The International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) has abandoned plans to host male-only competitions at their World Championships this year, following feedback from the gaming community.
In June, the IeSF finalised its list of tournament events, which include separate games for male and female competitors. Though the list had been in place for just short of a month, it was brought to the attention of the wider gaming community this week, when the Finnish eSports Federation's Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft tournament at Assembly Summer 2014 was revealed as being male-only, due to serving as a qualifier for the IeSF World Championships.
"IeSF shall have two event categories: 'Open for All' events and events that are reserved for women. The events which were initially set aside as the male division will now be open to all genders, and the events which were initially set as the female division will remain as they were," the organisers of the World Championships announced.
"The IeSF Board addressed its reason for maintaining events for women, citing the importance of providing female gamers with ample opportunities to compete in e-Sports—currently a male-dominated industry. Female gamers make up half of the world’s gaming population, but only a small percentage of e-Sports competitors are women. The IeSF’s female-only competitions aim to bring more diversity to competitive play by improving the representation of women at these events. Without efforts to improve representation, e-Sports can’t achieve true gender equality."
This follows pressure from a number of groups, including Blizzard, the developer of Hearthstone.
“One of our goals with eSports is to ensure that there’s a vibrant and also inclusive community around our games," Blizzard said in a statement send to NZGamer.com.
"We do not allow the use of our games in tournaments that do not support this, and are working with our partners to ensure they share the same goal. To that end, we’ve separately been in contact with IeSF and understand that they’ve updated their rules to make it clear that their Hearthstone tournament will be open to all players.”