Intel’s UK esports and gaming lead, Scott Gillingham, believes there’s more sponsors, organisers, and companies can do to improve diversity among esports professionals and audiences.
Intel is a major name in esports, not just for its lineup of CPUs and SSDs used within many of the competitors’ systems, but also due to the company’s decades-long affair with the world of professional gaming. The company is keen to build upon the grassroutes UK esports industry, leveraging its community ties to do so, and so we asked Scott Gillingham, head of UK esports and gaming for Intel, whether the same could be done to increase diversity in professional gaming.
“Yes. An example of that is what we did at Intel Extreme Masters. At this year’s Intel Extreme Masters finals, we held a CS:GO final for female teams, and that was actually won by Team Dignitas. Team Dignitas, many years ago, originated here from the UK. The focus on that was, look, we need to showcase female gamers and give them the opportunity to be be competing on the big stage and then inspire more females to get involved in gaming. So that is happening.
“I think it’s been noted that when you look at esports it’s very male dominated. But that is changing. And there are other people, corporations out there doing it. And they’re very much going out and championing women within esports. But again, that’s not just gamers, that’s women within the industry. There’s a lot of that happening.”
Over at IEM Katowice 2019, eight women’s CS:GO teams battled for a prize pool of $50,000. The final saw Team Dignitas take the Intel Challenge crown.
Esports remains a male-dominated industry, despite a considerable, comparable, and consistently growing female engagement in gaming, both competitive and casual. There remains plenty of work to be done to level the playing field to people of all backgrounds to further accelerate today’s trend towards a more diverse industry.
Intel is in a prime position to take its pro-active stance into its esports investment. The company is well-known for championing diversity and inclusion – although its work is far from done yet.
The CPU giant is currently in the middle of a three-year commitment with ESL to invest over $100 million into esports, with Gillingham outlining further efforts across the UK at universities, schools, and alongside major sporting organisations all hoping to bolster a burgeoning esports scene. With a view to put the UK on the map for professional gaming, these isles look to be the perfect place to roll out further diversity efforts inclusive of all – and hopefully we’ll see Intel using its considerable weight to drive that change.