The International eSports Federation (IeSF) has announced it will be reverting its policy on gender division, changing the “male-only” division to ” open for all,” alongside a female only division to promote more female eSports players.
The IeSF changed their decision after backlash on a Hearthstone tournament, which will be held in the Finnish Assembly. The qualifier will include professional Hearthstone players from both genders and there will be a separate tournament for women only.
It is a bit odd that the IeSF kept the women only tournament, it does represent that the organisers want more women trying out in eSports, but in other eSports like Riot Games’ League of Legends, there is no disparity in gender, despite there still being no professional female player.
Some commenters have said without the female only event, the Hearthstone tournament will be dominated by men once again. It is true that the majority of professional gamers in eSports are male and there is a lacklustre amount of competitive eSports females.
Traditional sports have grown in appeal, there are plenty of female Soccer teams and some of the greatest Tennis players are women. The problem with eSports is competitive gaming has never been a female-favorite, despite around 50 percent of gamers being women.
Perhaps the competitive edge leads more men into the game, while women tend to play more casual games. This is a generalisation and is not true in all cases, and we have actually seen some professional female players in Hearthstone, Starcraft and both DoTA2 and League have high level female players.
The topic of gender equality will be brought up time and time again, as eSports tries to establish itself further as a legitimate brand. It might be a few years before we see players and teams with women running the show – South Korea might be the home of this change, since eSports is more accepted and honored as a legitimate sport.