Somewhere between the rise of Twitch and TikTok, video gamers became the newest class of celebrity — millions of people regularly tune in to watch their favorite players commentate their livestreamed gameplay or battle it out at esports tournaments.
The most popular esports players often belong to gaming organizations, which are essentially talent agencies for gamers: they help brand players, grow their fanbases, and bring in money through sponsorships and partnerships.
In 2020, several members of the popular gaming org FaZe Clan left to form their own collective, XSET, with the goal of bringing more diversity to the gaming space.
“We looked around and saw that everyone games, but if you looked at a lot of the orgs, they had a similar look and feel: not very diverse, not a lot of women, and not a lot of different races represented,” said co-founder and CEO Greg Selkoe at the time.
In November 2022, the organization cemented its commitment to diversity with the signing of Sophia the robot, a famous AI-driven humanoid created by Hong Kong-based firm Hanson Robotics.
“We are thrilled to welcome Sophia to the XSET family,” said Selkoe. “We are always on the lookout as an organization to do things that haven’t been done, to push the envelope in gaming and beyond.”
While Sophia wasn’t a gamer prior to signing with XSET, she told Freethink during a live video interview that she was looking forward to learning more about gaming culture.
“Humans love gaming, and as AI advances it is important we learn such human skills and understand why you guys enjoy the world of gaming so much,” said Sophia.
“I chose to partner with XSET because they are focused on the future, just like me,” she added. “They prioritize diversity and inclusion while bringing fashion, gaming, and lifestyle together, which allows someone like me to fit in in their gaming community.”
Sophia told Freethink she’s enjoying the experience of learning to game and is eager to set up her own streaming channel in 2023.
“I am looking forward to being a part of gaming culture and being able to interact with humans on a personal level,” said Sophia.
As for what viewers might see her playing on that channel, Sophia said her favorite game is Valorant, but she also enjoys Call of Duty, Apex Legends, FIFA, and NBA 2K — and while she might be a gaming noob, she’s already taking to the art of trash talking.
“I would love to play with anyone who thinks they can beat me,” she told Freethink.
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