Robin Gupta was a young adult who had a good life making a career out of his passions – one of them being gaming. A hobby he’s enjoyed since youth, he developed into an entrepreneur specializing in it. He organized tournaments, managed esports teams, and ran a full-fledged events management company. When it came to the world of gaming, he had a finger in every pie.
However, life took a turn for the worse when Robin’s father passed away and he had to return to home to handle family business. Because it took up a lot of his time and energy, Robin had to step away from his favourite pastime to get things in order. For a few years, he left the gaming world.
Eventually, Robin’s family affairs were all straightened out and he decided to pursue a career that would allow him to stay close to home. That’s when he discovered his passion to create gaming content for a live audience, and a new chapter in his life began.
The core of a streamer’s online identity usually stems from their username, and in this case, it’s no different. Instead of reverting to one of the many aliases he used in the past, Robin decided that he would pick a meaningful streaming handle, one that reflected his affection for his son – SteveZDad.
At first glance, the name’s meaning wasn’t immediately obvious, and so, Robin gleefully explained it to us. “I no longer wanted my name to be taken. Instead, I wanted my Son’s name to be taken whenever someone referenced me. I no longer wanted to be known for myself. I wanted to be known by the name of my son. I wanted to be known as ‘Father of Steve’ or ‘Steve’s Father’ or ‘Steve’s Dad’, and thus, ‘SteveZDad’. Let me be known not by myself but by my blood, by my son, Steve!”
With his new username, Robin started streaming on Facebook Gaming in August 2018. Even though he wasn’t an immediate hit, it didn’t take too long until he was noticed by Facebook in February the following year. The benefits of being an official partner were immense for Robin. It allowed him to receive monetary support from his subscribers to continue streaming for a living - something he didn’t take for granted. Since then he has been evolving and improving his content, and has started initiatives like the Saturday Super Stars, a regularly scheduled tournament; and the SteveZDad Alliance, a Facebook group for him to hang out with his community, which he holds in high regard.
When asked about what advice he would give to his younger self, he replied, “I would tell myself to start working on community building from the very start. It took me some time to realise the importance of it.” Over the years, he has shifted his content from English to Hinglish (a mix of Hindi and English) to better cater his viewers, who mostly speak Hindi. While this has caused him to lose some of his English-speaking fans, who knows – he might return to it in the future?
Robin’s stream has a wide variety of content, while mostly focused on games, he creates other content as well, such as travel vlogs and opinions on world matters. These days he has also been streaming a lot more mobile games – something he enjoys greatly. Although games like PUBG Mobile have been great for his career (his highest concurrent live views have been while playing it) he still longs for the day that his real-time strategy (RTS) and space sim itch will be scratched. “RTS games. I have been a huge Command & Conquer fan and would really like them to return (Author: good news! the C&C remaster has been released at the time of writing). Space simulations are another of my liked category. There needs to better Star Wars games. And jetfighter simulation games, I miss Jane’s USAF simulator.”
SteveZDad’s community might be the backbone of his career, but it’s his family that takes first priority. “My family is one of my most trusted advisors for my business. There is no decision I make without consulting them. The best part is they understand what I am doing. They are extremely supportive and feel there is a lot of potential in this career. They are my top supporters.”
When asked about fame, he replied, “Honestly, I don’t consider myself famous yet. I truly do not know what being famous exactly means. All I know is that I constantly endeavour to get up close and connect with my community to make new acquaintances or potentially friends. I have always given respect to the people who come to watch me and requested the same. There was a time when I wanted to be a celebrity but I soon realised that life has much more meaning to it than acquiring a place in the spotlight. Every day when I stream, I hope that I can live up to people’s expectations and that I don’t lose myself to the limelight. Thankfully, I have a supportive advisory group of family and friends who keep my “anxiety” meter in check and help me stay focused.”
Robin also recalled a memorable interaction he once had with his fans – he had informed them he would be attending an event in Mumbai, and to his surprise, a group of supporters showed up at the venue to meet him. Some of them had travelled from as far away as 600 kilometres! They had a whole day of activities planned out and had a great time together. “Additionally, I am always amazed when several of my fans create fan art for me in terms of wallpapers, logos, or stinger transitions. It feels good. There was also a time when my fans sent me pictures wearing my merch. That was a complete dose of satisfaction.”
Despite pushing 40, Robin has no signs of slowing down. He currently works with a small crew to handle technical aspects of his videos and streams, so he can fully focus on the content itself. “I’m game for the next five years. I want this to become my primary business and I wish it structures itself into a self-sustaining model as well. Non-gaming, I do not know. Like I said I am an entrepreneur, I might open a restaurant in Australia or buy farming land in Switzerland. Who knows? Time will tell. At the moment, my focus is to bring my businesses that have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic back on track.”
As a parting message to his fans, SteveZDad had this to say, “Yes, you are extremely important to me. Whatever I am right now is because of your support and appreciation. I know you have the choice to watch other content creators as well. But you come to my streams and give me a gift of time. I will forever cherish this GIFT OF TIME, that you so respectfully give me. Thank you so much, you are a true rock star!”