New Canadian venture Paidia is launching in beta today as a hub for gamers from all walks of life to find fellowship, friendship and growth opportunities while being in a safe space where they can enjoy the games they love without fear of being excluded or made fun of. The value proposition on offer is that all community members who partake in the site must agree to the “Paidia Pledge” — one of respect for all community members, refraining from racism, sexism, queerphobia, ableism, or other prejudices.
The company takes its name from a lesser-known Greek Goddess said to be the goddess of play and amusement and a servant of Athena — although historical references are hard to come back to back this up. However, with a name like that, you can probably guess that the end goal of Paidia the website is to appeal to women and non-binary gamers and provide them with a service many feel to be lacking. In a press release delivered to Console Creatures, Paidia CEO Jill Kenney states, “We are seeing incredible year-over-year growth for the gaming industry. One in three people on the planet play video games with women making up nearly half of the total market and yet 77% of women experience harassment while playing online.” She continues that the goal of her new site is “quite literally changing the game by building an aspirational brand that not only offers products, solutions and messages that authentically speak to women and allies of all genders but also provides a safe and inclusive place for them to connect and play.”
You may have caught the word brand used in that quote. Paidia is operating as a paid subscription service with a $9.99 USD monthly fee [$12.48 CDN at time of writing]. Subscribers will have unlimited access to the Paidia website — including all tournaments, media experiences, “comment on” and “share content” privileges, as well as chat with other members. There’s also a library of games to play with community members in tournaments of all skill levels. The media experiences include streams and teaching sessions with skilled pros like Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey. And even a six-episode podcast titled The Move Makers Podcast. It’s hosted by Audrey Adair. And is available for free right now on iTunes and Spotify. There’s also exclusive access to Paidia merchandise, rewards for redemption system and exclusive access to partner perks. So far, these partners include Xbox Canada and Razer. The two companies are partnering with Paidia on their inaugural “Pay It Forward Campaign.” During the length of the campaign, Paidia members will be able to nominate deserving gamer access to a full Razer Blade gaming system plus an Xbox Game Pass subscription and a year of access to Paidia membership.
You probably know that Xbox has a longstanding commitment to ensuring that gaming is for everyone, so to Xbox Canada Integrated Marketing Communications Lead Christina Verdurmen, supporting Paidia just makes sense. “At Xbox Canada, we believe that gaming is for everyone. It should be inclusive and accessible to all. Paidia shares these same values, which is why this collaboration is such a natural fit.”
Everyone who takes the “Paida Pledge” has 60 days of free access to select media experiences, the store where they can purchase Paidia merchandise and the ability to play in select tournaments. We will be watching to see what the future holds for Paidia!