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Overwatch League has no women competitors, can we not make this mistake with VR eSports.

This morning I was shocked to find out that Blizzard's ambitious new esports league Overwatch League had absolutely no women competing.  This news came a little late to me and I had to do some research. Personally, I am not a big fan of Overwatch but I had read some recent stats about Overwatch League.

Overwatch League launched recently with over 400,000 views on the first day. It has been reported that Twitch paid 90 million for the streaming rights. A has a quarter of the Twitch fanbase is women and Overwatch has a very diverse player audience, however, none of the 12 teams in Overwatch League have any women on the teams. Seeing that this is a big-time league with both Blizzard and Twitch behind this it is an outright shame to see this happen.

Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon is one of the top Overwatch players in the world and went on to become the first woman ever to play for a team in South Korea’s top league. Blizzard has tried to push both its Overwatch game and community as one of diversity, yet the pro scene’s most accomplished woman player is nowhere to be found in what is Overwatch's biggest moment. 

I don't play Overwatch but I do play VR games and see VR as the future of eSports. If a problem of inclusion and diversity exists in one of the biggest games being streamed on one of the biggest platforms I do not want to see this passed over to VR. 

Dan Fiden, president of Cloud9, the esports organization that sponsors one of the Overwatch League teams said in a statement to Kotaku that organizations need to play a role in making esports more welcoming and less toxic for players who aren’t men. He believes that involves starting from “the beginning.” 

If it's not “the beginning.” of eSports well it is the beginning of VR eSports and this should not be repeated as that ecosystem grows. Esports, more than traditional sports, have a unique opportunity to really diversify the kind of competitors we get to see. 

There are some that are pushing for more diversity in eSports and those heading the pro NBA2K eSports community have made this a core goal.

"Diversity is one of the most exciting parts to us. You know, you have to have some very serious level of athletic prowess to compete in the NBA. There's a different level of prowess with this. So, males, females, 18-year-olds, 27-year-olds, 80-year-olds, you know, that's the cool part about this for us. Everyone can participate, assuming they have the prowess of being able to play the game at that professional level. For us, it expands our video game audience, and I'm assuming that with the NBA it expands their audience as well, so that's one of the biggest, exciting parts of it for us." -2K's SVP of Basketball Operations Jason Argent

As we grow the VR community I want us all to be aware of not making the same mistakes. As VR eSports grow I want it to grow with diversity and inclusion in mind. To do this it will have to start awareness. Oculus has an amazing diversity program and as the future of VR grows I expect a push into eSport diversity.

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Putting VR into the hands of more people will help diversify the demographics of users but VR evangelists need to be responsible for helping to shape a better future. Seeing first hand how much work Oculus has put into their diversity program has made me not want to see the VR industry repeat the past mistakes of the gaming world. At OC4 the best Echo Arena players had a chance to show us that VR eSports can be the future. Going forward I just want all of us involved in the growth of VR to show that the world of VR is best through diversity and opportunity. 

I really don't have an answer on how to address the future of diversity in VR eSports but I would like to get the conversation started so the future of VR is as bright as we want it to be. 


BestMeta, the world’s first Blockchain based ecosystem for esports talent, launches today

BestMeta, the first cryptocurrency based platform designed for the esports community, is revealed today. BestMeta aims to give the freedom of creative control back to the talent by providing esports personalities, shoutcasters and professional gamers with an unrestricted platform to connect with fans. The pioneering ecosystem offers a sustainable and transparent network for talent and consumers by utilising the power of Blockchain.

BestMeta was born from a passion for esports and a desire to address the issues which threaten to limit the industry. Led by esports superstar TobiWan, the legendary Dota 2 shoutcaster with more than a decade of experience throughout the esports scene, this is a brand that understands esports and its community. Esports is the fastest growing digital industry in the world today, with over 385 million people watching esports events throughout 2016. For talent, including shoutcasters and professional gamers, though, it can be a different story as there is currently no control for the esports community and no transparency for donation and spending within the industry. Content creation for talent can be restricted by industry giants and sponsors, and the talent themselves have little to no financial independence, or the wiggle room to create their own content outside of stifling sponsorship guidelines.Meaning no sustainable income for talent and no rewards or incentives for fans.  


By creating the BestMeta platform, its founders believe they can provide a sustainable ecosystem for esports talents, providing an opportunity open to all talent to create content and the all-important esports community who can be rewarded through BestMeta Tokens. Through the platform’s token system, BestMeta aims to create a streamlined ecosystem where the talent and the fans are seamlessly connected. The platform gives full control back to talent, allowing them to create content how they want, when they want, whilst also allowing the esports community to benefit through their support. BestMeta utilises Blockchain technology which offers complete transparency and full accountability with all spending and donations between content creators and fans. BestMeta tokens can be purchased by the esports community allowing them to exchange funds for interaction with their favourite talents. A little like collecting your favourite sports cards only you actually get something back in return.

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“Utilising Blockchain technology, we harness the power of mass community passion into a trusted, accountable and sustainable esports ecosystem”, says Amy Yu, Managing Director of BestMeta. “BestMeta is the first of its kind to be developed exclusively to support esports talent, born out of a passion to help content creators reach their true and fullest potential.”

Talent can launch their own personalised tokens representative of their brand value, the community is then able to purchase these talent tokens to financially support their favourite esports personalities. As the talents grow in popularity, they will generate greater support, adding to their brand value and rewarding fans for their loyalty and creating a system where the talents and the fans are constantly giving back to each other.

BestMeta’s system of constant cyclical support not only enables the esports talents to earn a regular sustainable income, it offers pay for entry into competitions, opens up funding to explore creative freedoms, and constantly gives back to the fans that are supporting them on their journey. For the community, alongside the value of their BestMeta tokens constantly increasing as their talents grow in popularity, the talent tokens completely break down the barriers between the talent and the fans, offering up unique collaborative opportunities and the option to interact with and support their favourite esports personalities.

“The esports community is one of the strongest in the world and we want to empower that community to achieve great things”, states BestMeta’s Esports Director, Toby ‘TobiWan’ Dawson. “Through BestMeta, we will enable talent the power to build their brand the way they want, their only limit will be their imagination.”

To coincide with the launch, BestMeta will also be producing a brand new 4 episode show called Well Played. Presented by TobiWan, Well Played is the first of its kind to bring together a host of esports pros, content creators, cosplayers, casters and streamers including SirActionSlacks, PyrionFlax, SingSing, Cyanide and OD Pixel for a fun, light hearted, comedy Never Mind the Buzzcocks-style panel show with a mini game storyline. Filmed in partnership with the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York, Well Played aims to bring the esports community together as an inspirational example to content creators of what they can achieve with their own brand through the BestMeta platform, and what the community can expect to see through the token purchases of their favourite talent. The first episode of Well Played will air at 8pm (GMT)Wednesday 24th January on the BestMeta YouTube channel. 

The BestMeta token pre-sale goes live on 15th February, giving the opportunity for talent and the community to snap up BMT at exclusively discounted prices.

Virtual Reality Pulse