Experiences in Esports
To celebrate International Women's Day on March 8th we asked the women of Excel Esports to tell us about their thoughts and experiences of being a woman in esports.
How did you get into Esports?
Evie - I got into Esports through being a fan! I used to really enjoy watching 'Let's Plays' and GDQ. When the Overwatch Inaugural season started in 2017, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of, so I worked super hard being involved in the community and eventually ended up doing freelance projects for one of the teams and the League itself.
Laura - I started watching Call of Duty esports when I was around 14 following teams like OPTIC and their vlogs. When I was 19 I quit my job to work for a gaming arena in my local GAME store which turned into Belong Arenas. The first-ever event I worked on was Call of Duty World League in Birmingham in 2017 where I volunteered as an admin.
Maisie - My journey into esports started at Fnatic in 2017. I was never a hardcore gamer growing up unlike most of my colleagues but it didn't take long for me to fall in love with this industry. It’s so dynamic, exciting, creative and most importantly incredibly chaotic yet fun. Never fails to keep you on your toes.
What was the appeal of Esports?
Elle - I love how dynamic the industry is, how every day there is something new and innovative to consider, be involved in, and enjoy. Of course, I have always had a love for gaming and watching esports, so the fact I can combine my personal passion and my work is just a win-win!
Kat - For me as a designer, it was crucial to have a lot of creative freedom. Because esports isn't only about the huge game titles like League of Legends but also about partnerships, content creators and, most importantly, communities, we as creatives can do everything we can envision. From illustrations, photography to full 3D rendered videos. Having Valorant sessions with my colleagues is also a huge bonus!
What is it like to be a woman in the Esports environment?
Laura - From a professional point of view, I've been lucky to have no obstacles so far in my career that have prevented me to get where I am. Not sure lucky is the right word, this should be standard. That doesn't mean to say I haven't had to deal with ignorance and comments throughout it. As a woman playing games, it can be tiring and off-putting to play competitive titles. I often don't play solo or in voice chat as usually when you speak you get abuse and comments.
Abi - My experience has been predominately positive, those I work with are encouraging and supportive. It's really great to be in an environment that is not what you would think the "normal" esports scene is perceived as. Being part of creating that is an honour.
What advice do you have for young women and women in general that would like to get into Esports?
Manisha - I've been fortunate enough to work with women in the industry who have given me insight, support and shared in my journey. From my experience, you will need to work hard and get to know your subject matter. Esports is dynamic, so be prepared to deal with high demand and adapt to change.
Abi - Esports is more than competitive gaming. Come be part of a wonderful revolution, be a pioneer & share your passion with the industry. Whether it be in Marketing, Operations, Design, Community, Commercial there is a role for you.
Laura - [It's] good to see opportunities like Valorant Game changers take place for competitive players. I hope it becomes implemented into other esports. I feel the more people are challenged on their actions, the better the industry will become.
Where do you see Esports heading in the future & how do you think that will impact women in the industry?
Elle - I see the industry growing to scales we could not even imagine from where we are right now. If esports scales to the size of traditional sports, I hope that with that scales the support for women who are looking to contribute to the success of esports alongside growing and fuelling their passions.
Evie - I honestly think working in Esports is just like any other office job really, the scene will get bigger, more women will join and there I'm sure will be more inclusivity and open-mindedness when that happens - there is so much room for creativity I am positive more women will become involved.
What is one thing within Esports that still needs to change for women?
Manisha - It's unfortunate there has been a history where the gender ratio has favoured men in the industry. There are issues of misogyny, toxicity and sexism towards female gamers - contributing to a lack of role models and creators that appeal or relate to women. This is a core issue that needs to change.
Evie - There is obviously the air of it being quite a 'boys club', there are many men in positions of authority with outdated mindsets but with time and women being more vocal and involved, those voices will drown out and it will become a more inclusive space for all to be involved.