Women in esports, in a largely male industry, have undoubtedly gone un-noticed. Female gamers just want a level playing field with their male counterparts and are hopeful in the nearest future of the professional gaming space, they hope the term “girl gamer” will soon be obsolete.
In Kenya, the eastern part of Africa, the continent has produced its first female pro-gamer.
Slyvia “Queen Arrow” Gathoni, a law student is not just Africa’s first female pro-gamer but also Kenya’s first pro-gamer signed to a firm.
In an interview with BBC Kenya’s Connect, she spoke on why she loves being a professional gamer.
“When I held a controller in my hand for the first time, I just felt happy,” Gathoni said.
“That’s the best emotion I can attribute it to.”
Sylvia Gathoni, or Queen Arrow as she is popularly referred to, is a professional gamer.
“I was taking a lot of losses, I won’t lie. It’s not like it’s easy as a beginner. But it just spurred my drive to continue because I’m not one to back down from a challenge. That’s for sure,” she said.
“When I first got signed, I was actually overwhelmed by all the attention. At home, a lot of people regarded me as a hero. Like: ‘Sylvia I saw you in the newspapers. What is this you’re doing?’ People are actually interested in what e-sports is.”
E-sports gamers can earn millions in tournaments. A gamer can take on another gamer or compete in a team.
Gathoni said she wants to show people that there is more than one path to the societal definition of success.
“It’s very unconventional because video games are thought to be a child’s or a man’s thing. And here I am, a woman who is in a space that is male-dominated. It makes me feel good because I feel like I am making a difference,” she said.
The global e-sports industry is estimated to grow to €1 billion (Sh114.4 billion) by 2020.
“You can make a living by being a professional gamer because it is not just the salary that comes from your team,” Gathoni said.
She speaks of endorsement deals and being the face of a brand.
“If you want to be a professional gamer or a race sports athlete, you have to have an open mind in everything that you do because I have encountered this perception that gaming is a thing for idlers or people who don’t know what to do with their lives. After that make sure you have lots of fun,” Gathoni said.
Gadget Africa also caught up with Kenya’s top Tekken pro-gamer, on her journey in the world of professional gaming, her life as a law student, the Kenyan e-sports industry and her aspirations in the unfolding career.
Source: Gadget Africa
BBC Kenya Connect