A partnership between ESL and Intel is hoping to improve and support the diversity around competitive gaming with the launch of the AnyKey initiative this week.
The core goal of the program is to create more opportunities and inclusive spaces in eSports, and advocate for underrepresented members of competitive communities, such as women, LGBTQ participants, and people of colour.
AnyKey's approach is set to be two-pronged, using original research gathered by Massachussetts Institute of Technology professor T.L. Taylor, and implementing practical solutions with the help of Frag Dolls co-founder Morgan Romine.
“The need for an organisation such as AnyKey is clear, and with the help of Intel we have been able to make it a reality,” said Jesse Sell, Senior Manager of Pro Gaming, Business and Strategy at ESL.
"We’re looking to broach a subject that most shy away from - it’s a daunting road that lies ahead but we have a fantastic team on board and we’re confident we can make a difference.”
A white paper the group released after conducting research at Intel's Extreme Masters San Jose tournament in November last year, found that 15% of League of Legends attendees were female, compared to only 8% of CS:GO's audience.
At this month's IEM Katowice, the Intel Challenge tournament for female CS:GO teams is one of AnyKey's supported initiatives. Others at the event will include the debut of an AnyKey Lounge, welcoming conversation, information exchange and networking.
At the lounge, Intel will introduce the AnyKey code of conduct, which aims to address an inclusion policy for eSports events and online broadcasts, including streaming, and the issues surrounding harrassment that frequently stem from them.