This article is in partnership with Verizon.
Video gaming isn’t just about decompressing in your sweats, or logging virtual social interaction hours anymore. It has become a legitimate and lucrative career option. In fact, video gaming is the largest gaming industry in the world, with the U.S. market expected to surpass $65 billion in 2021. Yes, $65 billion, with a “B.” And multicultural women are pulling up a seat to cash in.
Gaming can be extremely lucrative, but for years, its highest earners have been white men who’ve dominated the industry. Now, female gamers from multicultural backgrounds are rising among the ranks and changing the face of the industry.
Well-known female gamers like GlitchxCity, starsmitten and Hafu are helping to level the streaming field and have each had a hand in shifting some of the more challenging aspects of being a female gamer. They’re rising among the ranks in gaming, leading the charge as role models for other up-and-coming female gamers, and answering the call to create community over competition among females in the industry.
Courtney aka GlitchxCity is a gamer, music remixer/producer, and Twitch streamer. She first gained popularity for her remixed Pokemon tracks and is inspired by video games and pop culture. Her creations cover a range of genres, including ambience, orchestral, lo-fi hip-hop, and electro house. She has a massive online audience, with her YouTube channel garnering over 300K subscribers and more than 150 million views.
On Changing The Game:
“For me to be a woman in gaming, it has been an incredible experience so far,” says GlitchxCity. “It's definitely a living and breathing thing that I'm just excited to be part of, and just share my passion [for] gaming with the world. If I could change one thing about the gaming industry, it's that I want to see more marginalized groups in leadership positions—and more Black hairstyles in game customization,” says GlitchxCity.
“One way that we can help marginalized groups in the gaming industry is definitely [to] give them a voice and a platform to speak about their experiences and share their story with the world. The more people hear the struggles that their peers are going through, the more [the] call-to-action will be to fix that.”
Celine aka starsmitten rose to fame thanks to the gaming skills she displayed streaming on her Twitch channel, where she currently has over 260K followers. Her skills have also earned her more than 96K YouTube followers with over 7 million views. She has been posting regularly since mid-2018 when she started out with a Fortnite gaming broadcast. Her following skyrocketed thanks to her live League of Legends gaming sessions. She’s now often on a late night degen VALORANT grind with other streamers.
On Building Support Systems:
"...The best way [to support marginalized genders and People of Color in Gaming] would be through representation, acknowledgement, and to stand up for each other. Being surrounded by people who are able to empathize with me or understand what I'm going through [has] helped me tremendously. My advice to young gamers is to try to build a really healthy support system, because I think to endure things alone is pretty hard.”
Hafu is a five-time legend Hearthstone player, finishing at rank #7 during season 3 and peaking at rank #2. She is currently known as one of the top Among Us players in the world, for her various achievements in World of Warcraft and Bloodline Champions, and for being the #1 Teamfight Tactics (TFT) player in the public beta. She’s amassed over 290K YouTube subscribers with over 63 million views.
On The Power Of Representation:
“I love video games so much, it's such a huge part of my life...I truly hope to stay in this industry, but at times, it felt like I was unwelcome,” says Hafu. “But, as things have changed and moved forward, I don't feel that way anymore. I feel welcome. I do belong in gaming and I hope other girls feel that way, too. Honestly when I first started in the industry I didn't realize how [much] representation mattered. You need to see other people who look like you make it, so you know that it is an option and that you're welcome. I'm really proud to be that person for young girls out there.”
Courtesy of Verizon
More Growth, More Opportunities
The gaming industry still has disparities in representation. But, more growth in the industry means more room for opportunity. Despite dealing with challenges like fear of being judged and, sometimes, outright harassment, more and more Black and multicultural women are picking up their game controllers. They’re climbing to the top of the leaderboards and leaning into the impact their presence has on the future of the industry. They’re making friends, building community, showing appreciation for each other’s work, and normalizing connection over competition. They’re also reaching back to help open doors, shatter ceilings, dissolve stereotypes, and make access easier for current and potential multicultural female gamers.
Continued innovation in the gaming space is also making it more inviting, and more accessible as a career option. Gamers can enjoy better on-the-go access thanks to cloud providers becoming the new must-have game console (and, perhaps, offering an alternative to standing in long lines to purchase expensive/exclusive at-home consoles?!). And 5G technology addresses what gamers refer to as “lag,” the amount of time between a player action and the reaction of the game console. The benefits of newer and faster technology are creating a lower bar of entry that could be beneficial to potential industry newcomers.
So how can the industry itself meet gamers halfway? Companies can start by striving for a broader representation of genders and multicultural groups within the ranks of their executive leadership and staff. They can reward and recognize female gamers more publicly to help break down the myth that all gamers are men. And they can work to develop industry-wide initiatives that lift up marginalized groups and amplify trusted Black and multicultural voices that are ready to change the game.
Verizon Gaming is highlighting multicultural female gamers and streamers with its “She Got Game” campaign. Visit Verizon.com/gaming to learn more about its efforts and how 5G Ultra Wideband is the best connection for all your gaming and streaming needs.
Featured image courtesy of Verizon