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khinmarookhin
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注冊日期 : 2023-03-17

Esports could be quietly Empty Esports could be quietly

周五 3月 17, 2023 10:26 pm
Microsoft announced on Jan. 18, 2022, its intention to purchase video game giant Activision Blizzard. The company, publisher of top-selling video games Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush, has been the subject of a series of sexual discrimination and harassment complaints. A day before Microsoft’s announcement, Activision Blizzard announced that it has fired “nearly 40 employees” since July following an investigation into hundreds of reports from employees of misconduct.

California sued Activision Blizzard in July 2021, alleging a “pervasive ‘frat boy’ culture” at the company and discrimination against women in pay and promotion. The suit prompted a walkout by company employees who demanded that the company address the problem.

The turmoil is an echo of the infamous Gamergate episode of 2014 that featured an organized online campaign of harassment against female gamers, game developers and gaming journalists. The allegations are also of a piece with a decadeslong history of gender discrimination in the technology field.

It’s unclear whether or how quickly Microsoft will address Activision Blizzard’s discriminatory culture. Regardless of what happens within the company, the problem of sexual harassment in gamer culture involves the industry as a whole, as well as players and fans.

We’ve been covering sexual harassment and gender discrimination in gaming – and technology generally – and picked five articles from our archive to help you understand the news.

The pandemic has placed enormous pressure on sport. Major competitions and events have taken place without supporters and fans, and vital sponsorship budgets have been drastically cut.

According to one report the value of sponsorship across all sports went down from US$22 billion (£16 billion) in 2019 to US$12.9 billion (£9.4 billion) in 2020.

As one of the most important sources of income for sports organisations, such cuts could have severe consequences for the industry. Fans (and athletes) may well worry about the damage this could inflict on the future of their cherished teams and events.

But the game is not over for sport sponsorship. In fact, our study indicates it could have a bright and lucrative future.

We found that this is partly down to technology, which has already transformed the way sports are performed (changing the design and performance of running shoes or bikes for example) and the observance of rules (as with Hawk-Eye in tennis, or the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in football).

Technology has also provided new channels and formats which have significantly changed the way fans get involved with live sports. Through social media, for example, brands have been able to drastically increase their reach and boost their global image.

And the trend is not over yet. New developments for sports fans include virtual reality goggles, augmented reality apps and digital advertising boards. All present opportunities for potential income streams for major sports organisations. There are entirely new markets emerging too. The eSports market, for instance, is still growing and provides huge potential to reach both new customers and sponsors.

Sexual harassment in gamer culture burst back into the spotlight on July 21, 2021, with news of California’s lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, publisher of top-selling video games Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush, and a walkout by company employees. The lawsuit alleges a “pervasive ‘frat boy’ culture” at the company and discrimination against women in pay and promotion.

The turmoil is an echo of the infamous Gamergate episode of 2014 that featured an organized online campaign of harassment against female gamers, game developers and gaming journalists. The allegations are also of a piece with a decadeslong history of gender discrimination in the technology field.

We’ve been covering sexual harassment and gender discrimination in gaming – and technology generally – and picked five articles from our archive to help you understand the news.

Women and girls experience many obstacles throughout esports environments – both in terms of participation and employment. These include the way they are subjected to gender-based harassmment from male esport players, toxic masculinity, stereotyping and prejudices, as I and colleagues wrote in a forthcoming article for the Sport Management Review.

These circumstances have resulted in lower numbers of women and girls in varsity collegiate esports.

Prior research has established that there are disparities in how women players are treated.

Male opponents and spectators contribute to these hostile esports environments more often than women by insulting, swearing at and belittling fellow gamers, male and female alike. Men have stated that they are significantly more likely – 20%, based on my analysis – to engage in hostile actions.

To overcome the hostility, women gamers will often not use their real names or the voice chat features to avoid being identified as women. A woman professional gamer stated in the forthcoming Sport Management Review article, “Toxicity 100% exists. You have women gamers who don’t identify themselves as being female because of the fact that they don’t want to deal with the backlash in chat. You are seeing chat that is very negative for women, and that’s not fair.”

These acts reinforce an unwelcoming environment for women and girls. Women and girls commonly receive death threats and threats of sexual assault. A professional woman gamer explained in my forthcoming article, “Girls are scared, women are scared to even try to compete or get better because … men are telling them they don’t know how to play the game, and they’ll never be at their skill level. They’re so terrified to even get started.”

When women do reach competitive esports levels and win tournaments, they are often marginalized. An esports player development professional told me, “If a woman is not good at a game, it’s okay, because they’re a ‘girl.’ Not a woman. It’s okay because they’re a ‘girl.’ Like small, meek, young. These are the predatory, belittling language and thought processes that women encounter.”

At the college varsity level of play, a current professional woman gamer explained, “In college I was the token female playing. It was very clear that you can really only have one girl on your team and it was used as a tool.”

Most large sports events came to an abrupt halt during the pandemic, but one category was not only unaffected but enjoyed accelerated growth: esports. Esports is the competitive playing of video games such as League of Legends, Fortnite and Fifa Football.

The audiences for the biggest titles are now enormous. Fortnite alone has around 78 million monthly players and professional tournaments draw in many millions of online spectators. League of Legends World Championship attracted over 100 million viewers in 2019 with a peak of 44 million. In comparison, the Wimbledon men’s final 2019 peaked at around 9 million viewers.

In day-to-day life, you probably haven’t had someone yell at you, “Get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich!” If you’re a woman who plays online video games, though, statements like this, and worse, are all too common.

As COVID-19 has driven much of life online and fueled a boom in online gaming, harassment in these and other internet spaces has increased. Forty-one percent of computer and videogame players are female, down from 46% in 2019.

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Despite its digital nature, online harassment can have real-world consequences for victims, including emotional and physical distress. This has left online gaming companies and players scrambling for better community management techniques to prevent harassment. As a researcher who studies gaming, I’ve found that the right cultural norms can result in healthy online communities, even in the highly competitive world of esports.

The stakes are high. Competitive video gaming, or esports, now exceeds US$1 billion in yearly revenue. Professional, collegiate and high school leagues are expanding, especially as COVID-19 has decreased opportunities for traditional sports.

Elite sports events are still largely closed to the world – but July 2020 has still been an unprecedented month for the global sporting calendar thanks to the world’s first Virtual Tour de France, which – despite the name – was based nowhere in particular, as riders took part from their homes in all parts of the world.

It’s historic, not just because the event brought together the world of esports cycling and the iconic and gruelling race – this was also the first time that women competed in a multistage Tour.

There were some key differences. Rather than being an individual race, it was run in teams, it was a lot shorter than the actual Tour and, most importantly, it involved cyclists sitting on their bikes indoors plugged into the Zwift virtual cycling system. Yet, for the audiences tuning in via YouTube, it’s easy to mistake it for an actual broadcast of a road race, as the graphics emulate the physical map and terrain of the route. Even the broadcast commentary was similar.


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