It’s no secret that there are many female gamers these days. In fact, one recent study found that almost half of the American gaming population is female, and that there are now twice as many female adult gamers as there are young male gamers.
Women playing video games ten years competitively may have seemed unusual to some at the time, but now it’s quite commonplace. The fact that most people know that women play games just as well as men may be one of the reasons why a corporation-sponsored female-only competitive gaming team has just dissolved.
The Frag Dolls, a competitive team of female gamers, was originally recruited and founded by Ubisoft back in 2004. After nearly 11 years of competitive gaming, founding member Morgan Romine announced on the Frag Dolls official website that the team was disbanding. Though Ubisoft initially recruited these women as a marketing method and as a way of promoting their games, the members of The Frag Dolls sought to prove that women could play and compete in video games just as well as men. The Frag Dolls amassed over 22 members during the last decade, and also started a Cadette program which helped to provide gaming industry experience to over 80 women.
Morgan notes that the need for The Frag Dolls has passed, and said:
“Now, more than a decade later, the sisterhood lives on, but the world of video games has evolved. We can count it as progress that “girls playing games” is no longer the source of surprise that it once was. We’ve said many times over the years that we hoped to one day see true gender equity across gaming communities, rendering an all-girl gaming team unremarkable. I won’t claim that we’ve reached gender equity, by any means; we still have a long way to go. But there has been progress enough that we’ve reached the clear beginning of a new era.”
It’s not entirely clear whether it was the members of the team or Ubisoft that decided that it was time for The Frag Dolls to end. Over the course of this year alone, five of the members quit the team, and Morgan herself retired in 2011. After nearly 11 years, it’s entirely possible that Ubisoft was no longer interested in investing the time and expense into promoting the team and searching for new members. In any case, Ubisoft has been striving to recover from the backlash in response to its lack of female playable characters, so it’s an interesting choice to dismantle an all-female gamer group now.
Whether or not it was a “false novelty”, The Frag Dolls showed that a group of women could play video games competitively and keep up with guys. With any kind of luck, some of the members of The Frag Dolls will continue to engage the public through Twitch, YouTube, or even through competitions.
Source: The Frag Dolls