‘Call of Duty’ League Analyst Says the Biggest Trend in Esports Scene Is Increased Mental Health Talk – Hollywood Reporter

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Coinciding with Global Accessibility Awareness Day, The Hollywood Reporter spoke to commentator-turned analyst Allycxt, 22, about her experience as a young woman on the Autism spectrum, coming up in gaming.
By Trilby Beresford
Associate Editor
Gaming was always a “constant” in Allycxt’s life.
The esports analyst, 22, can trace her interest in video games back to the time she was “very, very small,” when her father would play Call of Duty in an attic “gamer hideout.” The first game that Allycxt got into on her own was Black Ops 2. And the obsession catapulted from there.

The idea of esports, however, didn’t present itself to Allycxt immediately. “I didn’t learn about competitive esports in the gaming community as a whole until my late junior year of high school/early senior year,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter over Zoom, ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. At that time, she was already playing Call of Duty casually and streaming, though, so it wasn’t a huge stretch.

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With Call of Duty specifically, Allycxt says that the way the game is broken down in terms of strategy is what’s appealing. She likens the experience to a game of Chess, where there are many moves to make, but then adding mechanics to the mix. “I’m very competitive by nature,” Allycxt says, adding that she played sports growing up.
Allycxt started her esports journey as a caster for the Call of Duty League — the professional esports league for Activision’s Call of Duty. Describing what that position involves, Allycxt says: “While the game is being played, I’d be speaking over the game and very quickly explaining what’s going on. So if you weren’t using your eyes to watch the game, if you were just listening, hopefully I would be able to get across exactly what is happening that you can’t see. So breaking down things as they happen.”
Now as an analyst for the Call of Duty League, she is responsible for also breaking down what’s going on before and after the game, analyzing who may win, and deciphering why they won. “I love being on the desk, I love being able to truly sit down with my notes and break down the game,” she says.
Allycxt is on the Autism spectrum, which she is upfront about on social media and explains is an asset for her in the field. “A trait of being on that spectrum is hyper focusing on things,” she says. Allycxt was “late diagnosed” at 19, noting that she went a majority of her life without really knowing what was going on. “I’m still learning every day about myself and the Autistic community. For me though, it’s weird in the sense that, if I wasn’t Autistic I don’t know if I’d be where I am.”

She goes further to say that video games were a “safe space” for her while growing up, having moved around a lot and not necessarily always having constant friends. “Gaming became a safe space for me, and because of my Autism, it was like, everything to me. That’s really helped push me to where I am.”
On her journey thus far, Allycxt has had family pro-players reach out to her asking for advice if they have a family member on the Autism spectrum, which has been “eye opening” and “humbling” for her. “It’s a learning experience across the board, but it’s definitely helped me and I’ve grown to love that version of myself. Everybody has received me incredibly well.”
As far as what she’s noticed in terms of struggles in the esports community, Allycxt references the continued familiar trend of misogyny, though explains that sort of negative environment is improving. “You can’t pretend that the misogyny in the community isn’t a big part of the way women are treated and the roadblock that women face in the gaming scene, but I will say from being a casual gamer to getting into competitive in the last couple of years, it feels completely different. I think that the whole toxic community when it comes to women is getting a lot better. It’s just not as bad as a whole.”
Speaking to why this may be, Allycxt thinks that people have simply become more open minded. “The biggest trend I’ve noticed so far is the mental health talk in the gaming scene. At least in my respective part of the community in Call of Duty, we’ve opened up the mental health talk a lot more than I feel like we ever have. It’s become a very important conversation and a very good conversation, because I think what a lot of people don’t realize is, being in esports, committing to this as your job, you still have to take care of yourself physically and mentally.”
Looking ahead, Allycxt acknowledges that she is very much an ambitious person who wants to do “a little bit of everything all the time.” Aside from being an analyst, she makes music, streams content and still competes as much as she can. “I want to be a coach at some point,” she says. “But I also love being an analyst, so I want to stay on the desk as well.”

During a moment of reflection, the analyst says: “I’m very blessed for my age, and for being an autistic woman, to be in the position that I am.”
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