Fernando Pereira, global organizer of the GIRLGAMER Esports Festival to be held in Dubai later this year, speaks to Anita Joseph about the girl gaming scene in the region and dispels the myth that gaming promotes a sedentary and inactive lifestyle.
What is your take on women’s gaming in the region?
Women’s gaming is an area that has tremendous potential, but women gamers need to get their voices heard in a much better, more efficient way. The passion and skill shown by women gamers in the region are extremely encouraging, and our research has shown us that these women have the knowledge and the vision to up their gaming standards, what they need is a suitable platform. Also, the gaming scene is currently dominated by men and so women find it difficult to assert themselves. It is here that we have stepped in, hoping to bring about a huge difference to the women gaming scenario in the region.
We aim to develop the whole gaming ecosystem, and bring about major positive changes and impact on gaming in the region. We believe that the younger generation of women must come forward and discover gaming more enthusiastically-there needs to be a lot of fresh blood and newer insights, if women’s gaming is to take off in a big way.
There is a common perception, especially among women, that gaming promotes a sedentary lifestyle and that it causes gamers to become addicts, seldom getting up from their seats for anything else. Would you agree?
Look, gaming is a sport that promotes a lot of mental action-it helps gamers think and take decisions quickly, assume leadership, work as a team, strengthen hand-eye coordination, develop dexterity and agility, and formulate strategies for staying ahead of their opponents. All these are essential skills that are needed even in life, to succeed. So you see, gaming is not a mere waste of time, contrary to what many may think. It helps people sharpen their mental acuity and think clearly.
In a professional gaming ecosystem, there are psychologists, counsellors, nutritionists and even physical trainers, to help gamers develop their physical and mental prowess. All of this will be brought to the spotlight when the gaming scene here takes off in a big way. There are many misconceptions that will be dispelled when that happens.
Where do you think women’s gaming in the region is headed?
Women’s gaming in the MENA region is poised for exciting growth and progress. There is a lot of enthusiasm and fervor, and the women’s gaming event that will be held later this year, will prove to be the starting point. The feedback we have been receiving is positive, encouraging and educative-we will continue to build on this, to make the voice of women gamers heard.
It is our endeavor to create a safe, wholesome and competitive environment for women gaming in the region, so much so that it can compete at the global level. As a result of our efforts, the day is not far off when there will be mixed gender teams from the region competing globally. For this, there needs to be a lot of awareness, confidence building and marketing that needs to be done-we promise to address all of this. So wait for a very, very exciting time ahead!