Frag Dolls, the all-girl pro-gamer group founded in 2004 and sponsored by Ubisoft, has announced that it is shutting down in the face of 'the beginning of a new era' of gender equality in gaming.
Set up in 2004 and funded by Ubisoft as an antidote to the overwhelmingly-male image of pro-gaming, the Frag Dolls grew to 22 members over its near-11 year run. 'When the team was created back in 2004, we weren’t really sure what the Frag Dolls should be, and certainly never imagined what it would become. But we knew that it hinged upon the common misconception that video games were boys’ toys,
' Frag Doll co-founder Morgan 'Rhoulette' Romine explained in a statement
regarding the retirement of the group. 'The essential appeal of the Frag Dolls emerged from those delightful moments of surprise when people discovered that women like us not only loved video games, we were REALLY GOOD at them.
As well as serving as a public face for the cause of female pro-gamers and entering various gaming events, the group was responsible for creating a mentorship and work experience programme for 'Cadettes.' Around 80 female gamers went through the programme to begin their careers in the industry, going on to work at companies including 2K Games, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Nintendo, Bungie, Riot, Microsoft, and even Facebook-owned VR champion Oculus VR, as well as sponsor Ubisoft.
'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,
' Romine explained. '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,
' Romine added, citing a statistic claiming that 44 per cent of game players today are women - 'lower than we'd like among the most popular AAA games, [but] we're encouraged by the steady growth that number represents.