The galling part of IeSF's stance is that the Hearthstone players themselves don't have any sort of antipathy towards allowing women to compete. Male competitive gamers often do not express these chauvinistic tendencies during actual competitions, because the focus is on competing and winning. I've been a fan of the competitive fighting scene for a while, having seen female fighters like Evil Geniuses' Chocoblanka or GamesterGear's Sherry Jenix display the same gaming prowess as their male counterparts. Not once have I seen male competitors cry foul for their participation and, in fact, they welcomed their inclusion. And it's unfortunate, because the IeSF's position serves to add an unfair perception to the video game scene and how it portrays both men and women.
"I think the biggest messages this IeSF crap sends to gamers are cautionary tales," Graham adds. "One is that the drive to force sportsification onto video games in a misguided attempt to garner legitimacy from uninterested people can end up just making things worse. Thanks to these idiots, we have mainstream outlets talking about competitive video gaming in a way that makes it sound misogynistic and stupid rather than welcoming and exciting. Another is that sexism is still a big problem in video game circles. This should be obvious to anyone already, but having it laid out so obviously should make it hit home for even the stupidest denier. We have a lot of work left in rooting out problems like this. I want competitive gaming to be open to everyone regardless of sex, gender, race, religion, nationality, socioeconomic class, etc. And I want people who want anything other than that to leave now and never come back."
If the path towards becoming a legitimate sport means imposing segregation, then why go down this rabbit hole at all? Competitive gaming is in a good enough place to support inclusiveness, thanks to good tournament organizers and supportive game publishers. Next week is the annual Evolution Championship Series tournament, with Capcom tossing in an additional $10,000 for its Ultra Street Fighter 4 prize pool, Razer tossing in $10,000 for Killer Instinct, and Aksys throwing in
Spectators focus on this, not so much the people behind the monitor