Understanding the success of Farming Simulator in esports
Whilst most of the iconic esports are first-person shooters, battle arena games, or battle royales, it seems that there’s a massive audience who prefer to get agricultural with a few rounds of Farming Simulator. In the past, there have been plenty of amateur run competitions for Farming Simulator. But it seems that the game’s parent company, GIANTS Software, have been listening as they have created a brand new Farming Simulator League for 2019.
The 10-stage tournament will kick off in mid 2019 and will make appearances at esteemed gaming events such as Paris Games Week and GamesCom before concluding at the FarmCon 2020 grand final. The competition will feature a massive $250,000 prize pool, and the winning team will get a very respectable $100,000. GIANTS Software have already formed partnership deals with brands like Nitrado, Logitech G and Intel, and it looks to be a breakthrough event for the title in esports.
So what will actually take place in a competitive game of Farming Simulator? The action will take place on the latest version of the title, Farming Simulator 19, that clocked up a very impressive one million in sales within the first 10 days of its launch in November 2018. The contests will be multiplayer team-based affairs, that feature two teams of three players that have to be the best in the field by carrying out tasks such as harvesting and stacking bales of hay.
The Farming Simulator League will be open for all, and there’s already plenty of interest from the game’s hardcore fanbase. Whilst the figures of 30,000 concurrent viewers for its live streaming during prototype contests last year might not match those of more established esports, there is little denying the dedication of the Farming Simulator community. As such we can expect strong performances from respected teams of modders such as Creative Mesh, but it seems that many actual farming brands such as John Deere and New Holland are also keen to enter their own teams into the league.
Whilst the thought of watching teams performing tasks like harvesting might not seem quite as exciting as the chaotic gameplay of titles like Overwatch, it seems that all other elements of the Farming Simulator League match those of other top esports. The multiplayer aspect is an essential part of Farming Simulator 19’s appeal, and GIANT Software have stated that they are working on features to make the spectator experience as appealing as possible.
But perhaps the most compelling argument for Farming Simulator to be a top esport, is the fact that it is a deeply loved game that has a strong and reliable fanbase. Previous attempts at competitive tournaments such as the 2018 Farming Simulator Championships showed that there is a grassroots level of support for the title that is hard to replicate elsewhere. And with big money backing, a clear competition structure, and a whopping prize pool, it’s going to be fascinating to see where the Farming Simulator League goes from here.