The creators of some critically acclaimed racing games, SimBin, has announced Women and Wheels- the first women-only Esports car racing competition. The competition will launch this coming fall season and its goal is to provide a supportive, female-friendly environment that encourages more women to play Esports while drawing attention to the often hidden role of women in the racing and automotive industry. A percentage of revenue will be donated to female-focused charities.
Allan Speed, SimBin Studio head had this to say: “We’re thrilled to announce Women and Wheels. As a developer, we’re acutely aware of the low female participation in Esports. Around 7% of our race competitors are female. Unbelievably, that’s probably over average. We want to see more women enjoying the thrills and spills of the virtual track, and Esports in general. At SimBin we’ve achieved 50/50 gender balance in our studio workforce, so we thought we’d try to encourage more women to compete in our competitions too. We spoke to Marie-Claire Isaaman (CEO, Women in Games) and Dr. Jo Twist (CEO, Ukie), who both thought it was a great idea. Then we got positive feedback from some well-known car manufacturers and a host of great sponsors and advocates got on board. Everyone could see that Women and Wheels is all about doing good while feeling good. It’s got high-octane racing fun, it’s building a supportive environment for women to develop their racing skills and confidence, and it’s donating to charity too. It’s a real game changer.”
Just how big is Esports getting you ask? Esports is one of the fastest growing areas of entertainment, predicted to be worth over $1.5 Billion by 2020. One controller, one console, same spec equipment. Equal playing field right? Well technically yes and no. What do the numbers look like? (Another great question you ask) Approximately 50% of video game players are now female but that number drops dramatically to 15% for Esports viewers and only 5% for Esports players. Professional Esports has major earnings gaps between men and women, plus misogyny and online bullying are considerable problems.
“Women and Wheels is a fantastic initiative”, said Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of advocacy group Women in Games. “It’s a shame we need women-only teams, leagues and competitions in Esports but until the sector fully matures, becomes more gender balanced and takes steps to eradicate online bullying and misogyny, they represent a great way to get more women involved by building communities, confidence and skills. It’s not true that women aren’t competitive, or that they don’t like cars. The CEO of General Motors is currently a women, and the founder of Autoweek, Denise McCluggage, used to race Ferraris! Esports has great potential to level the playing field for women in competitive sport, and I think Women in Wheels is progressive step towards achieving that.”
Mathias Lauda, Racing Driver for Aston Martin in the FIA World Endurance Championship, added: “I am delighted to be an advocate for Women and Wheels, it’s a fantastic and much needed innovation. As a professional racing driver, I’m all for getting more women into both Esports and motorsports. The Woman and Wheels competition is a great way of encouraging females into a traditionally male dominated space”.
I personally am all for women getting more involved in the Esports and the equality being there. My wife loves to play video games and I know my colleagues wives are the same. The questions I ask now to all the female gamers out there, do you feel a women-only competition will help or hurt the persona of a female who wants to get into gaming? Give us your feedback.
UE Gamewire Team