Anykey’s latest whitepaper focusses on the diversity in eSports

AnyKey is an advocacy organization dedicated to supporting diverse participation in esports. We hope to foster welcoming spaces and positive opportunities for competitive players of all kinds.

Our current research and initiatives are focused on women in esports — from providing competitive gamers with resources, support, and opportunities, to collaborating with women in the industry, from sectors like game development and broadcasting, to build better gaming spaces. Women have long played an important role in competitive gaming and we are excited to promote, build on, and grow their involvement in the scene.

But AnyKey is committed to a long-term vision of a gaming community that is welcoming to all players, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, religious belief, background, or physical appearance. We believe it is possible to be fiercely competitive and embrace positive play at the same time. We hope to pursue research and initiatives that will help to build a gaming culture in which players are noted for their skills, not personal traits.

Our team is made up of industry professionals working in esports, as well as researchers focused on competitive gaming. Morgan Romine, Director of Initiatives, is known for her previous game industry work as co-founder and captain of the all-women professional gaming team, the Frag Dolls, and as the Esports Director for Firefall at Red 5 Studios. T.L. Taylor, Director of Research, is a Professor at MIT and sociologist whose work has focused on gaming. She is the author of Raising the Stakes: E-sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (MIT Press, 2012) which examines the rise of e-sports and she is currently at work on a book about live-streaming.

This project is made possible by a generous partnership between Intel and ESL.

Anykey has been one of the industry leaders in analyzing and participating in the discussion around eSports. Their white papers and reports provide deep, factual insights into the world of eSports. Ranging from topics of viewership, prize pool numbers till the treatment of women in eSports; Anykey has been instrumental in stirring up debate on a number of topics.

They recently released their fourth white paper. The white paper focusses on the diversity in Collegiate eSports.The White paper named Diversity & Inclusion in Collegiate Esports Whitepaper was released a few weeks ago by Anykey.

“Universities offer powerful opportunities for esports to address diversity and inclusion (as understood in terms of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, etc.). From formal structures and tools (Title IX, codes of conduct, institutional diversity commitments) to social engagement and cultural practices (welcoming spaces, competition in a fun setting, sharing your fandom with others), campuses offer tremendous possibilities for esports to grow and support diverse and inclusive participation.

Some key points from the White paper as stated by eSportsObserver :

  • Women have a long history of participation in collegiate esports in a wide variety of roles, including fans, players, and organizers.
  • Title IX, a law focused on prohibiting discrimination in federally funded education programs, applies to esports and should be kept in mind by collegiate esports organizers.
  • Collegiate programs should support a wide range of ways to play, including social, “low-risk” events to encourage participation from newcomers.
  • Many student-led clubs already focus on diversity and inclusion, and esports clubs can cooperate with these efforts to further campus-wide drives.
  • Be proactive and forward-thinking about inclusion efforts, whether that means providing laptops to those that can’t afford them, or simply reaching out to groups that you haven’t in the past.
  • Have structures that encourage creating welcoming spaces, including a club Code of Conduct, new officer training, and social activities for newcomers to meet other members.
  • Consider allowing co-ed teams rather than having separate tournaments along gender lines. Think about “meaningful co-ed” opportunities—not quotas—that reinforce existing gaming and campus activities (like co-ed intramural sports).
  • Support non-player career development: coaching, broadcasting, organization, and leadership. All of these skills translate into multiple industries beyond college and esports.