When we founded AnyKey in 2015, we came up with a 2-year plan that we hoped would allow us to contribute to a more fair and inclusive future for esports. Our plan included two main vectors: research that could build a greater understanding of diversity challenges in the esports landscape, and initiatives that might start to address those challenges. We already knew that the factors leading to an under-representation of women, players of color, and LGBTQIA players on the world’s esports stages would be complex and embedded within a much larger community than esports alone.
But we also knew that there was more diversity in esports and gaming than was being expressed through the most common stereotypes, or seen in the most visible media portrayals. Women, for example, have been passionately involved in gaming and esports since before “esports” was the preferred term. The questions we hoped to answer were not only about how to get more underrepresented folks playing, though that’s still an important goal. We examined how people are drawn into the esports world, what their experiences are like, and how/why marginalized players drop out of the trajectory towards serious competitive play.
Over the past two years, we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish in terms of research and developing a supportive network for marginalized members of this growing community. Since the beginning, we have approached our initiatives as experimental strategies. Our projects encompass a variety of tactics to address certain key problems, and we have been able to assess their efficacy with the helpful insights of our own growing community of Affiliates and supporters. There is still much to learn about how to encourage inclusive online communities, and how to best support the diverse community of players who are excited about competitive gaming. But we are encouraged by the results so far, and look forward to applying what we’ve learned to our future projects.
We invite you to read our full 2 Year Report.