The rise of female streamers: one gamer’s mission to making esports a viable career for women in South Africa

The thought of women competing in esports tournaments and subsequently making a living streaming videos, I mean serious money, would have seemed crazy until now

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South African news

PREVIOUSLY the preserve of men, online game streaming has not only changed the video game industry for the better with the most popular streamers earning as much as $50,000 per hour. Thanks to professional female pro gamers like Sasha ‘Scarlet’ Hostyn and Katherine ‘Mystik’ Gunn each raking in over $200,600 and $122 000 in overall earnings, the world of live game streaming is now experiencing a considerable surge in both female fans and players, with the latter accounting for 35% on Twitch alone.

In case you are wondering how are things faring on the local front, Cape Town based gaming enthusiast Julia ‘Bish’ Robson has managed to prove that esports among women has now become a thing in South Africa just as it’s slowly proving to be a viable career for some. “Although the South African industry has grown in leaps and bounds, it still has a long way to contend with other, more established gaming countries,” she says. While, just like in most male dominated industry, women may have to work twice as hard in order to get noticed, she believes great strides can be achieved by those who are able to prove their worth “based on their work ethic, abilities and skill set”.

Opening up new possibilities for female streamers

Robson, an ambassador for Acer Africa and Predator Gaming, has a passion to not only to help develop and propel the South African gaming industry to greater heights. She’s passionate about contributing positively to the inclusion of women in esports and as such she formed an all-female CSGO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) team in 2017. “As a gamer, I believe that skill is not determined by gender, but by your passion,” she says. Created to counter the lack of professional female players in South Africa, the team has since been acquired by Energy Esports and is considered among the country’s first all-female CSGO teams, believed to have come shortly after the formation of Amaryllis Gaming, a brainchild of one Ashley ‘Brinker’ Groves.

Acer Africa gaming ambassador Julia Robson is passionate about making esports more inclusive for women.

Robson shares six must-watch trends on the global gaming stage:

  • Thanks to the rise in popularity of the digital esports viewing, fans are moving to spectate esports tournaments and events in physical locations – bringing even more revenue opportunities to sponsors and increasing the commercialization of esports. 
  • Esports teams, particularly in America are now a venture capital backed industry, esports teams now give naming rights to the investor, similar to that of national sports team.
  • Esports viewership is experiencing an increase in female fans and players – from pro stage through to enthusiasts. 
  • Fortnite is one of the most commercial games in the world, breaking world records in downloads as well as players.  
  • Epic Games moved over to the mobile gaming platform, giving users mobile access to Fortnite players. 
  • Twitch.tv is deemed the biggest gaming stream avenue ahead of YouTube site. 

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