You Play Like a Girl: The Growing Market of Female Gamers

by | Mar 30, 2024 | Thought Republic | 0 comments

For the longest time, gaming was a male-dominated space. It was often marketed to appeal to the male market, tagging it as a hobby exclusive to boys. But now, as the industry becomes bigger, female players are slowly coming into the picture. These women are being rightfully acknowledged after showcasing their immense capability in the scene. Digging into a deeper context, their step into the field has showcased what women can do that’s far beyond playing. Their contribution can be regarded as an extension of a bigger movement towards one common goal – diversity.

Building a stage for women

Similar to traditional sports, esports was long perceived as a culture targeted to males. The lack of representation for female professional players left an impression that women can’t be involved at the competitive level. However, this perception began to shift in 2019 when the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games officially recognized esports as an official sporting event. At first, the competition was open to all genders without separation between male and female divisions. Then four years later, the 32nd SEA Games finally introduced a women’s division on its featured mobile games in the competition. According to Esports Charts, the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) the tournament hit a record of 1.36M peak viewers – making it the most popular female esports tournament to this date. This marks a significant moment for a large-scale sporting event to open its doors for inclusivity and provide equal opportunities for female esports athletes. 

On a similar note, game developer giant, Riot Games, known for their popular PC titles League of Legends and Valorant, has taken their commitment to showcase professional all-female teams to the next level through Valorant Champions Tour: Game Changers 2023 (VCT). In fact, Team SMG, one of the teams who joined, gained global recognition due to their impressive performance that shed light on the hidden gems in the scene. They created buzz in the latest season where they secured 35 consecutive wins just before the semi-finals — a record unmatched even in the major tournaments for male players.  As one of the leading developers in the gaming industry, this move highlights their advocacy of promoting inclusivity and empowering women worldwide within the competitive scene.

Herstory makers

If you ask anyone who has been playing for a long time, they’ll probably tell you that women are really making a name for themselves in the gaming scene. In fact, even the tight-knit community of DOTA 2 has its own beloved shoutcaster Jorien “Sheever” van der Heijden, who became one of the most prominent talents in the premier league, The International. As for the local scene, Mara Aquino has served as the voice of the Southeast Asian franchises for MLBB tournaments for four years now. She captured the hearts of the MLBB fans through her quick wits, credibility, and passion for the game. 

On the other hand, Christine Chi, also known as “potter”, is currently the only female coach to win a major championship title. Given her background as a retired professional player and a game analyst, she led her team, Evil Geniuses, to secure their trophy at the VCT 2023. 

Surely, these stories prove that the battlefield has changed. We can now see the different representations of women in every corner with so many of them achieving big wins in the industry. In fact, we can even say that the rise of female heroes in the market holds a massive potential to be at par (or even more!) with current headliners. And true enough, this was all possible because the whole community was open to give everyone a chance to shine. The question now is, which male-dominated industry will be next to push women aspirants to kick-start the journey to reach their extraordinary dreams?

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