eSports is seriously big business. According to industry analysts SuperData Research, the eSports industry is worth around $748 million, which will grow to massive $1.9 billion by 2018. With so many games working as eSports, its difficult to know overall viewing figures but as the League of Legends World Championship 2015’s numbers showed, clearly the amount of eyeballs on streams is growing too.
However, as the eSports industry grows in terms of finances and viewership, it will also have to grow to become more inclusive of those who play and watch as well. Two companies hoping to make eSports that bit better for everybody are ESL (Electronic Spots League) and Intel, who have now partnered up to found the ‘AnyKey’ eSports diversity initiative.
ESL and Intel Found AnyKey eSports Diversity Initiative
In a press release, the two organisations describe AnyKey as
“A group focused on supporting diversity in and around the competitive gaming industry. The organisation’s core goal is to create more opportunities and inclusive spaces, whilst advocating for the underrepresented members of competitive communities, such as women, LGBTQ participants, and people of colour.”
Jesse Sell, Senior Manager of Pro Gaming, Business and Strategy at ESL adds that “the need for an organisation such as AnyKey is clear, and with the help of Intel we have been able to make it a reality” and that “we’re looking to broach a subject that most shy away from – it’s a daunting road that lies ahead but we have a fantastic team on board and we’re confident we can make a difference”.
AnyKey will do this via a two-pronged approach. There’s the research side of things which is led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor T.L. Taylor and will put together panels and workshops with experts along with studies and white papers including the AnyKey White Paper #1 – Women in Esports Workshop 2015. The development side of things is led by Morgan Romine, former Director of Esports at Red 5 Studios and Co-Founder of Ubisoft’s Frag Dolls and “seeks to develop strategies and practical solutions to tackle identified problem zones”.
The next AnyKey initiative will be the Intel Challenge Katowice, which is a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament for women, and is being held at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice. The AnyKey lounge (“a welcoming space for conversation, information exchange, and networking”) will debut here and presumably more research and white papers will come out of it too, so we’ll keep you posted on that.