Sylvia or QueenArrow is well-known is the African E-Sport Community, as a professional gamer she signed to Brutal Democracy. She tells us about her passion and experience in the gaming industry.
Please introduce yourself:
My name is Sylvia Gathoni. I’m better known as QueenArrow within the gaming community. I am a Tekken 7 player and content creator from Kenya signed to Brutal Democracy Esports.
How did you get into the video games industry?
I have been gaming since I was young, but I joined the games industry in a professional capacity in 2017 nearly a year after I started university. I signed up for the Mortal Kombat XL tournament at the inaugural East African Gaming Convention, and I came in fourth. It spurred my interest in playing video games (fighting games) professionally. From there, I moved on to Tekken 7 and the rest, as they say, is history.
In your opinion, what efforts the video game industry can make to attract and retain talents from diverse background and for black women?
I’m going to start this off by giving my observations about the esports industry since that is where I am well versed. Video games, and by extension esports, was not meant for women, more so, black women. The industry was created with straight white men from ages 16-40. We women have had to fight (and continue to fight) for a seat at the table.
It’s not that esports teams have this terrible idea that they are going to exclude diverse talents/women from the space; I think they are just doing things without necessarily thinking about them.
Additionally, they work with what the market is showing them: that white/Asian men between the ages as mentioned earlier are the ones interested in esports and as such, will sign said men into their teams. To remedy this, I think they need to do outreach and start researching more into getting people from diverse backgrounds and also get a diversity trainer who can help them sign deserving people with such experience. Moreover, I feel that there needs to be a different way to market video games/esports in a way that can be attractive to those from diverse backgrounds so much so that they say, ‘Yes, there is a place for me in the gaming industry.’ This ties in with my previous point about signing more black men and women to these major esports teams and brands like FaZe, Cloud9, Red Bull.
Any words of advice for anyone looking to be part of the games industry today?
My advice to those looking to be part of the industry is one, know your shit. That way you won’t take anyone else’s shit. Two, always be hungry to learn and broaden your horizons. Three, keep an open mind as this will help when you’re most frustrated and four, keep your eye on the ball.
You can contact Sylvia via Twitter: @MalikaSiheme98