, organizations. All of this is backed up by capital from various sponsors and tournament organizers with Riot Games themselves actively taking charge of the ecosystem. But we are always on the lookout for new opportunities, platforms, and communities. The BR genre is something that interests us but for us to make the program successful, there needs to be an underlying structure and existing stakeholders in place.

Editors Note: The interview took place over email and the text has been lightly edited for clarity.