Despite gaming’s growing recognition in the mainstream, it’s still an undeniable fact that female gamers face a stigma that escapes their male counterparts. One of our previous articles ‘Life as a Female Gamer’ details how the gaming industry has traditionally catered to a male audience, with a large number of video games featuring a male lead. Even behind the scenes, only 3% of women working in the gaming industry make as much as men.
However, female gamers have been making strides in eSports and the industry has responded to this. There are now all-female sports teams for CS: GO and League of Legends.
More recently though, eSports organization Gen.G and dating app Bumble teamed up to create an all-female eSports partnership. The partnership was announced to foster a community centered around its female gamers, gaming influencers, and fans. “The gaming communities have long been oriented around men and been somewhat toxic for women participating and even watching,” Gen.G’s CEO Chris Park said. “We want to change that and give voice to and promote how women bring gaming into their lives and friendships. We want to empower women to be part of this sport.”
CNBC notes that the partnership will also have the social network sponsoring a ‘Team Bumble’, Gen.G’s first all-female Fortnite team. Bumble’s friendship finding mode, called Bumble BFF, enables women to put a ‘gaming’ tag on their profile in order to find women with similar interests in their area. This then helps female gamers find support in a world where many still report incidents of harassment when gaming online.
These problems come despite the fact that the Entertainment Software Association has found that 46% of adult gamers in the US are women. Yet despite these high numbers, the recently concluded World Cup final for Fortnite, a game which has over 250 million players worldwide, failed to feature a single woman competing at the main event. The lack of women here is especially notable, as Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney estimates that up to 35% of Fortnite players are women. This shows how the eSports industry and games like Fortnite need to do more to promote and encourage female gamers.
The male-centric nature of eSports becomes even more jarring when considering how big the industry has become. A feature on how eSports is growing outlines how there are over 9,500 registered professional players in the US alone, with countries like China, South Korea, and Germany also reporting numbers in the thousands. Considering the numbers cited by Tim Sweeney many of those players are female, but they remain hidden by the male-centric culture of eSports. This has resulted in top pro female gamers like Kat Gunn fighting for equality. Gunn has stated in an interview that she wishes to create a safer playing and working environment for women, suggesting that perhaps an all-female league similar to the WNBA could be an effective solution.
Gen.G and Bumble’s partnership is a step closer to fulfilling Gunn’s vision. With such a powerful force behind them, female gamers will no longer feel the need to hold back and will become a loud voice in the eSports industry.
Contributed by JBench for technisportusa.com