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Intel and ESL to collaborate to support healthy and inclusive spaces in esports

Ella McConnell
Senior Editor
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In collaboration with Intel, world’s largest esports company ESL has founded the AnyKey organization. With the aim of supporting diversity in and around the competitive gaming industry, the AnyKey organization’s core goal is to create more opportunities, inclusive spaces and advocate for underrepresented members of competitive communities such as women, people of color and LGBTQ participants.

A two-pronged approach

The AnyKey organization consists of two teams, with the first conducting research on initiative-related topics and the second focusing on developing and implementing practical solutions.

Headed up by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor T.L. Taylor, the research team assembles and establishes discussion opportunities such as the Women in Esports panel as well as industry workshops with industry experts. The research team also fields audience studies and more live at events such as the recent Intel Extreme Masters San Jose, the findings of which are then published as whitepapers.

The development team, led by former director of esports at Red 5 and co-founder of Ubisoft’s Frag Dolls Morgan Romine, then takes these findings and seeks to develop strategies and practical solutions to tackle identified issues.

Taking initiatives

The Intel Challenge Katowice, a professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament for women, is just one of several diversity initiatives supported by AnyKey. Hosted at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, the industry’s largest and most-watched event, the tournament offers women a platform unlike any other, with this year also seeing the debut of the first ever AnyKey lounge - a welcoming space for conversation, networking and information exchange.

The AnyKey Code of conduct will be presented for the first time in the lounge, and will outline an inclusion policy for both live esports events and online broadcasts in order to formally address issues surrounding harassment within the industry.

Jesse Sell, senior manager of pro gaming, business and strategy at ESL, said of the initiative:

“The need for an organization such as AnyKey is clear, and with the help of Intel we have been able to make it a reality. AnyKey initiatives are well underway and with those that will debut at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice and beyond, we hope to be an advocate for positive change. 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.”

See you in Katowice!

AnyKey can be found at Intel Extreme Masters Katowice on the expo hall floor in space B9, with the Intel Challenge Katowice tournament to be played out on the main expo hall stage.

For more information, visit the official AnyKey website and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.