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Blurring the lines

Written by Joseff Musa

The inaugural Girl Gamer eSports Festival at Studio City saw all-female eSports teams from across the globe descend on Macau last month.

With the success of the inaugural Girl Gamer eSports Festival at Studio City in Macau in September, there is no doubt that the growth of women’s participation and inclusion in eSports is here to stay – breaking the stereotype that gaming is exclusively a man’s world.

The three-day event, organized in conjunction with local eSports promoter Grow uP eSports, attracted all-female teams from China, Hong Kong, the US, Canada, Europe and of course Macau to battle it out for a MOP$40,000 top prize in two invitational tournaments featuring popular games League of Legends and Counter Strike.

In the end, the last team standing was China’s Dream and Reality, who will now look to build on their success on a wider stage.

“Overall, it was a ‘GG’ (good game) – as us players call it – and we enjoyed being here in Macau,” said Dream and Reality captain, 26-year-old Emilie Girido.

Aside from the competition proper, the festival saw a Clash Royal competition held in the ballroom lounge at Studio City with several local Macau players proving quite strong in the highly popular mobile game.

The Girl Gamer eSports Festival was live streamed throughout China on Youku, Panda TV, Sina, Quanmin.tv, Huya.com and iqiyi.com and to the rest of the world through Twitch.tv.

It has been estimated that around 385 million people will watch eSports in 2017 with the global audience growing to 590 million by 2020. The increasing availability of online streaming media platforms, particularly Twitch. tv, has become central to the growth and promotion of eSports competitions.

And with eSports providing another platform for Macau’s economic diversification, it is hoped that it will eventually play a significant role in further boosting the city’s growing economy.

“We see this as something new, something quite different to what we normally do,” says Brian Anderson, a director at Girl Gamer eSports Festival sponsor Kaisun Energy Group. “This is a sport that will be growing very quickly. eSports allows borderless communication, it’s a way for people to meet each other without barriers.’’

Organizers and eSports enthusiasts alike are fighting to ensure the sport’s international audience continues to grow. As pointed out by International eSports Federation (IeSF) Secretary General Alex Lim, eSports is now being spoken about as a future Olympic sport with the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou and more significantly the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris the targets.

He explained during his introduction at the Girl Gamer eSports Festival that the IeSF started official communication in 2012 to be recognized as an International Federation for the discipline of eSports and that they are in constant communication with the International Olympic Committee about eSports becoming a medal sport in Paris. It has already been accepted as such in Hangzhou.

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