Snapdragon Conquest Free Fire Open: Qualcomm India Prez & VP takes us behind the scenes | Gaming News

Snapdragon Conquest Free Fire Open: Qualcomm India Prez & VP takes us behind the scenes

We spoke to Rajen Vagadia, vice president of Qualcomm India, to learn more about Qualcomm's first ever e-sport tournament. Read on… 

| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 13:32 IST
Snapdragon Conquest Free Fire Open 2020 is open for all Indian residents older than 12 and only other criteria is that you need to have a Garena Free Fire account that is above level 10 to be eligible.
Snapdragon Conquest Free Fire Open 2020 is open for all Indian residents older than 12 and only other criteria is that you need to have a Garena Free Fire account that is above level 10 to be eligible. (Qualcomm)

The year 2020 has been quite big for e-sports, not just in India, but across the world. With almost everyone having to stay in due to the pandemic and the lockdown, this was the perfect time for all the video games and playoffs online. Making the most of this just before the year wraps up is Qualcomm. 

Qualcomm's first ever esports tournament, the Snapdragon Conquest Free Fire Open 2020 registrations kicked off on December 8. The tournament is open for all Indian residents older than 12 and only other criteria is that you need to have a Garena Free Fire account that is above level 10 to be eligible. 

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If you are interested you can check out all the tournament details here. But to understand more about where it all started and where it is headed, we spoke to Rajen Vagadia, vice president, Qualcomm India Pvt. Ltd. and president, Qualcomm India and SAARC. 

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And here are some excerpts from our chat: 

First, help us with a backgrounder of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Conquest: Free Fire Open 2020

So, here's the story…you know Qualcomm. You have been interacting with Qualcomm. Summarising in a few words, being the one who brings technology and the latest in the technology, who innovates, we have seen the migration of the smartphone and as all of us have seen the smart phone becoming a sort of a replacement for all devices. 

It started early on, from a simple radio getting replaced then the GPS getting replaced, the TV got replaced… almost everything is played on the phone. You're doing everything on your phone including your office work right? If you look at what is the common thing that the phone did - it managed to get you the best of the audio, the best video, the best of the connectivity in the sense the robustness of the connectivity on the 4G or the 3G. It also had the computing capability, camera then the AI. 

When when we look at what all we have replaced and excelled in already, the most logical next step is gaming. 

The gaming was a PC driven industry. Because the phone did everything better than probably what a PC would have done and to quite some extent even what a console would be able to offer, in terms of real time connectivity, mobile connectivity etc, the phone logically went to become the gaming device for us. 

Over the last 10 years or odd, gaming has been a part of Qualcomm's inherent input to designing a processor. And as we think that now in a country like India where you have close to 400 million gamers and its a growing market, there is everything that is actually falling into place and required for India as market to take this new avatar of the phone...virtually like a console and make it a affordable and available right across all tiers. 

Qualcomm has always democratised technology. If you look at India, 4G devices are now available at the cheapest cost. They do not inherently lose any of the fundamental properties which a 4G technology is supposed to deliver. Right now, we believe that gaming is right and ripe to be available across all tiers of the phones at the right experience. We work very closely to the consumer and this is the reason what we call ‘Conquest' was conceived, which we have been working on for 2.5 years.

We believe that going closer to the consumer, who is the gamer in the case, understanding what he needs, what he desires and then enabling it. One thing beautiful about the Indian consumer is that they end up asking for something from us and we when we deliver, we end up giving typically more than what they had asked for and they take to that too very quickly. Consumers have actually been more demanding and that becomes a fuel for us. 

And given all of this, and the amount of time most gamers spend playing, we thought that it's the right time to bring in the platform which is available across India, across all tiers, almost democratised to offer them this sort of advantage of playing e-sports, and maybe a little bit of motivation by giving some prize money. 

In return what we get to understand is how and what they expect from us. 

Also Read: Snapdragon Conquest Free Fire Open 2020: Registrations now live, 50,00,000 up for grabs

So Snapdragon Conquest: Free fire Open 2020 is free to play contest? You can login for free and play and there are rewards at the end?

Right! It's all free and yes there are some restrictions which is basically being 12 years of age and level 10 on the Free Fire to qualify. But this is a basic level. This is open for everybody at zero cost and at the end of each season there will be some rewards. 

What we have done is keep the motivation going. It's not just the teams which win or the runners-up and the next in line get something. There are different levels and different rewards and everyone has a chance so everybody feels involved by being reward and gratified.

Besides the fact that you need to be 12 years of age and above a certain level in Free Fire, are there any basic requirements in the software front and the hardware front for these players? 

No, it's open for free registration. They can play with any device in the qualifying rounds till they reach the finale. There's no restrictions on what types of devices they use, which chipsets are there etc.

As the teams start winning and coming into the finale, the plan is to get them to play on devices that have the Snapdragon SoC. We will be providing them devices for the finale. Before the finale, they will be using whatever devices they have. This helps us democratise the tournament. 

Why Free Fire though? Why not any other game?

The reason Free Fire was selected was it has a very high reach. It is being played across the tiers and across devices. Even entry level phones can play Free Fire.

It's very inclusive, it's the best reach you can ever think about for any of such multiplayer gaming. 

What sort of prize money are we looking at?

There are quite a few awards. The Snapdragon Conquest Free Fire Open 2020 has a total prize pool of 50,00,000 up for grabs. The winning squad gets 20,00,000, the first runners up get 8,00,000 and the second runners up get 5,00,000. Everyone reaching the finals will also be rewarded.

Then there are awards for individual achievements and team effort. 

But money is not the only motivation here. What I believe is that this platform is going to offer is a very socially competitive environment where they will all come together to play. And then there are the fans and followers watching. 

Because of Covid-19 and the lockdown, physical events and sports got replaced with virtual ones. For many people online gaming became the space to connect with others socially and everyone looks forward to it. 

Also, I see this more as a social thing, helping people to not just interact and engage but also help them with quite a few cognitive skills. Because one thing apart from all the technical things we've talked about, I'm a firm believer that while gaming does take away your time, it helps in the cognitive and social development of children and gamers. It improves attention span and it improves visual activity. 

And because of the team spirit it can ignite, I see it as major early-learning tool because they form teams and they play. When you form a team, you also learn team spirit of teaming and trust. You learn to work together to develop strategy, skills. 

Of course, when they win, it also boosts their confidence.

So, right now this is going to be at the national level, but do you have plans on taking Qualcomm Snapdragon Conquest: Free fire Open 2020 international?

Qualcomm Snapdragon Conquest: Free fire Open 2020 is the first time, Qualcomm has created an e-sports platform globally. While Qualcomm works very closely on gaming and you would have heard about Elite gaming and the things we do to give premium experiences in a game. Over the next few seasons while we focus on India, the intent would be to take this internationally after few seasons.

This concept has been launched in India and India being one of the largest markets is going to be one of the bedrocks of the gaming industry. We want ensure that we understand India very well. India has a lot of things to teach us, so we would like to leverage that and eventually at some stage we would probably look at expanding this across the globe but India is our focus to start with.

Are you going to be streaming these matches live?

We are planning to stream online on YouTube after a certain stage in the tournament. We got an entire channel dedicated to Conquest. There's Instagram, there is Twitter, Facebook and a dedicated website as well. 

You guys already know how many people play Free Fire in the country. So, what kind of participation are you expecting?

We'll have to hold onto our horses there. We are very excited. All I can tell you is, the numbers we know are going to get are humungous. Even by virtue of what we have seen if you go to YouTube, where we have streamed promos, you could see the number of views have by far have gone through the roof. 

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First Published Date: 17 Dec, 11:26 IST