‘Male Only’ Hearthstone eSports Competition Angers Gaming Community

A requirement for Finland's Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone competition has outraged the gaming community. According to this PC Gamer report, an announcement page for the Hearthstone qualifier reveals that "The participation is open only to Finnish male players." The qualifier's organizers, the Finnish eSports Federation, are taking a lot of heat for this requirement and for their explanation why they have decided to separate and/or exclude players based on gender. But apparently, the decision isn't theirs – it's the organizers of the IeSF World Championship.

"Your information is indeed correct, the tournament is open to Finnish male players only," said Markus "Olodyn" Koskivirta, head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier, in a statement to PC Gamer. "In accordance with the International e-Sports Federation's (IeSF) tournament regulations, since the main tournament event is open to male players only. This is to avoid possible conflicts (e.g. a female player eliminating a male player during RO8) among other things."

Koskivirta's explanation did nothing to placate those questioning the requirements and the exclusion of women altogether from playing certain games like Hearthstone.

The International e-Sports Federation, is a global e-Sports organization based in South Korea that is comprised of e-sports associations from all around the world. The IeSF's sixth World Championship will take place this November, in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Interestingly enough, women are allowed to play Starcraft 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 against each other, but are not allowed to play Dota 2, Hearthstone, or Ultra Street Fighter IV in the upcoming World Championship.

In a reply to a Facebook comment asking why men and women had been divided for the competition, the IeSF responded with the following:

"The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports."

PC Gamer has a lot more on this story here, with even more seemingly ridiculous excuses as to why women and men cannot compete against each other and why women are excluded from playing certain games.

If there is any good news from this story it is that IeSF claims it is "absorbing" all the feedback on this issue that it has received over the last couple of days:

"In the last hours we have received lots of feedback from your regarding the IeSF 6th e-Sports World Championship, particularly regarding the male/female tournament division.

We want to thank you for your interest in e-Sports and for sharing your opinions. The e-Sports community opinion is always important to the IeSF.

Our top priority is to promote e-Sports in the best ways we can. We believe that listening is important, are we're now collecting your opinions from the social media, and we will update soon."

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "We have groups like the ECA but they only seem to want to protect the publishers."

    If you mean the ESA, well yeah, that's what the organization was specifically founded to do.

    If you actually do mean the ECA though, you're completely wrong.


    Andrew Eisen

  2. 0
    Neo_DrKefka says:

    It’s still the law and the fear of litigation often prompts companies to simply comply rather then trying to change existing rules. Until gamers get better represented in Congress we will have a Congress that refuses to act on our behalf. We have groups like the ECA but they only seem to want to protect the publishers. The DMCA is law when it comes to what we do and cannot do and stuff we put up with when gaming with DRM. However when Sony loaded the dreaded rootkit in one of Janet Jackson’s music CDs and the rest of the United States experienced what the DMCA really is it brought Congressional action against Sony. Since we do not have proper representation publishers are allowed, encouraged and permitted to put deadly forms of DRM on disk of a game we purchase.

  3. 0
    Infophile says:

    Cargo-cult thinking at its finest. There are a ton of things that physical sports leagues do, some of which for good reasons, some for bad reasons, some out of tradition, some simply because some decision had to be made, and some for a mix of reasons. Starting a new league from scratch is the perfect time to look over each of these decisions and see if and how they apply, not simply copy everything possible without thought for the reasons why.

    In other words: This is about as logical as asking their competitors to wear protective headgear, since that's done in many physical sports.

  4. 0
    Neo_DrKefka says:

    The law is the law and it has some catching up to. You can press forward with ‘change’ but can you afford the possible legal action taken against you?

  5. 0
    Scott1701c says:

    *blink, blink*

    OK, first thought was that this was a bad joke. Sadly, that is not the case.

    "The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports."

    I feel insulted by that comment the most. In the real world, the separation of sports is solely due to physical differences. Men tend to be stronger, Women tend to be more agile and faster (just in general, there are people who are exceptions), and it is not only harder to balance the game but, because men are stronger, there have been times when they accidentally injure the female players (I hate saying that, but it does happen frequently in Co-Ed sports). But in E-sports, there is no physical difference, men and women both have two hands, they are equally competitive.

    In fact, I see this segregation of genders as de-legitimizing E-sports as a real thing. No good can come of this.

Leave a Reply