ESL, the world’s largest esports company, in collaboration with Intel, has founded the AnyKey organisation, a group focused on supporting diversity in and around the competitive gaming industry. The organisation’s core goal is to create more opportunities and inclusive spaces, whilst advocating for the underrepresented members of competitive communities, such as women, LGBTQ participants, and people of colour.
“The need for an organisation such as AnyKey is clear, and with the help of Intel we have been able to make it a reality,” said Jesse Sell, Senior Manager of Pro Gaming, Business and Strategy at ESL. “AnyKey initiatives are well under way 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.”
Guided by a two-pronged strategy, the AnyKey organisation is consists of two teams: the first conducts research on initiative related topics and the second focuses on implementing practical solutions. Headed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor T.L. Taylor, the research team assembles and establishes discussion opportunities such as the “Women in Esports” panel and industry workshop with industry experts, and fields audience studies and more at events such as the Intel Extreme Masters San Jose, from which White Papers are published. The development team, headed by Morgan Romine, former Director of Esports at Red 5 Studios and Co-Founder of Ubisoft’s Frag Dolls, then takes these findings and seeks to develop strategies and practical solutions to tackle identified problem zones.
Intel Challenge Katowice, a professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament for women, is just one of several diversity initiatives supported through AnyKey. Hosted at the industry’s largest and most-watched event, Intel Extreme Masters Katowice, the tournament offers women a platform unlike any other. The event in Poland will also debut the first AnyKey lounge, a welcoming space for conversation, information exchange, and networking. The AnyKey Code of Conduct will be presented for the first time in the lounge, and represents an inclusion policy for esports events and online broadcasts to formally address issues surrounding harassment.