Saturday 14 June 2014

Fear in South African gaming

Over the past few weeks there has laughably been a fairly vitriolic criticism of the
MSSA and the awarding of both female and male gamers medals and of choosing males and females for its national teams.

Of course most of the MSSA's critics quickly ignore the fact that the choice of game titles for the 6th World Championships Baku, as well as who may, and for that matter, who may not, play is decided upon not by the MSSA, but by the IeSF.

Apart from a small minority of female gamers who have expressed their apparent unhappiness over the division of the team along gender lines, the majority of criticism has come from very vocal male gamers. A number of these gamers have stated that they speak for the female gamers (I wonder if they really do), and have made their point that female and male leagues are not to be tolerated!

My friends and I have read much of what has been written on the subject.

It is interesting to see that most of the top female games in international competition, acknowledge the female only leagues as a reason for their success.

But why are male gamers so anti having female gamers play their own leagues?

A number of theories could be put forward, but it is thought that the main reasons could really be:
  1. That male gamers are afraid that a more nurturing environment for female gamers will fast-track female gamers so that they can rival male gamers, and
  2. That male gamers are afraid that if female gamers do have their own leagues and competitions, that the prize money pool will be halved to accommodate female gamers.
Both the above are based on fear, and with fear being one of the most basic of human emotions, it is no wonder why most of the gamers are so subjective on this matter.

It again comes down to seeing the big picture. What do you really want to get out of eSports?

If you feel that eSports is something that you must control, that eSports owes you a living, or that you are entitled to prize money, then you will experience anxiety when new ideas are expressed or when new projects are put into place. It is this feeling of lack of control that makes the subject so emotive among those who are outside of the decision making arena.

However, if you are one of themany that are looking at the big picture of where eSports can go, what eSports can do for those who play, or of the opportunities that eSports can create, then you will realise that the policy of having separate championships for males and females has much to offer.

Let us look at it from a South African point of view. Mixed gaming delivers one winner, one second place, and one third place. On the other hand, separating the competition delivers two winners, two second places, and two third places. This means that you are rewarding twice as many people and you are creating an environment that is far more conducive to growth and development.

Not only that, but if the MSSA awards Protea Colours to one team, then only that team will be able to apply for a sports bursary should the team members go to university. However, should a female team and a male team be awarded Protea Colours, then twice the number of gamers are able to apply for sports bursaries.

Who in their right mind would not want to see as many people as possible benefit from eSports?

Surely only gamers who want to privatise gaming for their own nefarious purposes would be opposed to seeing as many people as possible benefit?

Yes, eSports is still in its early stages of development. Total equality cannot be achieved immediately as financial considerations will always have a bearing on all decisions made, but the process has started.

The process will gain momentum from year-to-year.

One only has to look at how few females participated in the 2012 IeSF World Championships, as compared to the increase in numbers (and standard) at the 2013 IeSF World Championships.

Of course, gaming may even end up like a sport like tennis where there are female, male, and mixed events! Only time will tell.

At the end of the day, every person has the right of freedom of association.

Therefore those who want to be associated to a progressive process can be. Those who do not want to associate to a progressive process can leave it alone.

However, all people deserve to be respected for their own choices, so those who do not agree should show a modicum of courtesy and refrain from harassing those that are making eSports a better place for all.

(Picture taken from the MSSA's facebook page:

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