The video game pro circuit is a man’s world, but the US$1 million jackpot of the year went to Kavitha Yalavarthi, who used her piano-trained hands to pound rivals for the title of “World’s Best Casual Gamer.”
A “newbie” to the competitive game scene, the 21-year-old aspiring lawyer brought out the testosterone-fueled game crowd’s envious side in September when she took home the giant check from FUN Technologies’ first WorldWide Web Games competition in Hollywood, California.
“I think a lot of people don’t think I deserve to have won this much money because I’m not a professional gamer,” said Yalavarthi, who dominated the contest’s three games: “Solitaire,” “Bejeweled 2” and “Zuma.”
“I think I deserve it,” she said, noting that she was the competition’s top-seeded player and overcame intense pressure to grab the crown.
Casual games focus on skill and memory and appeal overwhelmingly to women in their 30s. Still, they account for a fraction of the nearly $30 billion global game market and are overshadowed by the console games favored by men in their late teens and early 20s, where shooting, racing and sports are dominant themes.
Elite male professional gamers such as Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel and Tom “Tsquared” Taylor collect winnings from various tournaments and boast six-figure annual earnings.
Related Links: Fatal1ty.com