The Rise of Esports
15 years ago, if you told someone that one day people would gather like they do at a Soccer or Baseball game to watch teams compete in video games, you would be laughed at. Today however, E-sports has become a global phenomenon and, according to some estimates, will be worth over $1 billion by the end of 2019. It is no surprise then, that professional gamers can now attend college on an e-sports scholarship, make 7 figures, and fill arenas with tens of thousands of fans to watch them play. Similarly to sports in real life however, there is a dark side to gaming.
For years, gaming has been a male-dominated space, where instances of harassment, sexism, bullying, and even threatening have run rampant against female players. Things got so bad in 2014 that the animosity against female gamers became a movement; known as Gamergate.
Today however, women are making big moves in the e-sports space, and have been making strides to competing with and even overtaking males in the competitive gaming scene.
Who are PandaCute?
About a year ago something rather unprecedented happened; an all girl gaming team was formed. Not only were they formed, but they dominated competition and took home multiple trophies in their first year. They were then signed by a major professional gaming company to a 3 year contract, and have been with them ever since, competing on the professional level. The groups name is PandaCute, and was formed when the leader wanted to play in a local tournament and needed to recruit a team. Their success has not come without trials however, and each member has faced vindication individually as well as a team for the sheer fact that they are women competing in video games.
Shek Hoi-Yee (one of the members) said, “Once I had a guy who came up to me and stuck his finger on my forehead after losing…I was so puzzled. What did I do wrong? Why can’t girls play better than guys?”
Training Regiment and Equipment
As their fame grew however, the team learned to laugh off criticism and harness it as motivation to do better in competitions. They say they now train 10 hours per day, and only take weekends off to rest their tired eyes.