Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus
Recently, some new about one particular League of Legends eSports official tournament created some commotion. In the “LCL 2019 Spring” Russian only event, there was one specific team that suddenly lost their roster, but the management team didn’t want to miss their earned place. Having no squad to compete in the tournament, and with little time to form a new one, they suddenly got one idea. That is to organize a competitive team full of female players and hope for the best. The roster currently composed by TR1GGERED, Merao, VioletFairy, Trianna and Ankote; and is now participating in the tournament above.
Now, why events like these suddenly become news or headlines for the game? To be precise, this is something unusual to see. Ever since the release date of League of Legends in October 2009, there has never been a Female-only team that has gotten the chance to win one of those famous tournaments. By “famous” we refer to those events that are heavily merchandised by Riot and always manage to get more than 100k viewers on Twitch. Due to the recent events, why it always been like this all those years?
To answer that question, we’ll discuss the differences (if any) deeply between male and female players. First, we’ll explore the “evolution” of the term “Girl Gamer.” How the community reacted and what stereotypes evoke when we adopt this term. Consequently, there will be an argument about the myths that always arise when you compare a Female Gamer with a Male Gamer. And lastly, we’ll review the recent “forces of action” that Riot overtook in this Russian tournament when some unusual behavior became noticed by the community.
Girl Gamers Label
Between the evolution of the video gaming industry, the community around the World began to notice a little social phenomenon. It seems like almost only male players became easily hooked in this kind of hobbies. Before the “Console Era,” there were only Arcade Venues where it was familiar to see male kids or teenagers playing all the time. With the transition to Consoles (mostly by Atari and Nintendo), this tradition became somewhat permanent. It was only the boys that wanted their Nintendos or Segas for Christmas, while the girls kept asking for doll houses.
Recent years have completely changed this paradigm of video games. Now that almost all the releases in the gaming industry that appear on the market tend to have more social interactions with other people. This mechanic at first was created in a way to compete against other players. As a result, there was no need for complex AI (artificial intelligence) that always tend to be predictable as time went by. Consequently, the “multiplayer couch,” which means that you can only play with friends in the same place; became almost obsolete thanks to the Internet. These changes made critical improvements to social interactions; because you were able to play and chat with a friend from another region.
These changes in the gaming industry made some modifications to the community. The arising “Girl Gamers” positively saw these social interactions. Speaking about this “Girl Gamer” label, it became normalized when there were more interactions between different sexes in a particular game. Some of the community saw this label as something negative, sexists or connotating degradation. Until this day, it continues to create controversy in the gaming world.
Enter Mrs. Pacman
Let’s take a moment to clear things up a little bit. Even though Males became dominant in the Arcades, in the early days of the video games, there was always some percentage of gaming Women. This “phenomenon” became noticed with the Pacman Arcade Machine, were almost all the players from that fantastic video game were Women. Consequently, a sequel was released with a Female protagonist (Mrs. Pacman). As a result, this change (which was just some red pixels that represented a Ribbon of the Pacman’s model) became well praised. Most noteworthy, this particular game won some awards and became best-selling in a relatively short time.
As you can tell, even in the early stages of the gaming industry, the Female community always had a word in the market. Besides the success of Mrs. Pacman, other video games tried to achieve this endeavor. Sadly, this was not the case anymore. For example, some video games that had the “Barbie” theme was captivating for the girls but weren’t that successful. When the Internet became a part of the gaming industry, some “websites” with some interaction became quickly popular for the Female gamer eye. They only required one account, and you were able to “download” the game in a couple of minutes. For example, “Neopets” consisted of just images of your preferred “pet” and some mini-games to keep you entertained.
Later on, Facebook became a thing, and with it, other simple games captivated some gamers from a long time. Indeed, everyone can remember when “Farmville” became a “thing.” At the same time, these simple games introduce us to the famous Microtransactions that we all dislike. Soon-ish, the smartphones were now the fashion, and with it, there were lots of free games to try out. You probably had like twenty invitations to try out Candy Crush from your friends over the Internet.
