Riot Games have recently announced a new opportunity for female gamers to prove their skills in League of Legends. The Rising Stars is a standalone tournament, and the prize pool is not even close to major events’ prizes, such as Worlds. It’s only a total of $3,000. But the final goal of Riot’s step isn’t just rewarding the winners. It’s also a big step toward including women in esports in general. Their idea is to “promote diversity and inclusion in the eSports community.”
Valorant – Game Changers
This isn’t the first time this company launched events like this. In the past, they’ve been organizers of women’s tournaments for other games, such as Valorant. Not long after Riot Games released this successful game in 2020, they also launched a new program named Game Changers. It’s a competitive season where teams are formed by women and other marginalized genders. The company’s goal was to reflect an incredibly diverse Valorant community by creating opportunities for everyone. Game Changers was very successful, and Riot expanded the idea of inclusion by making a new tournament for women in LoL eSports.
The Dates of the Rising Stars Tournament
This tournament features only female teams, and to participate, the women have to be 16 years old and older. It will be held online on November 26 – 27 on the Nuel Twitch channel. The whole project was made in partnership with the UK esports platform Nuel and Spanish GGTech Entertainment. The Esports Production students will produce the event broadcast in Nottingham.
Riot on their Collaborations
Will Atwood, Riot’s Competitive Experiences Manager for Northern Europe, embraced the collaboration with the Nuel and GGTech saying “Rising Stars, as a local, standalone tournament, is another example of the work that we and our partners can do to promote diversity and inclusion in the esports community. The fact that we’re also able to support students taking their first professional steps in the industry is the cherry on top.” The event focuses on the Northern European region – specifically the UK, the Nordics, and the Republic of Ireland, but is available for other European regions, too.
How to Participate?
If you’re interested in participating, you can register until November 22nd at 23:59 CET. There is a certain procedure to confirm the player’s identity, and the rules are mostly the same as the Game Changers’ rules. The players will have to go through “gender verification,” and this part is done by DiVe (a non-profit organization that promotes gender diversity in Esports). As the Riot Games Privacy Notice states: “Age, residency, and gender will be checked by DivE in order to confirm your eligibility to the Game Changers which is a competition dedicated to women. In particular, DivE will ask you to show documents via webcam as proof of your eligibility. DivE will not keep any record of the documents used to verify your age, gender, and residency.” Though this was created for the Game Changers project, it also applies to the Rising Stars tournament. It was also noted that moderators would be present during the matches to secure and support the players.
Riot Games – From Gender Discrimination to Empowering Women in the Industry
The well-known game publisher has come a long way from its bad reputation concerning female employees. In 2018, there was a lawsuit against Riot games filed in California. Many women who were employed there at the time spoke about their experiences. These testimonies included sexual harassment, unequal salaries, and the impossibility of progressing in their careers or landing a leadership role in the company.
In December 2021, the verdict was finally announced: Riot Games will pay $100 million to current and former employees (women who worked there from 2014 to 2021). This settlement means paying thousands of dollars to each woman, which is a win for them. Riot’s statement regarding this situation says as follows: “We hope that this settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot and demonstrates our desire to lead by example in bringing more accountability and equality to the games industry.” And they actually meant this, as far as we know!
Empowering Women in the Industry
The company currently consists of about 3,000 employees, and 25.8% of them are women. The leadership roles are 21.5% women. The Game Changers and the Rising Stars aren’t the only female tournaments that Riot has launched.
In March 2021, there were two female competitions in Brazil, to celebrate International Women’s month. Riot was one of the organizers. There was also a Gamer Girls Night In (GGNI) in August this year, and Riot Games stood as the headline gaming sponsor. Another way of promoting women in the gaming industry is the partnership with Girls Who Code. In 2021, Riot has trained more than 60 girls in coding and game design through this non-profit organization.
The CEO of Girls Who Code, Tarika Barrett, addressed the partnership with the LoL publisher in a mail to GamesBeat: “Throughout this experience, Riot Games was a tremendous partner — adapting the program to a virtual classroom, making our students feel at home, and connecting them with diverse mentors. Students in the Riot classroom can really envision themselves as future women in gaming tech by the end of the program, which is a win for our girls, our organization, and the gaming community.”
Riot games are now quite successful at including women in esports and the gaming industry. Hopefully, other game publishers will follow up!