Feb 18 2014 - 2:59 pm

The effects of esports' sizable gender gap

Esports has a big gender gap
Patrick Howell O'Neill
Dot Esports

Esports has a big gender gap.

A profound 90 to 94 percent of esports viewers are male, according to a survey of viewers taken across three events in League of Legends and StarCraft 2 over the last year.

By contrast, nearly half of all video game players today are women and 46 percent of the Super Bowl viewing audience is female. It’s not as if ladies don’t enjoy gaming, competition, or a good spectacle—but, in most countries, esports has thus far failed to connect with them.

The notable exception is South Korea, where Brood War and League of Legends professionals have boasted large male and female followings for more than a decade. However, the high level of national celebrity achieved by Korean esports stars has never been matched elsewhere.

WellPlayed, an esports production company, conducted the survey over the course of one year at the CLG Premiere Series (League of Legends, Feb. 2013), the Spring Promotion Tournament (League of Legends, Dec. 2013), and the Ender’s Game on Blu-Ray Tournament (StarCraft 2, Feb. 2014). Of the 2,040 respondents, 69 were female; 33 listed themselves as “other.”

By no coincidence, esports has had to deal with several issues of sexism in the not-so-distant past. 

Kim “Eve” Shee-Yoon, one of the first and only female StarCraft 2 professionals, was signed to a professional contract “for her skills and looks,” said her team’s manager, a female. Kim  closed her Twitter account in 2013 after what she characterized as “sexual harassment.” Men tweeted pictures of themselves masturbating on pictures of Kim.


When Street Fighter x Tekken player Aris Bakhtanians made a string of uncomfortable sexual comments toward female teammate Miranda “SuperYan” Pakozdi while broadcasting live on a major event’s stream, the incident made international headlines far beyond the gaming press. Bakhtanians guessed at Pakozdi’s bra size and asked to watch her in the bathroom, among other comments.

"This is a community that's, you know, 15 or 20 years old, and the sexual harassment is part of a culture,” Bakhtanians said, “and if you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community."

Gender isn’t the only demographic imbalance esports faces. Many esports communities are racially homogeneous as well.

“When you look at the crowd, it’s literally, like, find the black person,” said Tom Cannon, cofounder of the Evolution Champion Series. “It's all Korean people from Korea, or Asian-Americans, or Caucasians—almost 100 percent. And it's a little bit intimidating to think, OK, I’m going to go in here and, like, be a part of this thing, when there’s nobody who looks like me in this scene.”

Although no studies have been done about race in esports, it only takes one trip to a Major League Gaming event to confirm what Cannon says. With the notably racially diverse exception of the fighting-game community, Asians and white Americans make up an enormous portion of esports players and fans. Black and Middle Eastern esports fans are conspicuously missing.

The WellPlayed survey found that the dominant age range for esports viewers is 19 to 25. A mere 1.4 percent of viewers were over 40, all of whom watched StarCraft 2. StarCraft’s age advantage might be explained by the fact that the franchise is a full decade older than League of Legends.

Photo via Andrew Bell/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Today - 1:25 am

Get your Red Envelopes ready—the Lunar Revel event in League starts today

Riot is kicking off the 2017 Lunar Revel with some slick new skins.
Aaron Mickunas
League of Legends Writer
Image via Riot Games

The Lunar New Year is a sacred, historic holiday that is celebrated by nations in the far east. It marks the beginning of the year based on the cycles of the moon. There’s dancing, festivals, parades, but much more importantly: A special League of Legends event. Why is that so important? Because you can get sweet new skins, of course!

The Lunar Revel Event is a yearly occurrence in League that features shiny new goodies to buy in-game. The event was announced and started today, so after you update the client, you’ll be able to take part in the festivities.

1) Free Icon

That’s right, for the small cost of going to the official Lunar Revel web page, you can claim a free Summoner Icon! The interactive home page acts as the hub for the Lunar Revel event, and you can click through the menu to see all the features. There’s even some lore tying each of this year’s Lunar Revel skins to their respective champions.

2) Champion Skins

There are three skins coming out for the Lunar Revel event this year: Garen, Azir, and Vi. Each has a matching Summoner Icon available in the store.

Garen’s sword and rad man-bun make this skin what it is: Awesome. When he spins to win, a green dragon swirls around him. When he ults, the giant sword that falls from the heavens... well, it’s green.

Azir seems to be more of a themed skin specific to this year, as it’s the Year of the Rooster—and Azir is as rooster-like as any League champion gets. His soldiers are also made to match his skin, sporting golden armor.

Vi’s theme is “the green demon” and when she ults, a big green dragon swirls up into the air and slams back into the ground as she does. This one’s our favorite, but mostly because it’s the only time we’re ever going to see Vi in a ponytail.

Not only are those three new skins available now, but past Lunar Revel skins and bundles are in the shop as well.

3) Crafting

A brand new Lunar Revel crafting system will also be in the client until the end of the event. It uses the same crafting page as usual, where you open chests with keys you earn from playing games and combine shards to form skins and champions. You can buy a Revel Red Envelope for 250 RP and visit the crafting page in your client to turn it into a skin shard and one random relic.

The relics come in three types: the Pauldron Relic, the Golden Relic, and the Gauntlet Relic. Once you have all three, you can combine them into Epic Skin Shards (1350 RP skins), random skin permanents, Gemstones, or Hextech Chests and Keys.

4) Merch

Finally, you can visit the Lunar Revel merch store to check out some IRL event goodies. Want a shirt featuring each Chinese Zodiac with League champions instead of the usual animals? Well it’s in the merch store, as well as a collectible figurine of Lunar Revel Azir.

The event is running from now until Feb. 2, so be sure to log into the game and check it out!

Today - 12:27 am

University of Toronto students can now apply for an esports scholarship

Who said gaming was a waste of time?
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Image via CC 3.0

Canada's top-rated university will begin taking applications for an esports scholarship to be awarded next year.

University of Toronto alumnus Victor Xin started the scholarship program as a way of providing extra support to students who want to hone their skills in competitive gaming. While this is the first such scholarship to be introduced in Canada, several U.S.-based universities such as University of California, Irvine began offering esports scholarships in 2016.

Xin works at Toronto-based wealth management firm Athena Capital Partners, which also funds the scholarship. He told the university that students that display competitive drive through computer games shouldn't be distracted from trying achieving success in the world of esports.

"There are trailblazers on campus who are rallying a different set of students to build campus organizations focused on an alternative way of learning to lead and succeed in life," Xin told the university. The former student, who graduated in 2008 after studying at its Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, began following StarCraft during his tenure at the institution and also founded the University of Toronto eSports Club. For Xin, the fund is aimed at making sure that students who show drive and leadership through esports won't "fall through the cracks."

Are you thinking of applying for the Victor Xin scholarship? The requirements are: That you're an undergraduate at the university's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, you've got a 3.5 GPA, and participate regularly in gaming-related extra-curricular activities. If it means we get to play League of Legends during school hours, we're totally in.