“Players today work very differently, they like to interact with each other because they find peace in the fact that they can talk to someone nearby, someone who acts like them … plays like them.” Sagar Nair, CEO of Qlan, knows exactly why the world needs a social network dedicated to gaming enthusiasts and gamers, especially since social networks like Facebook no longer fit into the current landscape.
Nair, who is in his early 30s, along with Navin Talreja, CBO and Prashant Pandey, co-founder and community leader, started working on Qlan late last year after realizing that existing social platforms – whether it’s Linkedin or Instagram – don’t recognize games As a profession though, the esports boom taking place around the world. “Players want to be recognized and this is as fundamental as being able to call themselves players,” he said, adding that players now want to be validated, and unfortunately traditional platforms don’t recognize that.
“We thought the feed could break through the clutter of Instagram where you can find anything and everything. A platform like ours would justify what gamers are really looking for in a social network,” explains Nair. Qlan is currently in beta phase and will soon be available on Android and iOS platforms.
The problem with current social networks, says Nair, is that even if the platform has a community of players – they are probably scattered and barely interacting with each other. But what Qlan is trying to do is gather all these skilled players, including esports players, on one platform. This way they are surrounded by players who have similar interests and skills, something you won’t find on Linkedin and Instagram.
Qlan’s goal is to develop a complete social network where players are empowered in such a way that they take their first step to becoming professional esports players or acquire the skills needed to pursue a career in the gaming industry. From the start, Nair was clear that he didn’t want to create Qlan as another alternative to platforms like Twitch, as the focus was on watching or streaming live or pre-recorded videos of gameplay. Nair describes “Qlan” as a cross between Linkedin and Instagram, a social platform meant for gamers.
Nair adds that the team has come up with features that will not only connect the player to another gamer, but also help her understand how diverse the gaming community is. For example, gaming profiles allow them to showcase their in-game skills and talents, and much more. Nair gets rid of the common misconception that gamers don’t do anything else: “Gamers can be designers; they’re into casting, video editing, and some of them are good at writing and want to be esports journalists.”
Nair describes India’s esports community as “hyperactive” and “more attractive”. “The competing Indian players are hungry. Given the right opportunities and the right platform, I am confident that they will start ruling the global landscape. The esports market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46% to reach Rs 11 billion by 2025, According to a report by professional services firm EY.
Qlan wants to be seen as more open and broad based with casual players being part of the platform as well. Nair says since the games one can share on your profiles are largely esports titles like League of Legends and Call of Duty, the focus now is to cater to the eSports community. When users start streaming into Qlan, Nair says they will start branching out into other gaming segments such as casual games, story-based games or single player games.
“Content is a big part of Qlan,” Nair explains, focusing on text, images, and short videos of up to 60 seconds. After the profile generator, Qlan will work on a chat feature and an AI-based matchmaking feature that uses AI through which players discover teams and organization profiles. The plan is also to add a discovery section in the app where users will be able to filter the role they are looking for and connect to profiles with similar roles.
Esports is a lucrative market not just for gamers, but for brands and advertisers. Nair has selected a combination of subscriptions and a free model to earn money on the platform. Users can access most of the features for free but a paid membership will give access to some additional features like a performance tracker or the ability to show how many Instagram followers they have now. Then there is also the concept of virtual currencies that will be rewarded to those who are most active on the platform.
Although Qlan is a fairly new platform, Nair says the social network he creates has a certain advantage for brands and advertisers because of the target audience. “These guys [brands] Promote their tournaments on Instagram, Facebook or on Discord, but the algorithmic limitations Instagram imposes on them, even if you build a following of, say, 10,000 people, a post may naturally reach only 15 to 18% of my audience. “
So, if a brand advertises by a player, the campaign reaches a targeted group of users, in this case, the entire gaming community that includes esports enthusiasts, mobile gamers, console players, PC gamers, and gaming related professionals. . Nair and his team have discussed the possibility of original content and advertising but this will only happen when the platform has a large user base.
Esports, like traditional sports, can make a lot of money. Tournaments now generate millions of ticket sales and boast huge amounts of prize money. Nair says there is a full-time career to be made of esports and this is exactly where Qlan comes in. “We want to start facilitating job opportunities. It will be a straightforward two-step process for the job provider to place outposts and job seekers can apply for these jobs with just one click. The app does the rest by selecting their attributes,” he explains. The average age of an esports player is between 13 and 25 years old. “Our target group is not familiar with LinkedIn… they will not understand how to maneuver through LinkedIn.