DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – As throngs of video game fans converge on the Dallas Convention Center for a weekend tournament– you have to look hard to get a glimpse of the girls: But, they’re there.
“It is very intimidating at first,” says 14-year-old Stephanie Parajon of Arlington. “You just see all guys and you think that you’re not going to be accepted because you’re female, but, you know, once you show them that you’re really here for the love of the game, they come to accept you.”
Parajon, like many girls gamers, admit they become involved at the urging of a brother or boyfriend. For Parajon it was her brother. But now most girls play for the same reasons as their male counterparts…love of the game.
“It’s the strategy part,” says Genevieve Forget, a 22-year-old French Canadian. “It really changed my outlook on games.” Forget says an ex-boyfriend encouraged her to try StarCraft and now she not only plays the game but also travels the professional “eSports” events circuit, as it’s called, conducting interviews with major players. But bottom lines is that she loves the game.
“Games start and end,” says Forget, “there’s a winner and a loser, but you just keep replaying and trying to get better and there’s always someone to challenge you.”
Video gaming has become a multi-billion dollar business, even spinning off successful satellite industries like eSports leagues, tournaments and big dollar championships.
“It’s massive!,” says Sundance DiGiovanni, CEO of Major League Gaming. “In terms of an entertainment platform, it’s as big as music, it’s as big as TV, it’s as big as movies — and it’s global.”
Some 15,000 fans are expected to visit the booths and watch the professional players at the MLG Winter Championship in Dallas over the weekend. Millions more around the world will watch the gaming online.
Rebecca Rayin and her brother drove 15 hours from Arizona to attend the tournament and could barely contain her excitement.
“I just met Freak, and we’re at a huge MLG tournament…I’ve been waiting for this for months,” said a breathless Rayin. “And I really want to meet the players, I’m so excited!”
Video gaming, like almost all professional sports, is still dominated by men. Female gamers even in the amateur ranks are rare. Still, supporters say the numbers of girl gamers are growing.
“The ones that I do meet are very nice,” says Parajon. “And they’re very welcoming to other girls, so it’s nice to have the female support.”
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