Pathfinders

The rise of Pathfinders as UK female esports continues to grow

By William Davis

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Aug 10, 2023

Reading time: 3 min

When the women’s League of Legends Pathfinders tournament debuted in May 2023, it represented another forward step in the growth of female esports in the UK. Now, Projekt Gap, the agency behind the event, has announced future iterations to take place in August and September 2023.

Events like these are good news for the female gaming scene in the UK. Less good news is the recent survey that revealed 49% of female gamers questioned had received hateful messages, 80% of which contained sexual content. This balance between positive and negative occurrences in UK female esports and gaming is interesting to examine.

On August 12 and 13, the open qualifiers for Pathfinders 2 take place, with the main event happening on August 19 and 20. Qualifiers for Pathfinders 3 are scheduled for September 16 and 17, with the main event taking place on September 30 30 and October 1.

The success of Pathfinders 1 creates belief in future events

Pathfinders 1 was a success story. The support the event attracted was impressive. There were more than 900,000 impressions across social media channels in 45 days. In addition, the average viewership was 340, with a total of 750 peak concurrent viewers live on Twitch. Co-streaming with partners such as VeteranEU, EUniverse, and SolaryTV brought the event to an even more comprehensive range of viewers. The overall impact was undoubtedly positive.

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Why Pathfinders is important for female esports

The world of female esports in the UK has evolved in recent years. Talented players are starting to embrace the opportunity of competitive gaming, although there is still some way to go. The number of female esports players is still relatively low when you consider that around 50% of gamers in the UK are female. That being said, the willingness of individuals to exhibit their skills and passion is impressive. The status quo is being challenged, and more females are being inspired to participate in gaming and esports.

Female esports players are also helping to address the issue of equality and inclusion in amateur and professional gaming. They are working to build an environment where everyone is accepted. Events like Pathfinders are vital in making this happen. They provide an accepting and welcoming environment where female esports players can display their skills and show how much they have to offer the world of esports.

The downside for women in gaming

Despite the work of organizations like Projekt Gap and female esports players, there are still issues for women in gaming to overcome. For example, there are threats to women’s mental health in various forms of gaming.

Recent analysis from GambleAware shows that women who play casino games are more likely than men to say their mental health has been affected. This is despite protection from organizations like the GAMSTOP scheme and individual casinos not on GAMSTOP providing self-exclusion tools and safety for players. The same research shows that 40% of women experiencing problems with their casino play do not ask for help because they are worried about the stigma.

In the world of video gaming, women face other issues. As we mentioned at the start of this article, they struggle with harassment which has a detrimental effect on their mental health. The amount of harassment women suffer when gaming varies by genre, but overall, it’s still an issue that must be addressed. Changes are happening as more female developers enter the industry, which should mean female characters are better represented and less over-sexualized. In 1989, only 3% of game developers were female or nonbinary. In 2020, this figure had risen to 30%.

This figure is still below where it needs to be to address the lack of diversity and resulting harassment fully. Events like Pathfinders continue the evolution of females in gaming and esports and help bring equality and respect to gaming and esports. 

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