An organisation named AnyKey has been created by Intel and ESL with the aim of pushing for more diversity in esports.
The collaborative effort has the tagline ‘For the fair and inclusive future of gaming’, and a statement on the site reads as follows: “Our Mission is to help create fair and inclusive spaces in esports for women and other underrepresented gamers.”
ESL is a major organisation in esports, which saw a majority of its shares bought by Swedish company MTG for around $86m (£61.5m) last year. Senior Editor Ella McConnell wrote on the ESL site: “The AnyKey organization’s core goal is to create more opportunities, inclusive spaces and advocate for underrepresented members of competitive communities such as women, people of color and LGBTQ participants.”
AnyKey is split into a research team and another for implementing solutions. It’s currently focussed on women in esports. Morgan Romine is the Director of Initiatives, she’s the Co-Founder of Ubisoft’s Rag Dolls and the former Esports Director for Firefall at Red 5 Studios. Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor T.L. Taylor is heading up the research team, Taylor is the author of Raising the Stakes: E-sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming.
The Intel Challenge Katowice is a professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament for women, and is one example of the types of initiatives AnyKey is helping to launch. An ESL statement said of the tournament: “The tournament offers women a platform unlike any other, with this year also seeing the debut of the first ever AnyKey lounge – a welcoming space for conversation, networking and information exchange.”
Jesse Sell, Senior Manager of Pro Gaming, Business and Strategy at ESL, said of the initiative: “The need for an organization such as AnyKey is clear, and with the help of Intel we have been able to make it a reality. AnyKey initiatives are well underway and with those that will debut at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice and beyond, we hope to be an advocate for positive change.”