Racing game developer SimBin Studios UK announces the world’s first women-only esports racing competition. Women & Wheels hopes to get more women into the professional gaming scene and promises a friendly environment.
SimBin is part of a growing movement to get more women into esports, with ESL and Intel launching the esports diversity initiative AnyKey last year.
Women and Wheels Can Help Make Esports More Inclusive
Announced at the European Women in Games Conference in London, Women & Wheels is described as the “world’s first” women-only esports racing competition. Taking place in autumn 2017 on Steam, the event “aims to provide a supportive, female-friendly environment that encourages more women to play esports while drawing attention to the often hidden role of women in racing and automotive history.”
Prizes include a €3,000 Racing Simulator Chair, 2 Fanatec Racing Wheel and Pedal Sets,and a life coaching programme from Epiphany Junkie. A portion of revenue from the event will also be donated to female-focused charities.
In a press release, SimBin Studios UK’s Allan Speed explains that although the developer has a 50/50 gender balance in its employees, just 7% of competitors who take part in the company’s races are women. Women & Wheels is “building a supportive environment for women to develop their racing skills and confidence,” says Speed.
The Women & Wheels event has drawn support from Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of advocacy group Women in Games who calls the event a “fantastic initiative.” Isaaman also explains that while it’s “a shame” that we need women-only events, they are a “great way” to get women into esports while the sector “fully matures” to include women better.
SimBin also highlights the fact that women stay out of esports for fear of abuse and again, stresses that women-only events are designed to “lead to equal participation and competition with men.” The developer seems to genuinely believe in making esports inclusive, or at least fully understands the hurdles that would-be professional female gamers face, and the Women and Wheels competitoon will hopefully be all the better for it.
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