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The number of gamers and streamers is burgeoning exponentially in the country, and platforms and brands are closely watching this new behavioural change since the audience of these streamers is the youth.

There are stories of gamers and streamers from modest backgrounds making it big by being good at two things — esports and entertainment.

So what is a ‘raid?’ A raid is when a YouTuber or streamer with a significant following asks his or her viewers to go and watch another creator’s live stream. Case in point — GamerFleet. This young man from Haldwani, Uttarakhand, was streaming to double-digit audiences when he was ‘raided’ by Samay Raina. After the raid, he continued to grow organically, not just because of his personality and collaboration with Samay Raina and Tanmay Bhat. Cut to a few months later and GamerFleet has over a million subscribers. This is the beauty of a ‘raid’.

So Raid Nights was born. This is the brainchild of Tanmay Bhat in partnership with iQOO, a phone company that puts the gamer before the game. The idea was executed by OML Entertainment with technical partner Sky eSports. This property was only possible because of the power of the platform that is YouTube.

Tanmay Bhat, Samay Raina and GamerFleet are now online every Friday evening for the last one month with their new live-streaming property, iQOO Raid Nights. The three content creators (also known as raid bosses) presented an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to aspiring gaming streamers, where they would raid the YouTube channels of upcoming streamers—asking their subscribers to tune in and watch the live stream of the channel they would raid, resulting in the aspiring creators seeing an increase in live-streaming numbers like never before.

Here’s how iQOO Raid Nights happened.

Every Friday from June 25 to July 23, there were four rounds of qualifiers and a grand finale. Participants would stream live on their YouTube channel using the hashtag #iQOORaidNights and the raid bosses would randomly pick and choose which channel they wanted to raid. 2.4k YouTube channels garnered over 8.9k user-generated videos during this time, hoping they would get ‘raided.’

The winners were chosen via a YouTube poll, where the audience voted for their favourite performers. Two winners from each qualifier episode won a cash prize of Rs 20,000 and an iQOO 7 Legend phone. There were super interesting performances and channels that viewers came across. Some channels that captured people’s imagination were Gamer Mummy - a mother of two young adults who streams Minecraft every day, kukZy Gaming — a gamer who raps and beatboxes while playing the piano, Matata QHouse — who did hybrid dance performances with a mix of pre-recorded footage, visual effects and live webcam.

The winner of the first edition of iQOO Raid Nights was Mechanical Pandey — an entertainer who did a rap and dance performance. He also performed a short sketch of him doing random things and being beaten up by his mother, which got huge laughs from the audience. The winner got a gaming setup worth Rs 250,000 as the grand prize. The runner-ups were Shiny Kash — A gamer + rapper and The He Man Show — a streamer who lives in his shop and streams every night. He had created special art pieces for iQOO Raid Nights featuring the faces of the raid bosses.

iQOO Raid Nights were hosted by Tanmay Bhat, Samay Raina and GamerFleet on their respective YouTube Channels and were coordinated and executed by OML Entertainment. The finale of iQOO Raid Nights can be watched here.

Tanmay Bhat, said, “Raid Nights is something that I've always wanted to do at scale. It was great to see that brands like iQOO and YouTube supported this property. The creativity that some streamers bring to the table is something that the audience must discover. One of my favourite channels from this edition was Matata QHouse. Their creativity and performance in the qualifiers just blew my mind.”

Gunjan Arya, CEO, OML Entertainment, said, “We are always on the lookout for upcoming talent that we can support, and have been bullish on online gaming for some time now. We’re super thrilled to have partnered with iQOO and YouTube in a way that is not only rewarding for the brand and the platform but for the online gaming space as a whole. The power of Creators + Brand + Platform really came together for a proper OP moment. Tanmay’s guidance and the super Samay and GamerFleet to boot have been invaluable collaborators. We came across a lot of new streamers including the incredible Gamer Mummy through the campaign and we will continue to do a lot more of this.”