All racing games are going virtual

In the middle of the corona-crisis, fewer and fewer public activities are still allowed – amidst the cancelled events were also a whole series of esports events. Despite their virtual nature, many esports events still feature fairly huge gatherings of people. Players, staff, live audiences and more – the exact opposite of the current shelter-in-place and safer-at-home orders that are being implemented across the globe.

After a wave of cancellations, organisers have now found an alternative way to keep esports going. Racing games are the first wave and currently leading the charge. Where most traditional sports like tennis, football, golf or cricket all require physical proximity to happen, video games do not – and as such, video game events are now happening fully remotely.

All racing games are going virtual

© MotoGP Esports


Trending right along with #StayAtHome, events like the MotoGP have been running entirely virtually. Players connect from their own homes, eliminating any risks of potential infection for those involved. There are some other issues, unfortunately – for example, some events have seen their fair share of connectivity issues.

Outside of that though, it’s going well. The MotoGP event, in particular, proved to be exceptional – exceptionally interesting, that is. In substitution for the live MotoGP, 10 of the current competitors played a 6-lap Mugello race in the namesake video game.

Well, the real-world-racers performed roughly as expected – with a lot of crashes and even more almost-crashes. Alex Marquez ended up victorious – beating his brother Marc Marquez, who has been the more successful player in the real world.

Crashing and burning

In a real race, with the number of crashes, Alex would have been the only finisher altogether. The tracker in the game was quite busy keeping track of the many incidents. Fans could also see the racers themselves, and there was plenty of entertainment there as well.

Given that it was played from people’s offices and living rooms, there were kids running in the back, families going about their business and so on. The event was three parts entertainment and one part serious. It did however, succeeded at showing one thing – that esports are the way to go in the current situation.

Other esports

The StayAtHomeGP is far from the only event to have taken this course. The Formula 1 that has been moved to virtual online mode already. Unlike the MotoGP, the Formula 1 event didn’t feature just pro racers, but also all sorts of other participants – including Liam Payne, Sir Chris Hoy, and Redeye.

Veloce and Motorsport Games’ Pro Series Esports are on the same track. Even some football teams have branched out into FIFA tournaments to substitute the action their fans are missing out on.

As it is, this is a great way for tournaments and series to keep up fan engagement during this crisis. How long it will last is unknown – that’s why the F1 Virtual Grand Prix for example, is setting one race per week until things are back to normal.

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