To achieve consistent successes in a video game franchise, it’s advisable that we focus on one genre that all the community can easily relate. Some developers focus their attention to those games that have a higher percentage of Female Gamers and code something similar. Furthermore, the gaming industry already has those “magical numbers” that can lead to huge sales. On the first place, we have those “Match-3” (69% of the total audience are Women) types of games. One notorious example of this group is “Tetris.” We all already played at least once this fantastic game and know the great tone that comes with it. And yes, something as simple as this can be appealing to a vast audience.
Subsequently, we have “Family or farming simulators” (69% of the total audience are Women) in the second place. We all know about “Farmville” and “The Sims” that correspond in this category. Peculiarly, both of these franchises have a bad reputation for having shading business models. For example, in The Sims 4, you probably need more than $400 to have everything that this game has to offer. Similarly, Farmville comes with tons of microtransactions that lock almost all the content behind a “paywall.”
On the third place, we have “Casual Puzzles” (42% of the total audience are Women). Being almost in the middle between the overall gaming community, this is probably the best bet. Indeed, every programmer that want to have a lot of success without too much effort should go with this genre. Seems like adding just a couple of not-so-difficult puzzles and make a mobile game is probably the best formula. Now studies like these give us some advantages about what type of gaming community a developer wants to please. Now, why are the Girls Gamers more attracted to these type of games?
*By the way, in case you’re wondering, the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) like League of Legends contains around 10% of Women in their player base.
Motivations to Play Video Games
In this segment, we’ll try to analyze what parts of the video games the community looks “fun” and a drive to keep playing the same thing for a couple of hours (or more). Like the genres, these parts of the video games have a singular place according to their popularity percentages from asking Girl Gamers. Consequently, these elements represent what they think is the best gaming mechanics available in the market. Without delay, the first motivation is Completion (17% of the total 100%); which means “Finishing everything, finding all collectibles and locations.” In other words, this element represents those games that have a lot of items hidden around the map; for example, those open world games. Furthermore, it embodies all those video games that come with hidden characters which require some specific criteria to unlock.
In the second place we have Fantasy (16%); meaning “Immersion in and exploring other worlds.” One perfect example of a game that truly contains these mechanics is without a doubt “World of Warcraft.” In this MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game you create your character from different races and presets. Even more, you can lose yourself in the vast digital maps that show tons of variety. Regularly, we get to see when a gaming community well knows a fantasy theme by the various “cosplays.” Followers of a particular setting create costumes by themselves to recreate features distinctively from one famous character, in a fantasy setting.
Lastly, we got Design (15%) in the third place. This element represents those games that let us “Express ourselves, by building or customizing things.” The perfect example could be “The Sims” and all the expansions that go with it. Some of the famous gaming mechanics let us create a representation of ourselves in the virtual world and recreate our lives. Yeah, that simple, you get to get a virtual job and virtual games to talk before your “virtual you” become depressed.
Video Game Streaming
Besides the motivations above, platforms such as Twitch, create an entirely different “motivation” for Girl Gamers to keep playing the same game. Now besides the fun, you have with playing a video game, your audience over the Internet seems to reward loyalness from a particular game. Most noteworthy, like any other Male Gamer out there, we can divide these streamers into two groups. The first group represents those gamers that have that “professional” material. Hence, those players that are outstanding good when they’re playing their favorite games. Above all, their followers become entertained with remarkable gameplay and skills. The streamers always seem to play with hard difficulties and can finish video games with records.
On the other hand, we have streamers that aren’t that skillful with video games but gain their audience with charisma. Finding these players over Twitch is relatively easy; they usually play the latest games and always keep a close relationship with their chat. Likewise, they use “memes” and some specific platform’s terms (feelsbadman) to make some jokes.
