Esports organization Gen.G enters the world of competitive Fortnite by signing two new players to their roster, both of whom happen to be female.
Esports is growing in popularity at a rapid rate among men and women alike. But despite plenty of female gamers, the industry is still dominated by males.
So far, Epic Games’ Fortnite has made a concerted effort to invite both male and female gamers to participate in their own events and tournaments. Esports organizations, however, have by-and-large built their Fortnite competitive teams with men.
Refreshingly, Gen.G Esports announced their entry into professional Fortnite today with an all-female team. The organization — known for its League of Legends roster and its Overwatch League team, the Seoul Dynasty — has signed Tina “Tinaraes” Perez and Madison “Maddiesuun” Mann to be the first two members of their new Fortnite roster.
Most professional Fortnite teams are comprised of at least six people so time will tell whether Gen.G’s team stays “all-female,” but it’s a big step toward making professional gaming a more inclusive place.
“There aren’t enough words to express how grateful I am that Gen.G recognizes our passion for competitive gaming,” Mann said in a press release.
“I have been competing for over 10 years in multiple esports titles for the opportunity to be matched against the best players in the world,” Perez commented. “With this opportunity, we are going to train relentlessly to be the best players we can be.”
Mann and Perez’s development will fall partially under the purview another prominent woman in gaming, Kristen “KittyPlays” Valnicek. Valnicek has become known on Twitch for her Fortnite gameplay, and will be joining Gen.G as the Head of New Gaming Initiatives, helping the organization with sponsorships, recruiting and community engagement, among other duties.
“There’s so much room for growth across the entire esports landscape and I’m here to help Gen.G take advantage of every possible opportunity,” Valnicek stated in Gen.G’s press release. “This Fortnite team is a perfect example of our organization looking at the industry from a wider scale and identifying an untapped segment.”
Fortnite‘s huge appeal and popularity among young gamers has introduced the once-niche world of competitive gaming to the next generation. With gamers like Ninja becoming a new kind of role model for kids, esports finds itself at a pivotal time in its growth as an industry. Right now, organizations have the power to show that gaming is not a gendered interest and to ensure all different kinds of gamers are represented on the biggest stages. Gen.G’s inclusion of females on their Fortnite roster is an example of esports going in the right direction.