Skip to main content

Why Cloud9 believes its first all-women’s team is a big step for e-sports

Professional e-sports organization Cloud9 recently announced the formation of its first all-women’s team to compete in Valorant tournaments: Cloud9 White.

Digital Trends sat down with with representatives of the official partners for Cloud9 White — Kristen Salvatore, senior vice president of marketing at Cloud9, and Shiz Suzuki, assistant vice president of sponsorships and experimental marketing at AT&T — to talk about the team and the future of e-sports.

Digital Trends: How did Cloud9 White and this partnership with AT&T come together?

Kristen Salvatore: If you look back at how we’ve had this sort of evolution — and in some cases, revolution — of our roster changes over the years, you can see how we are predisposed to action when it comes to making changes as needed, seizing opportunities when we see them. 

Cloud9 White roster
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Inclusiveness, opportunity, equity: These are kind of platforms that hold up our mission. I wouldn’t say necessarily that we had this long-standing plan, like, “Let’s go sign a women’s team,” but we do have a long-standing plan to make sure that we are finding opportunities to bring the best people into the organization and into sports.

It’s really important for Cloud9, for people to understand that we’re conscious of how often it has seemed as though the creation of women’s teams can ring hollow as sort of a, you know, a marketing initiative and little more.

This is part of a very meaningful journey to make sure that we are moving toward a place of equity in e-sports. 

Shiz Suzuki: AT&T partnered with Cloud9 in early 2019, and we started in a place of doing a lot of content. We share this really joint passion point of elevating women and gaming, which is a really important thing for us. 

When you have a diverse workforce, a diverse executive leadership team, you will continue to create content and things that appeal to a broader base of of people

Being a woman of color, overseeing sponsorships for a company like AT&T, I appreciate that perspective. And it’s been really exciting to see us bring some of our visions, our collective visions to life here just the same way we did with Cloud9 White.

As women that have been in this industry for a while, how far do you think es-ports is on this journey to equity?

Salvatore: E-sports is a microcosm of the world at large and the many conversations that I think we’re all having right now. How are we moving through the world and how are we ensuring to actively create space and lift up voices that are underrepresented?

For me anyway, it’s very hard to kind of pull those two things apart: What’s happening in the world of sports and what’s happening in the world around us.

Cloud9 White player
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What we’re all really excited for is actually the day that we don’t have to make a big deal because we’ve just announced a women’s team. That’s actually the first step on the way to the end goal, which is genuine equity.

The only way to get there is to lift up and shine a light on and create more of these opportunities right now. I personally subscribe to the philosophy that, especially for younger girls and women, the feeling of “I see her, I can be her.” That’s very powerful

Suzuki: One of my favorite stories is about the ’67 Boston Marathon, which at the time, women were not allowed to compete in. A woman by the name of Kathrine Switzer signed up using her initials: K.V. Switzer.

The race director sees her on the course. He jumps out of the car and literally tries to rip the bid number off of her shirt. She managed to finish the race with bib intact and officially became the first woman to finish running the Boston.

Katherine Switzer Boston Marathon
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Katherine could have run, made her point, and continued to live her life. But she decided that that’s not good enough. She wanted to see more women be able to accomplish what she did.

She went to a running company called Avon and said, “I’ve got a pitch for you that we’re going to bring women’s marathons to around the world and we’re going to make this hugely successful.

The Avon Women’s Marathon started in Atlanta and it became an annual event. And every single year, more and more women signed up. A few years later, the Olympics held in Los Angeles became the first Olympics that allowed the women’s marathon.

It literally took one woman, one brand. We remember that even on our toughest days, that this this can all lead to something much greater and bigger. 

Editors' Recommendations

Tom Caswell
Professional video producer and writer, gaming enthusiast, and streamer! twitch.tv/greatbritom
Get in on the action: Helldivers 2 for PC is 15% off for a limited time
A soldier in silhouette in Helldivers 2.

If you are a fan of Starship Troopers the movie, you'll really love Helldivers 2. It takes that hyper-militarized world and the excellent satire and completely immerses you in it, providing for a thrilling and absolutely hilarious experience overall. It's also been a massive hit, and it often has well over 100,000 concurrent players at any given moment, even though it's a couple of months past its launch date. As such, if you want to dive into the fun, then you can grab the game for much for 15% off at CDKeys, which brings it down to $34 from $40.

Why you should buy Helldivers 2
Helldivers 2 is a big upgrade on the previous game, taking you to a fully 3D world to bring Managed Democracy to the rest of space. That primarily means that you get to either fight bots or bugs, with some actually great gameplay differences, and Arrowhead, the studio that made the game, even creates major orders that the whole player base is supposed to work towards. As a player, though, you can group up with three more people and dive into the hell of future space combat against alien species. You get tons of weapons and armor to pick from and even orbital stratagems that you can call down from your destroyer spaceship, which are very cool.

Read more
The best Fallout 3 mods
An alpha deathclaw enforcer attacking in Fallout 3.

Right alongside Skyrim, Fallout 3 is one of the most modded games of all time. Bethesda took this series and transformed it into an open-world adventure that had never really been seen up to that point. As much as there was to do in that base experience, there was a limit to what could be done. However, dedicated fans didn't let that end their fun and began modding the game with new features, quality of life improvements, and new content to extend the life of Fallout 3 to the point where you can still play it today and have an amazing time. Now that modders have had well over a decade to work with the game, there are potentially thousands of mods you can try out, but these are the best ones we've found.
FWE - FO3 Wanderers Edition

Let's kick things off with a bang and talk about the FWE - FO3 Wanderers Edition mod. Calling this a single mod is kind of a misnomer since it actually integrates over 50 other mods into one massive package. The purpose is to rework the balance and depth of the game to be more fair and give players more opportunities to role-play. This mod does make the game intentionally harder than the base version. Combat is faster and more determined by player skilll. Also, which perks and skills you have make a bigger difference. Injuries need to be treated more carefully, over 40 new weapons and pieces of armor have been added, AI has been enhanced, and dozens of other changes were implemented to make the game more immersive. It's the simplest way to give another playthrough some spice.
Fellout

Read more
Amazon’s Fallout success reveals a big problem with the video game business
The cast of Fallout.

April's biggest video game isn't a new release like Tales of Kenzera: Zau or Stellar Blade. Instead, it's a series that hasn't gotten a new entry in years.

Fallout is currently enjoying a wave of mainstream attention thanks to its surprisingly fun Amazon TV adaptation. Returning players and newly-won-over fans alike are returning to classics like Fallout 4 and New Vegas to scratch their post-apocalyptic itches. It's the moment any video game publisher dreams of, but there's just one problem: Bethesda can't capitalize on the moment.

Read more