The first part of the group of streamers usually is eSport professionals with some trophies in their shelves. Their audience usually tunes to their streams to gain experience from the represented game and discover some gaming tips to improve. The other part of the group doesn’t need colossal experience about playing video games. Therefore, we get to see Girl Gamers in this spectrum as well. Furthermore, this doesn’t mean that the stream is cringy or boring. Due to their charisma, these girls can entertain their audience between the entire session and usually get loyal followers.
Furthermore, we have Female Gamers representing the video game industry by making amazing games. For example, many games couldn’t possibly be made if not by the hand of Jade Raymond. Because of her involvement with Ubisoft, a series of games from the Assassin’s Creed franchise saw the light of the day. Female workers in the gaming industry have proven that their creativeness is value for the entire community. These days, there are more Female programmers, artist, and writers that produce important video game “gems” that everyone seems to like. Hopefully, with their involvement, we may get to see more prevalence of their gender in the community. As a result, we’ll probably get even numbers between Male and Female Gamers in all the gaming genres out there in the market.
Sexism in Video Games
Sadly, the discrepancies between a Male to a Female Gamer as led some unwanted troubles that tend to grab unwanted attention. Some people tend to bring how the Female body appears in some famous video games on the market. For example, one of the renowned gaming franchises called “Tomb Raider” has always been the target of these people. They think that the 3D model of Lara Croft sometimes reveals unnecessary parts of her body to the sole purpose of Male arose. There are even worse examples, mostly in fighting games when clothes sometimes get torn out and have particular physics to gather attention on the “important” parts. As a result, many investigations appear around the Internet about how this affects the perception of all Female Gamers. Noteworthy, this phenomenon doesn’t seem to “insult” doesn’t seem to matter to them. On the contrary, some Girl Gamers tend to use these Female characters for their model for a possible Cosplay costume.
Furthermore, social gaming mechanics in video games tend to give mixed results. Due to the lack of Girl Gamers in particular games, the “dominant” Male Gamers occasionally behave “wrong.” At the moment, there’s a permanent stereotype that the Girl Gamers tend to underperform in video games. Some online games with huge communities seem to have this problem occasionally. Usually, when a “pack of Males” discovers that they are playing with a Female teammate, things sometimes go wrong. Some gamers start to make fun of the Gamer Girl; they also harass and insult without care. Most of the times they even don’t care if this behavior drives to losing a match or possible bans.
Fight of the Sexes
Competition is always present in video games ever since the arcade machines had the option for a second controller for a friend to join in. Almost all of us have already played with some close friends in the same house or around the glove. Besides this “healthy” rivalry the “one million” question always arises in the gaming community, Are Male Gamers better than Female Gamers? If you take the eSports competition as an example, you can quickly tell that the dominant gender through the ages has always been the Males. In every video game (not just League of Legends) all of the players participating for the first place are Males. And even in the rankings, the dominant gender is always the same.
Who knows if shortly we’ll see something different. Probably some video games with various peripherals (like VR for example) may change the “tides” of the battle. Don’t get me wrong, there are Girl Gamers out there that have better skills than 50% of the player base, but the Male players dominate the top places. Due to the amount of time spent, and the permanence in one single video game is what makes the difference in the long run. Some professional players in League of Legends spend around eight to ten hours daily practicing to get better in tournaments while the Girl Gamers have an average of two hours per day.
Lack of Role Models
We all know a couple of names in the eSport scene that play more than one tournament per year, keeping their performance. There are lots of variety of different types of professional players. Some of them like “farming” and prolong the game until they have all the required items in their builds. While other players hunt quickly for possible kills to increase the gold cap between both teams. These characteristics are deadly when a group has to harmonize with such professionals. On the other wat around, Girl Gamers tend to practice a dominant role in League of Legends, that is the support role.
This gender may popularize such role due to its lack of dominance in games such as League of Legends. Usually, support players only need to keep their carry alive and take less important choices later in the match; hence why the lack of gaming hours has less impact on their performance when the Girl Gamers pick this role.
