Competitive video gaming — eSports — is typically the domain of talented young men whose skills at video games are second to none. They are incredible with a keyboard and mouse, their reactions honed, their strategic skills practiced and perfected.
But where are all the women pro gamers? Their voices have, up until now, been whispers in the larger eSports conversation. But the gender gap among whizz kid gamers is slowly starting to even out. These days, more and more women players are competing against the men.
In May 2015 Intel even reached out to two new European-based female CS:GO teams. Intel didn’t want to be just another logo on the gamers’ shirts. It hoped to help both teams to gain experience and build up their competing skills.
A couple of months later, iQ met up with the two teams — Team LGB eSports and Team Property — at DreamHack London. Let’s meet them:
We also spoke to Per Lilliefelth (CEO of Ninjas in Pyjamas Gaming) and Aron Larsson (General Manager Team Property). Two men who had the gutts to embrace female gaming talents.
How did you select your female team?
PL – We got introduced via contacts in the industry and fell for the personalities and skills of the teams. The girls are fantastic as ambassadors for eSport in general and we been extremely happy with how they’ve represented the team so far.
AL – Our manager reached out to potential players and after interviews and tryouts we found the players to form the team. Not only was in-game skill important, [but] also the ability to represent our partners and be able to work as a unit. Team chemistry was [also a] very high priority. I see no reason why female gamers can’t compete with the best male gamers.
How do you see the female eSports scene evolving?
PL – With the help of Intel and other big companies supporting the female scene it will only grow bigger and bigger. Since eSports in general is more and more accepted, I think more girls will find out how fun it is and get hooked. Once they’ve found the game they like best, they will start being more competitive as well. The guys better look out.
AL – I can see the female scene growing, but in the long term I think we will see more and more mixed teams and less of a need for separation by gender. Right now, female-only tournaments have an important role to fill in the fact that it creates icons, idols and role models for young female gamers, something that would be a lot harder or impossible without female-only tournaments. For the eSports [in general], I think less separation is better. For now, it will bring in new players and fans to the sport.
What are your hopes for the two teams?
PL – We have long term goals to let these girls be professionals — playing full time and living off their sport, travelling around the world to promote female gaming and LGB Female as the best brand there is in the competitive CS:GO scene. We know the potential is there. Our ambition is to give them the tools that they need to succeed.
AL – Property is a professional eSports team based in Sweden with the vision and goal to become the most successful eSports team in the world. This applies to all of our teams, so we are putting a lot of resources and effort into making the team the best it can be. We recently brought in a coach to help the team develop quicker. Our goal is to have a team ready to fight for top placings in 2016.
What is your advice to female gamers?
PL – Practice as much as possible and be serious if you want to succeed. With dedication and determination you can reach your goals and be as good as the guys in the future. In a couple of years, female pro-gamers will be commonplace.
AL – Whatever your dream, don’t listen to the naysayers. Follow your heart and find ways to follow your dream. If you want something, work your butt off [to get it].