'Team Bumble' All-Women's Fortnite Team Formed Following 2019 Fortnite World Cup

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2019

Bugha (R-2nd from Bottom) of the US is seen on a TV screen during the final of the Solo competition at the 2019 Fortnite World Cup July 28, 2019 inside of Arthur Ashe Stadium, in New York City. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
JOHANNES EISELE/Getty Images

Bumble and esports organization Gen.G announced Tuesday the formation of the first-ever all-women's esports team, named Team Bumble.

The new team will feature Kristen "KittyPlays" Valnicek and four other players who will compete in Fortnite Battle Royale competitions. The remainder of the team will be made up of Madison "maddiesuun" Mann, Tina "TINARAES" Perez, Carlee "Carlee" Gress and Hannah "Hannah" Reyes.

Bumble, a networking and dating app, will also become an official partner for KittyPlays, who serves as Gen.G's head of new gaming initiatives. She released a statement about the collaboration:

"I'm honored to partner with Bumble to make a lasting impact in gaming! Bumble is a visionary company in technology, media, women's empowerment, and facilitating human connection, which perfectly aligns with my own vision of inspiring positivity and empowering my audience.

"Bumble is in the unique position of providing value to an entire generation of gamers, encouraging them to strive for their goals and facilitating ways to connect them [in real life]. The future is bright and I can't wait to see the impact we make together!"

The group, which features some of the most competitive female players in which men are overrepresented, is aimed at creating an environment for women to qualify for the popular video game's biggest events.

Last month, developer Epic Games hosted the 2019 Fortnite World Cup at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, with $30 million in prize money awarded. Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf was the biggest winner by taking home $3 million for winning the solo tournament.

One of the key storylines coming out of the event was why no female players qualified between the 200 spots available in the solo and duo competitions.

Keith Stuart of The Guardian examined the issue as a whole following the World Cup, noting the number of female competitors at the highest levels of esports are few and far between despite recent research by the Entertainment Software Association showing 46 percent of gamers are women.

Stuart wrote:

"As esports get bigger and bigger, it would be a tragic waste to replicate the institutional biases affecting traditional sport, where women are both represented less and paid less. Gaming is supposed to be a modern, forward-looking industry and esports is an exciting sector that's rocketing in popularity and influence—now is the time to act."

Soleil "Ewok" Wheeler, a 13-year-old deaf gamer who's undergone a serious rise to notoriety in recent months, became the first girl to join pro organization FaZe Clan during the World Cup:

"I hope to see more girl gamers play Fortnite," Ewok told Nicole Carpenter of The Verge. "There are already pro girl gamers in Fortnite and big girl streamers of Fortnite who play well. I hope that by me joining FaZe, they will take their grind more seriously and believe in themselves."

The biggest step toward seeing more women qualify for Fortnite's lucrative tournaments is getting more of them involved in the scrim Discords and lobbies.

Fortnite fans can watch the world's top players, including Bugha, Turner "Tfue" Tenney, Timothy "Bizzle" Miller and countless others, competing in pro custom games for hours every day as a way to stay at the top of their games in an ever-evolving Fortnite meta.

Female competitors are rare in those matches, however, and it's impossible to simulate endgame plays in standard lobbies where only about 25 players usually remain after the first storm circle.

Team Bumble could be a massive step toward making a female Fortnite finalist a reality.

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