The last 18 months have been nothing but a rollercoaster ride for 24-year-old Sanjan Gautam, popularly known as CR7 Horaa.
Before March 2021, he did not know what he wanted to do in life. He once wanted to go abroad, but the plan was derailed by the Covid pandemic. He did not have a job either as he spent most of his days playing football or PUBG Mobile with friends. He was going nowhere.
But, things changed for him in March 2021 when CR7 Horaa, who once played in Nepal’s competitive PUBG Mobile scene, decided to stream.
“I’ve always been a good talker and an entertainer. Keeping that in mind, a lot of my friends asked me to try streaming. I tried and in a few months, I grew faster than any streamer in Nepal had and well after that my life changed.”
Since CR7 Horaa started 18 months ago, a lot has changed for him. His YouTube channel has grown rapidly and now has over 300,000 subscribers. His streams constantly have around 6,000 live viewers and he has even played games with today’s Kathmandu Mayor Balen Shah among others. Now, despite the fame, he wants to keep growing as a streamer as he hopes to entertain a lot more people than he already has.
Turning fun into fame
“People don’t come to my stream to watch me play a game. There are better players than me. They come to my stream because they get entertained and I want to keep them entertained,” he says.
Streaming in Nepal is growing steadily. Thanks to better internet and access to content abroad, Nepalis have started to create content for their own audience on social media platforms like YouTube, and Facebook. CR7 Horaa has used that to create a massive following. And he has done so without much struggle.
Almost all streamers, not just in Nepal but all over the globe, face issues with their audience. There are some who stream to one or two people. But, for CR7 Horaa, that has not been the case. Thanks to his contact within the gaming community, he started out with nearly 100 people watching him. The 100 grew to 1,000 and before he knew it, Nepalis living all over the globe were tuning in to watch his stream.
“I’m thankful to everyone who has been a part of this journey with me. Their support has kept me going…, especially Sadey, Sekri, Mama, Limbe and Bishnu who are parts of my stream almost every day.”
Many think that to become a streamer, one needs gaming and streaming PCs. But, CR7 Horaa has shown that it is not the case. Until recently, he streamed using two phones – one to play the game and one to read comments. He did not even have a face camera.
“People should realise that if their content is good, people will come and watch it even if they are streaming it with a basic setup.”
Then, fame into fortune
CR7 Horaa’s popularity has helped him become a PUBG partner too, which means he has direct access to people from PUBG Mobile and is a part of their revenue-sharing programme. All he has to do is keep playing the game which is also an e-sports title in the upcoming Asian Games to be held in China in 2023.
“Playing the game has brought in different avenues to earn money.”
As he is a PUBG partner, his voice will be added to the game itself along with people like Budhi Tamang and Sabin Beest.
“This feels like a crazy dream. I can’t wait to use my character and play the game.”
He also gets different challenges while playing PUBG Mobile from his viewers who then donate him money if he completes it.
“These missions let me keep everyone entertained,” he says.
CR7 Horaa’s other earnings are great too. There are some months when he earns over USD 1,000 through donations made by people living abroad. This, he says, has helped him sustain in Kathmandu and has kept on encouraging him to keep on streaming.
He has also been doing a lot of charity work. He says he gets a lot of messages from people asking for help and after checking if they are genuine, he helps them.
“I believe in giving back to the community, which is why I do charity streams too.”
His charity streams are a hit as people like Balen Shah, Vek, Yabesh Thapa and Anjan Bista have taken part in it playing PUBG Mobile with him. In these charity streams, he also invites singers to entertain the viewers as he wants people to grow along with him.
Living with fame
But, fame has its downside. Before he got famous, life was easy for CR7 Horaa. Now, it is anything but. People recognise him everywhere. They ask for selfies and want to talk to him. On a normal night out, he gets crowded by a lot of people and that, he says, can get tedious.
“There was a time when people came to my house. That was scary because you never know who that person is. It’s definitely hard now that so many people know me.”
Fame has its upside too. He gets messages from Nepali celebrities who keep pushing him on and encouraging him. And that, he says, helps him to keep going.
“When famous people started messaging me on Instagram, I was over the moon in the start.”
Despite all the fame and the money, he still is the same boy he was once. He does say the way how he carries himself has changed but apart from that, nothing has.