Women in gaming: is the industry changing to become more inclusive?

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There is a rise in female gamers across the world with recent reports indicating that women make up just under half of the gaming market.

The gaming industry may be changing but how is the experience of being a woman in gaming adapting within Scotland?

Cornelia Klefelt has had years of experience in the industry with her team Contemno and has competed internationally playing Overwatch.

 She said when she first started playing she felt quite isolated: “Something we’ve talked a lot about is that we all used to be quite lonely in gaming and didn’t have many female friends who played before we started the team.”

Cornelia continued highlighting the development within the industry to become more inclusive: “The team has been like a space where we as women can be dedicated to gaming but also be friends with other women who share our passion for games. We have also made friends with a lot of other female and non-binary teams.

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“Women in games are definitely more seen these days, there are more female pro and semi-pro players now than just three years ago when we started the team. I think the fact that more teams are being signed by big organisations, like MAJKL being signed by C9, and more female characters in big esports games really helps.”

Cornelia’s teammate Mari Vaskelainen added: “It is incredibly exhausting being a woman in the gaming community, especially in a competitive scene. You always have to prove yourself and even if your performance outshines everyone else, you will still be criticised and discredited. Before I felt so alone because I didn’t think any other girls played video games.”

Team Contemno has won several tournaments, most notably the Dreamhack summer 2017 and 2018 along with the Dreamhack winter 2017.

Louise Buller is also a member of the popular team she said: “I know more women who game and I think many of them are better than my male friends. It wouldn’t be like that if I hadn’t joined the team and made more female friends in other teams.”

Chloe Mcdonald is a Scottish gamer, she spoke about her experience of being a woman in the industry: “Scotland doesn’t have a huge amount of opportunities for gamers, let alone female ones.

“I feel of all places I’ve been it’s among the smallest gaming community. I definetly don’t feel as though I would relate my experience as a female gamer in any way to my geographical location however.”

The group mentioned that their experience isn’t just within Scotland, due to the  tournaments being international they play against competitors from around the world.

Chloe stated that her only experience with a primarily Scottish team has been at university where she played with the NUEL Overwatch team.

She continued: “I think my university experience is a good example of women being treated as equals. I feel myself and all the women there were treated as valued members of the team and that’s a great feeling.”

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