Despite the esports fandom consisting of 30% female fans, they are somewhat neglected by the industry. Luckily, change looks promising.
It's no surprise esports is booming. What may be a surprise to some is how strong the core female gamer community is.
Almost half (47%) of gamers are women. Stereotypically, many believe that a grand majority of them are casual gamers: someone who enjoys video games without putting in a significant amount of time. Although the rise of mobile gaming may contribute to this belief (since mobile games tend to target the casual gamer), more serious gamers that are women tend to be underserved by esports brands.
All-female esports teams do exist within the fold, much like the WNBA within the NBA, although they receive much less attention than male teams. But big players are starting to move in the right direction. Shopify, the Canadian e-commerce giant, recently announced their involvement into pro gaming with their own esports organization. Immediately, they signed pro StarCraft II player Sasha "Scarlett" Hostyn, the first woman to win a major tournament in the esport. Obviously, Scarlett is skilled in her own right, but this also may be a strong catalyst for inspiring more women to get involved.
Esports has gone a long way to make the community more inclusive, however there's still a long way to. At the end of the day, female gamers want to be acknowledged, inspired, and properly represented. To do so, esports brands, leagues, and teams will need to do their part.
Now is a great time for aspiring female esports players and enthusiasts to get involved as inclusivity continues to strengthen. Opportunities for women, as well as for people of color, are starting to grow such as through inclusivity-focused esports programming and initiatives. Although esports as a whole is struggling to be legitimized in the Olympic Games, female professional gaming isn't going anywhere.
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