If you took a quick straw poll of people who had at least a vague idea of what the esports industry entails and asked them to describe an esports title game, you’d receive some common answers. Respondents would likely describe the stereotypical 16 to 30-year-old male partaking in a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game (like League of Legends or Dota 2), or a First Person Shooter (such as CS:GO or Overwatch).
It is easy to see why people would jump to that conclusion. After all, the top esports games at present tend to fit those categories. What’s more, at the highest levels of the esports, female players are still drastically under-represented.
The reasons why titles such as League of Legends, Dota 2, CS:GO, and Overwatch dominate the conversation and the market are twofold. First off, these games can be streamed online and enjoyed as a spectator.
Indeed, this is why some strategy games, which are high on cerebral activity but perhaps lack dramatic on-screen action, remain relatively untested as esports games. This includes the hugely popular Football Manager series of games, one of the biggest selling titles of all time. Watching someone comb through data simply isn’t any fun.
But these are just generalizations and customs. One game is ready to take on the preconception with its own league and a $250,000 prize pool.
What is Farming Simulator?
Farming Simulator is a series of games from German video game developer Giants Software that puts the player in a farmer’s boots.
The most recent version of the game, Farming Simulator 19, was released in November and proved to be another smash hit success for Giants Software. It sold one million copies across PC, PlayStation, and Xbox One within just 10 days of its launch.
Over the last couple of years, earlier versions of the game were used for smaller esports events. In 2017 and 2018, farming industry conventions held Farming Simulation Championships. The title also trialed successfully at the Swiss video game show Herofest.
In terms of this new development, sponsorship for the $250,000 tournament will come from some big-hitters in the esports industry, namely Intel and Logitech. Other sponsors include Noblechairs and Nitrado.
Ready to harvest
The competition, which is expected to begin in the middle of 2019, will see a total of 10 tournaments held across Europe. In each, teams of three farmers will compete based on a number of different farming-themed parameters.
“We have lots of esports enthusiasts in our company who can’t wait to show the world that farming can indeed be fun and competitive at the same time,” Giants Software owner Christian Ammann told Esports Observer.
Although slated to start in 2019, the culmination of the tournament will take place at Giants Software’s FarmCon, scheduled for 2020. Events will take place during Paris Games Week and Cologne’s GamesCom throughout this year.
Why Farming Simulator could open new avenues
These lucrative plans for Farming Simulator illustrate games do not have to stick to a formula to find an audience and a market share.
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Notably, Farming Simulator offers a chance for those gamers who may not have lightning-fast reflexes to showcase cognitive abilities in the esports environment. This once again means a different demographic of player can now find something to enjoy in esports.
One of the biggest criticisms of esports, of course, is that it is dominated by male gamers, playing male-oriented games. This week’s news regarding Farming Simulator shows that things don’t have to be that way. Different players, with different skills, using different software could expand and reshape esports’ future.
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