Women gamers move up the charts

The first gaming memory Jamie Pereyda can recall is playing a DOS-based Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game with her brothers. She’s moved up since then. The 19-year-old from San Jose is the first woman ever to enter the GGL World Rankings of gamers. She is 96th on the list.

Pereyda also is one of two leaders of the all-female international online gaming team “girlz 0f destruction,” a group she and her fellow team leader created in October 2001. Now the seven-member team travels the world to compete in the shooter game Quake4.

Pereyda entered the GGL (Global Gaming League) World Rankings after gaining a top position in the female Quake4 one-to-one tournament at the ASUS Winter Cup in Moscow. The tourney is one of the most prestigious and famous gaming events in Eastern Europe. Winning last year’s women’s QuakeCon tournament with her team also helped.

Spurred by her success, the entire “girlz 0f destruction” team now fights for positions on the GGL list. The women come from all over the world: Jamie “Missy” Pereyda is from the United States, Alana “Ms.X” Reid is from Canada, Therese “Trito” Andersson is from Sweden, Ana “aNouC” Oliveras is from Spain, Livia “Liefje” Teernstra is from New Zealand, Dasha “Barbie” Laposhina is from Russia, and Sabrina “Karma” Chen is from China.

ESports house Four team members recently moved into the first-ever dedicated eSports home, which is subsidized by Taipei-based team sponsor Via Technologies, a global supplier of high-end computer hardware. The house is situated right in the heart of the European gaming community, in the city of Sollentuna, some 10 miles north of Stockholm, Sweden.

There’s plenty of money in the gaming pot. All in all, the PC gaming industry estimates global sales of around US$20 billion and U.S. sales of around $7 billion in 2005. The house, which cost Via about US$250,000 this year, is named “Home of Chrome,” after Via’s and S3 Graphics’ Chrome brand and Chrome S27.

Moving far away from family and friends, even changing countries, has been one of the toughest issues, the “girlz” say. But it can be worth it. PC gaming is increasingly competitive, and tournament prizes are escalating.

The group has global vision, too. “In Asia, gaming is much bigger than here. In Korea, for instance, there are at least eight channels that broadcast gaming tournaments, like football here, and I think we’ll see more of that in Europe and North America as well,” explains Canadian Alana Reid, Jamie Pereyda’s fellow team leader.

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