Besides the lack of hours practicing games such as League of Legends. Do Male players have significant advantages that aid their performance? We all know that elements such as intelligence and making better choices are fundamentals in this game. Physical attributes don’t have meaningful impacts when you’re using the mouse and keyboard to assist your champion in the game. In other words, there are no advantages between genders in video games. Consequently, no one needs to run 100 meters faster to earn “farm” quickly. Similarly, there’s no need to lift some weights to do more damage in a team fight.
Like any administration work available at the moment, you only need your brain to reach for the top, there’s no need to only memorize texts books. Similarly, in video games, it doesn’t matter if you know all the champions and the various abilities that they possess. As a result, the difference comes when you are more precise in landing the abilities and memorize the cooldowns for better use of your champion. Sadly, you can only master such elements with long playing sessions.
League of Legends and the eSports Equality
Even though there are no rules that probit the participation of an all Female team in any tournament of League of Legends, usually there are none. Furthermore, all these years that this game has been supporting the eSports competitions only three all Female teams can be recognized by some loyal eSports fans. Consequently, through history, we can quickly identify the efforts of the organizations such as “Girls HK,” “PandaCute,” “Team Siren,” and now recently with “Team Vaevictis.” Above all, these teams are know from their heavily marketing campaigns and not from their performance in tournaments. Indeed, events such as these tend to emanate wrong signals to the public. As a result, we see Female teams without respect. Consequently, making things worse than they should be.
Taking into consideration the previous part of this article, with the latest all Female team, we get to see some discrepancies. Above all, how their competing teams perceive them in the tournament. Therefore, the Male adversaries know that these Girl Gamers aren’t ready for professional matches. Hence, with the information, they are aware of their rank (which is Diamond), years of experience (two or less), and that almost all of the girls usually play only one role (support).
On the other hand, we have Male participants that have higher ranks such as Master or Challenger, have more than five years of experience, and usually play perfectly two different roles in League of Legends. Even more, it looks kind of looks unfair. For example, it seems like you throw a sheep into a pack of wolves, hoping that it survives.
Now, let’s think genuinely about this situation. What if we add one all Male team in the same tournament with similar characteristics? Male Gamers that have a Diamond rank, they also have two years of experience, and they only focus on the support role. Will they be perceived the same way?
In the concurrent eSports tournament in Russia, there are already reports of disrespect towards the All Female Team. First of all, we already saw that the opponents banned only support champions only against Team Vaevictis. In the same tournaments, we got another “red flag” when a Male team knowing that they were playing against a Female Team, prolonged the game and focussed in the kill score. As a result, we got one match with a score of 52 – 2 at the end of the game.
Again, you think that behavior like this may happen if these professional players were against another Male player?
Riot Special Rules
After all those incidents, Riot didn’t overthink about it and gave warnings to the “unrespectful” teams. Likewise, let’s give some thought to this incident. These teams (ROX and Vega Squadron) didn’t break any rules in a tournament game. As usual, the banned what they thought was the best and prolonged the match like we often see in tournaments. Most noteworthy, there were no special rules against playing with an All-Female Team in this particular tournament. Does it seem like we need some handicap between Male and Female Gamers? Til this day, there are none that we are aware of knowing.
It is always welcome to see new players in the League of Legends community, especially from all the genders. As time goes by, and the gaming world evolves even more to a “neutral” playground, we may see things for the better. Noteworthy, we may get the chance to see Girl Gamers fighting for the higher ranks in League of Legends. As a result, there may be an All-Female Team that rightfully earns its place in an official eSports tournament, and competes for the first place. Above all, we know that physical characteristics in the virtual word are almost not necessary, between genders the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is relatively the same thing.
Hopefully, we’ll get to see some changes in the Male part of the community as well. Furthermore, there’s no need to disrespect a Girl Gamer for her possible performance in a video game. Likewise, accept every player no matter the gender as your teammate and fight for the win as usual. Indeed, the key to success for a better game is that the community itself sticks together with the sole purpose of having fun.
Players out there, if you happen to cross your path with an excellent Girl Gamer, compliment her gameplay and treat her with respect.