Gender Differences in Esports

The “gamer” stereotype that video gamers are aggressive, lonely, or unmotivated has begun to be disproven. Instead of video games interfering with “real life,” those who play video games have the opportunity to convert their abilities into a full-time career.



Not only is it possible to earn money by playing video games in contests or by live-streaming the experience, but the esports industry appears to be thriving. The esports sector, which began in 2006, expanded to over $900 million in 2018, and 29% of followers aged 13 to 40 first began watching broadcast competitions in 2017.


Although esports is fast gaining popularity, women’s presence in the sector is not keeping pace. Is the lack of female representation in the field of professional gaming due to a general lack of attraction to women, or is there a more nuanced explanation? To discover more, we evaluated the top 500 esports champions, the 25 most-followed male and female Twitch streamers, and the answers of 388 female players in order to comprehend the significant gender gap within the video game community. Continue reading to see what we discovered.


Heavy Gamblers

If anybody ever told you that being extraordinarily great at games such as “Madden” or “Mario Kart” would never help pay the bills, they lied.



In actuality, professional gamers don’t even need to be extremely great at any one game in order to convert it into a lucrative side employment or even a full-time career. Streaming their game streams, hosting their own esports games, or betting on video games may earn players actual money (not unlike live-action sports). But if you want to make a lot of money, championship gaming is the way to go.


While different championship titles may provide competitors with varying degrees of monetary awards, Epic Games’ “Fortnite” competition offered $100 million in prize pools throughout the 2018-19 season. Prior to it, Valve’s “Dota 2” championship held the record for the largest prize pool in history, at over $38 million.


With so much money at stake, it’s no surprise that players are ready to emotionally and physically prepare for a crack at the big dollars. For female gamers, there is only one issue: they earn far less on average. Only one woman was ranked among the top 500 highest-earning participants in esports competitions. Scarlett, the first female winner of “Starcraft 2” and a member of the transgender community, has won championship awards of over $296,000. KuroKy, N0tail, and Miracle- have all received at least $3.7 million in championship cash, with KuroKy earning the most at $4.1 million.


Scarlett (whose true name is Sasha Hostyn) does not appear until position 301 when the players are rated according to their earnings, regardless of gender. Although there are normally no restrictions prohibiting championship teams from include women in their rosters, the practice is nevertheless prohibited. Some club managers are concerned that having a woman on board would be perceived as a “PR gimmick,” while others have stated that picking a female player is not always based only on her ability to play the game.


Constructing an Audience

It may be enjoyable to play video games, but there are millions of individuals who also like watching others play video games. Amazon’s Twitch service receives as many viewers (or more) than nationally televised networks such as CNN and MSNBC.



With PlayStation and Xbox supporting Twitch broadcasting, the free-to-use network continues to increase in popularity among both viewers and broadcasters. Then why not? With built-in advertisements and the possibility of sponsorships, playing video games for an audience may earn you more than just a reputation; it can also result in a substantial income.


But the fact that it seems simple does not imply that it is. Some players spend months or even years streaming to no one in order to create an audience, and viewers may interpret male and female Twitch streams differently.


Ninja (almost 12.9 million followers), shroud (5.1 million), Tfue (4.2 million), and summit1g (nearly 3.5 million) greatly outrank pokimane and KittyPlays, who have 2.7 and 1 million followers, respectively. Ninja and shroud have alone amassed more followers than the top 25 female streamers combined. Ninja (actual name Tyler Blevins) earns over $500,000 each month playing “Fortnite” for his millions of admirers. Shroud left playing “Counter-Strike” professionally to make an estimated $100,000 per month through streaming. In 2018, Ninja was criticized for saying that he did not play with female gamers on his Twitch channel on purpose, but he later sought to clarify that this was done out of respect for his wife.


The Gender Divide

There may be more to the tale than the possibility that women are less engaged in professional gaming and internet broadcasting than males. 57% of the over 380 female gamers we surveyed acknowledged to experience harassment while playing video games after disclosing their gender.



Even at an early age, female gamers are sometimes advised to disguise their actual identity from other players in order to prevent verbal and emotional harassment claiming they are inferior to male players or don’t deserve to participate. We discovered that sexist remarks (53%), derogatory comments about their skills (45%), and profanity (41%) were among the most prevalent kinds of harassment aimed at female players.


Consequently, what options do female players have to avoid offensive attacks? Nearly three-quarters of gamers block or mute toxic people, while others avoid verbal or visual interactions with other players (70% and 57%, respectively) or choose gender-neutral screen names (50%). Video game harassment may occasionally take a terrible turn. In 2018, 25-year-old gamer Tyler Barriss pled guilty to “swatting” another player, resulting in the death of a young man. Swatting is the continuing “prank” of contacting the police on a fellow player and accusing them of committing different crimes. Designed to lure the authorities into their homes, often live and on camera if the victim is an internet streamer, swatting has become a serious and sometimes lethal type of video game harassment.


Altering the Cultural

Regarding the integration and treatment of female gamers, the video gaming community has a long way to go. Women who play video games professionally or competitively frequently report feeling unwelcome and disrespected by their male peers. And if these concerns are not addressed, the setting may soon become emotionally abusive if harassment is present.



After exposing their gender online, more than one-quarter of female gamers were accused of hacking or cheating, more than half were requested for sexual favors, and more than two-thirds contemplated leaving a gaming session.


Consequently, what can be done about it? 71% of women polled agreed that video game makers should be accountable for lowering the incidence of online harassment, but it remains to be seen how seriously they take on this responsibility.


The Development of Gambling

The community of video game players is changing, and the business is also evolving. What was formerly viewed as a more lonely activity has evolved into a new world of players and spectators who have turned the act of gaming into a job. Players now have the opportunity to engage in worldwide championships with cash prizes and sponsorships worth millions of dollars.


And while many of the stereotypes around video games have faded, one significant flaw remains: women and girls who play video games continue to face widespread harassment and abuse. The majority of female gamers we studied reported feeling harassed in some manner when other players discovered their gender, with the majority of this harassment consisting of sexist comments and profanity. According to research, encouraging young girls to play video games is beneficial for their development, and some independent game creators are aiming to eradicate harassment and bias towards female players from the bottom up.


Methods and Restrictions

On January 4, 2019, we collected data from about the overall financial earnings of competitive esports players. Additionally, on January 4, 2019, Twitch follower numbers were removed from In this study, only male and female-run Twitch channels were included. The follower count ranking excludes channels owned and controlled by radio stations, esports teams, or video game companies (such as Riot Games). A disadvantage of this data is that follower counts and total profits may have changed since the dates they were collected, which might impact the ranks of the highest-earning esports players and the majority of Twitch streams.


We polled 388 female gamers using in order to determine the incidence and intensity of online harassment. To qualify for the poll, respondents had to be female and play video games an average of six or more hours each week. To confirm the accuracy of this data, individuals who did not correctly answer an attention-check question were eliminated. The primary drawback of the offered survey results is the reliance on self-reported data. Self-reported statistics are susceptible to various flaws, including, but not limited to, overstatement, telescoping, and selective remembering. These claims have not been evaluated for statistical significance and are based only on means.

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