The esports industry is positively and constantly growing. With various non-endemic sectors joining and trends popping up left and right, the rising presence of women in esports has seen the fan base diversifying over the last few years.
This is an exciting time because as the world increasingly becomes digital, both online gaming and esports are perfect platforms to send the message loud and clear to the centuries-worth of gender inequality in society. Let’s walk through this emerging phenomenon together and take a look at how it also impacts the overall sector.
How video gaming and esports break gender barriers
Video games, esports, and even esports betting are generally marketed to and dominated by men. It is not an ambiguous fact because five decades have passed since esports’ development, and its chauvinistic attitude has always been restricted to women. Cases range from software gaming companies creating gender-specified games to male gamers’ stereotypical remarks about women.
Now, the inclusive and diverse mentality of the new generation influenced the changing landscape of the billion-dollar industry of online gaming and esports. While it still has a long way to go, it will certainly be a dream come true that soon, being a woman in gaming isn’t an extraordinary case, but rather just that — a professional gamer or esports athlete. Let’s take a look below at which organisations have jumped to the shift.
Rich complexity of female gaming population
Female gamers are on the rise and recent numbers prove it. In 2020, statistics from Google and Niko Partners show that nearly 41% of all gamers in the U.S. and around 40-45% in Asia are women. Furthermore, they also accounted for 48% of the world’s total gaming revenue.
What is more interesting in this growth is the ‘why’ aspect. While it has been long proven that video games are salient tools to cope with stress and form of escapism, women have different motivations. According to country-based studies, French female gamers aspire to challenge themselves through competitions. Taiwanese and American female gamers, on the other hand, are motivated by achievement and social reasons. Yet despite all these grounds, it is also studied that they generally and sadly experience online harassment and stereotyping.
The solution? The rise of organisations, esports teams, and individual female players directly focused on advocating women’s gaming interests in the industry. A major example of this is Women in Games. Founded in 2009 and based in the U.K., it is a non-profit community interest company that seeks to free the industry from gender discrimination. Not only do they protect female gamers, but they also look collectively in the workforce, video gaming representation, and player community perspectives.
Top 10 highest earning pro female gamers
As expected, male players dominate today’s statistics on the highest-paid esports players, with earnings reaching millions of US dollars. Female gamers listed below, on the other hand, prove that video games under MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genres, first-person shooters, sports, and fighting, among others, are not masculine.
Rise of female streamers
Another fast-growing group in online gaming is female gaming streamers. They stream their gameplay on the internet for fans to watch. While they don’t earn from tournaments, it is another lucrative career because of advertisements, sponsorships, subscriptions, and donations.
Similar to pro-female gamers, their presence breaks down gender barriers and inspires more women to be involved in the industry. Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys and Rachell ‘Valkyrae’ Hofstetter are some of the most influential ones today. Their large audiences — 6.69 million and 3.55 million subscribers on YouTube, respectively — have empowering content that further exposes women in the gaming community. As a result, Google reported that there was a 19% growth in the community in 2019.
Valkyrae, formerly known as the ‘Queen of YouTube’, is also a major esports enthusiast and business owner. She co-owns 100 Thieves, one of the biggest esports organisations in North America, with teams competing in Call of Duty, Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, LoL, and Valorant.
Women-only esports tournaments
It is no secret that esports tournaments are often complicated to understand, as they are franchises with different formats and standards. However, this brings a benefit for different organisations and teams to host events directly targeted to women.
Some examples are Riot Games’ VCT: Game Changers, Heroes Lounge’s Athena Championship, and Women in Esports’ The Lioness League, among others. Better yet, you can check Bitcasino’s esports crypto betting markets and see if they are available in a live stream.
Despite the growing dismissive opinions, perhaps putting on separate tournaments can be part of the solution towards a more inclusive industry. They contribute to women’s growing presence, inviting them that online gaming is a potentially profitable career regardless of gender. This is because, at the end of the day, it is all about skills, intelligence, and experience.
Words by: Antoinette Laraze