Female gamers in Malaysia want more chances to flourish and be a part of the lucrative esports scene.
According to player Sofia A. Baozhai Lee aka Kuromi from team Madness Aubrey, there aren’t many events to promote the talents of female gamers.
The 21-year-old full-time esports gamer says she entered the UniPin Ladies Series MY/SG 2022 because it’s one of the few female-only tournaments in the country.
The prize pool for the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang competition is RM7,500, with play-offs planned from June 22 to 25.
“I want to rack up achievements and gain as much experience as I can while competing as a player with a team.
“My own personal competitive experience so far has been mainly from training sessions or scrims (friendly matches),” she says.
Fellow Madness Aubrey teammate, Iffara’Adira Md Haidi or Hyolyn, also joined the UniPin tournament to hone her competitive skills.
“I train on my own just to warm up or test new heroes and study them.
“As a team, we train by playing ranked or classic matches and scrimmages against other teams,” says the 19-year-old student.
Another issue, according to Sofia, could be that some female gamers lack the courage to take part in competitive esports.
“That can be fixed. Just believe in yourself,” she offers, adding that the competitive gaming scene is challenging for everyone, regardless of gender.
Andrew “Sir Cloud” Cheong, an esports caster and creator of gaming content, also believes that all players have an equal opportunity to excel in competitive gaming.
“In gaming, gender doesn’t matter. It’s how you think and react to your opponents or challenges that is important,” he says.
Cheong formerly managed PowerPuff Girls (PPG), an all-female esports team, which won the PUBG Mobile National Championship Malaysia 2021 – Ladies Battle in 2021, netting RM5,000 in prize money.
He encourages female esports athletes to go beyond just practising and competing against other female teams.
“Some teams create a bubble around themselves. I feel they should break out and push their limits by practising against male teams,” he says.
That approach has been adopted by Team Red Roses. Team member Nur Afrina “Pika” Syuhada, 22, says preparations for the UniPin tournament include scrimmaging against male teams and taking on female teams from Indonesia and the Philippines.
According to Nur Afrina, there are other problems that women face in esports, one of which is the platform being hijacked by male players.
“There are irresponsible parties trying to take advantage of the budding female esports scene by using ‘jockey services’ or having male players compete as female gamers in online tournaments,” she shares.
Though Cheong is not aware of any such incidents, he says they could occur in smaller- scale tournaments in particular.
He adds that this is a difficult challenge to address because the event is online and there is a lack of manpower.
“I find it appalling. I don’t agree with any form of cheating. I believe these people may just have been motivated by the prize money,” he says.
The UniPin tournament recently concluded its qualifying round.
Of the top eight teams that have qualified for the playoffs, five are from Malaysia, namely Rose Ophelia, HomeGirls, Red Roses, Madness Aubrey and Revolta Siren.
They will be going up against three teams from Singapore – Forsaken Odyssey, Reborn and GGFE SG.
Deborah Imanuella, UniPin community senior vice president, says the tournament is the company’s second all-female event, with the goal of providing a platform for female gamers.
“By providing a stepping stone that makes female gamers feel comfortable competing, we believe we will encourage them to perform even better on a bigger battleground, including the UniPin SEA Cyber Arena,” she adds.