Women are Flourishing in eSports – and the Trend Looks Set to Continue
While nearly every sport on the planet is segregated in the sense that there are separate competitions for men and women, eSports puts both sexes on an even playing field and gives females a great opportunity to get the better of their male counterparts. In competitive gaming and other mind sports, there is no perceived physical difference between men and women, and therefore no need to have them competing for different prizes. Many women are now rising up in this sector, and there are bound to be more to follow as eSports continue to take the world by storm.
Who Are the Best Female eSports Players?
Research from Pew Research Center has shown that in terms of playing video games, it’s nearly an even split between men and women, with 50 percent of men and 48 percent of women reporting to have played. But when the same survey was taken in 2015, only 6 percent of women referred to themselves as gamers compared to 15 percent of men. For many, games are still just a form of escapism. This is rapidly changing, though, and there are many more women emerging in the industry as eSports continue to grow.
One of the hottest up-and-coming female eSports teams right now are the Ladies of Fire N Ice, who are on a mission to change some of the longstanding stereotypes about what gamers are. The team of five consists of one 20-year-old, three 21-year-olds, and one 29-year-old, and they specialise in playing the third-person shooter Gears of War 4. They’re good too. In a recent LAN competition, the team won three rounds and lost two, ending in 29th place out of 60 teams. Some players who are well known and better established include Sasha Hostyn, who has made over $200,000 playing StarCraft III, Katherine Gunn, who has earned $122,000 in Halo: Reach tournaments, and Ricki Ortiz who has accumulated over $80,000 in winnings from playing Street Fighter V. There is also a growing female gaming scene in China, the country that makes up over half of the world’s eSports audience, which totals at around 500 million. According to the BBC, these female gamers are smashing down gender barriers and pushing for equality in the industry. This is good news for women gamers all over the world.
Women Excelling at Other Mind Sports
The playing field is leveling elsewhere as well, not just in the eSports circuit. Other mind sports have female competitors that rub shoulders with the men and prove that gender differences aren’t an issue. There are plenty of chess FIDE Grand Masters and professional poker and blackjack players who are women. One well-known female player who definitely knows the difference between pair splitting and surrendering strategies in blackjack and how best to take advantage of them is Eleanore Dumont, who was nominated into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2006. In fact, it may surprise some to learn that she is considered to be the first ever professional blackjack player, regardless of gender. In the world of poker, women and men play at the same level, and there are some famous females in the business. These include Vanessa Selbst, who has made over $7.5 million and is well-known for her exceptional tournament play, Vanessa Rousso, who has earned $3.5 million and has appeared on NBC’s Poker After Dark, and Jennifer Harman, who has made $2.6 million and featured on GSN’s High Stakes Poker. Women have set records too, with Victoria Coren Mitchell being the only player to ever win two European Poker Tour main event titles. It’s not just the cards that women have proved to be proficient at, though; there are a number of chess grandmasters who are female. Judit Polgar, Maya Chiburdanidze, Susan Polgar, and Xie Jun are generally considered as the best female chess players of all time, and have shown they can cut it at the highest echelons of the game.
The Growth of eSports is set to Continue
With the rapid evolution of gaming where nearly anything is possible, the eSports scene is set to boom even more over the next few years. This will present further opportunities for more female players to get into the industry. There is talk of eSports becoming a part of major sporting events like the Olympics, and it has already been confirmed that competitive gaming will be included at the 2022 Asian Games. The revenue from the industry is expected to rise to $1.5 billion by 2020, highlighting how lucrative it could be for more women to get into gaming right now.
With more and more women emerging as exceptional eSports players, there is a chance that females could one day dominate the industry. They have proven already that they have what it takes to challenge men in the fierce world of competitive gaming.
Sources of Information for Further Reading: