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Gambling startup Unikrn bets on elite, all-female eSports team
Or at least, that’s what Seattle-based Unikrn is betting on. On Thursday, the startup announced that it is bringing in an all-female crew for its first competitive video gaming squad, GeekWire reported.
The newly formed Team Unikrn is composed of five players—Perrine “Lalita” Allesiardo ad Sophia “Kim” Benfakir of France, Melania “Gina” Mylioti of Greece, Julia “Julie” Strunkwoski of Germany, and Camilla “ParamaViolet” Hart of the United Kingdom.
The five will compete in global competitions, according to the report. Their game of choice? “Counterstrike: Global Offensive,” a multiplayer first-person shooter game that pits teams against each in a contest to see who can secure more objectives or remove enemies from a map.
Dominated by men, video gaming has earned a vicious reputation of being unfriendly—to put it mildly—to women, with many casual players preferring not to divulge their gender in online games. In an interview with Seattle Times, Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood admitted the online chatter can be brutal, which was why the company sought “to create opportunities for women in gaming.”
Sood refused to say how much his new players will be paid, only that the money they’ll be getting is “enough to qualify as a full-time job” and that the team will be the highest paid women’s team in the world.
The news outlet quoted Sood saying, “People will hire female teams and they don’t think about the competition, they think about parading around, it’s been more about the sponsorship. For us, it’s about the competition.”
Team Unikrn is an unprecedented move, one that can be seen as a small step towards closing the gender gap in the video gaming community. But on the other hand, this strategy could also lead to a debate on whether men and women should compete separately.
In a separate interview with GeekWire, Sood said men and women competing in the same team and against each other could be “the future of eSports.”
“Team Unikrn is all about professional competition and hopefully it inspires other women to take the step and build a career around eSports,” Sood said, according to the tech website.
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