Interviews

Farming Simulator Esports: A distinct segment scene with €100,000 tournaments

May farming ever be performed competitively? Even higher, might a sport about driving farm tools ever be thought-about an esports title?

Nicely, Farming Simulator developer GIANTS Software program has already answered these questions. The Farming Simulator League is a fully-fledged esports occasion and one that’s steadily going sturdy regardless of being seemed upon as area of interest to some esports audiences. 

Picture credit score: Giants Software program (ESI Illustration)

RELATED: Farming Simulator League returns to in-person occasions

What are the specifics of the Farming Simulator League? Additionally, how is the title’s esports ecosystem totally different to different video games relating to sponsorship alternatives?To search out these solutions, Esports Insider reached out to Claas Eilermann, Occasion and Esports Supervisor at GIANTS Software program. 

The title’s esports origins can date again to Farming Simulator 17, a sport launched in 2016. Previous to turning into an official esports occasion, Eilermann defined that the Farming Simulator League began out as a easy hay bale stacking competitors for followers of the unique sport.

The competitors was a standalone sport mode constructed on a easy premise: you stack bales of hay and the participant with the higher rating wins. There have been no esports plans then, with the exercise deliberate to be showcased at agricultural occasions to amuse and entertain. The primary time the sport’s builders began seeing the sport’s esports potential was in 2017 at AgriTechnica, an agriculture honest in Germany. 

The exercise quickly grew to become so fashionable that the game’s builders determined to place extra time into enhancing the bale-stacking mode, and thus the Farming Simulator League (FSL) was born. As such, the sport system was additionally modified.

Eilermann defined: “The concept expanded past only a easy bale stacking consumer right into a aggressive enviornment with not solely bale stacking however harvesting and delivering grain and bales to attain factors and beat your opponent.”

This format stays the identical to at the present time, with groups of three gamers competing in fast-paced agriculture. The groups harvest crops by driving mix harvesters, bale them into bales with tractor-pulled baling machines, after which transport bales to a sure level on the map the place factors are awarded.

Though extremely easy, the sport mode appears to have enticed gamers to the title, in addition to a spread of sponsors. As of this writing, the FSL has partnerships with conventional esports manufacturers together with Noblechairs and Intel. Furthermore, the competitors has additionally managed to crew up with a wide range of agricultural manufacturers — equivalent to Corteva and DLG — that are synergetic to the sport. These kinds of partnerships observe an identical mindset to Rocket League’s current sponsorships with vehicle manufacturers. 

Household-friendly, however aggressive

Picture credit score: Giants Software program

One of many defining traits behind Farming Simulator and its esports league is the title’s family-friendly orientation. Farming Simulator is, in any case, a sport about tending to crops. As such, the sport wanted to have the identical pleasant ambiance even inside its esports scene. Eilermann defined that the core values of the product stay extraordinarily essential to them as a developer.

Farming Simulator esports additionally isn’t purely based mostly on driving and working expertise. The builders added crew and participant perks to emphasize teamwork and coordination; competence behind the wheel doesn’t essentially make a superb FSL participant.

Apparently, the FSL has confirmed fashionable amongst agricultural producers, with manufacturers like John Deere, Valtra, Trelleborg and Krone fielding skilled manufacturing facility groups within the competitors. Alongside potential monetary advantages, competing within the FSL offers these corporations with advertising alternatives that had beforehand not been attainable prior. 

Eilermann mentioned: “First, there are advertising alternatives for corporations to be sponsors of the league. Past that, tools producers have machines which might be getting extra complicated as time passes, and the FSL is an effective way for his or her machines to be proven off in a enjoyable and thrilling manner. They’ll additionally attain a youthful technology via the FSL than a daily media medium can present.

“As a simulation sport, we occupy a style of esports that’s fairly distinctive. We will embrace manufacturers authentically inside a family-friendly surroundings, their machines are actively operated in-game by gamers.”

Ploughing into 2022

Picture credit score: Farming Simulator League

RELATED: SPORTFIVE companions with GIANTS Software program for Farming Simulator League

In the course of the pandemic, Farming Simulator esports continued its upward development of years previous. Eilermann instructed Esports Insider that the crew ‘coped the perfect they may’ throughout the pandemic, and whereas the dearth of LANs was definitely felt, it introduced an attention-grabbing flip of occasions for the FSL.

Specifically, Eilermann shared that on-line tournaments gave the FSL extra of a aggressive edge as a result of gamers have been capable of spend extra time honing their expertise.

Concerning plans for the long run, the FSL just lately concluded its third aggressive season. The Grand Finals of the league’s World Championship came about in early December in Switzerland, with a prize pool of €100,000 (~£84,700). The winner was one of many factory-backed groups based by the corporate Trelleborg, a agency most identified for producing wheels for farm tools.

When speaking concerning the future, Eilermann added that the principle focus for the GIANTS Software program crew is engaged on the launch of its new core sport, Farming Simulator 22. Nonetheless, extra esports plans are set to be introduced subsequent 12 months.

Though the Farming Simulator League has been portrayed as a unusual esports title, the success of this sport and its esports ecosystem highlights that there’s a spot available in the market not only for MOBAs, FGCs or FPS’, however different video games with cult followings as nicely. 

Continued progress, LAN occasions, and appreciable prize swimming pools are going to indicate that aggressive farming isn’t only a fad — it’s beginning to bear the hallmarks of a real, albeit area of interest, esport.

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