Well that’s a little annoying. Yesterday it came to light that the International eSports Federation had a rule in place where participation to the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft event was only open to male Finnish players. With that I was going to run with a little feature sharing my opinion on it all and how I think this is wrong, blah blah blah. But then this morning the IeSF decided to overturn the rule. Dammit.
This morning the IeSF decided to overturn the ‘men-only’ rule that they had in place for the Hearthstone event as well as their DOTA 2 event which effectively segregated both male and female players in the tournament. This was because the controversial choice to device players by gender prompted action from Blizzard and the Finland team.
Initially, the reason for this division was “part of [IsFA’s] effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports.” But there was one problem: unlike legitimate sports where male and female athletes have both different body weight and strength, in eSports it doesn’t matter if you’re a ten-foot bloke or a four-foot lass, gaming skill comes from the player themselves, through their hands and their minds.
Thankfully the IsFA has decided to overturn the rule thanks to interjection from both Blizzard and the Finnish eSports Federation. In response the IeSF wrote in a statement, “The IESF has listened to the gaming community and has carefully considered their opinions. Upon hearing these concerns, the IESF convoked an emergency session of the IeSF Board to respond.”
As a result the IeSF will now have ‘open for all’ categories, for Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, and Ultra Street Fighter IV tournaments. This means that female gamers who wanted to compete as an equal can now apply to compete in said events against male players. The female-only events will remain, however.
Speaking with Eurogamer, general manager of international relations at the IeSF Alex Lim discussed the reason behind the division of male and female players which is a fairly interesting read and I suggest you go and check it out. Ultimately however, Lim did apologise on behalf of the IeSF for its decision to divide both male and female players and admitted that mistakes do happen.