It’s no secret that eSports are big. How big? Multi-billion-dollar kind of big. And while there are some names that immediately come to mind, some franchises might not be so obvious at first glance. Everyone knows about the League of Legends scene. People are aware of the Smash Bros. scene. But there’s a real-life sport with very strong ties to eSports. And it is a match made in heaven. Let me tell you why F1 is the perfect eSport.
Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin and More
Recognize those brands? I’m sure you do. Everyone does. You know what they all have in common? They all compete in Formula 1. You know what else? They all compete in the F1 Pro Series eSports league. That’s right: the F1 teams you see on TV every other weekend also officially compete in the eSports league. There are plenty of events, too. Just checking the calendar of the next esport tournaments can tell you there’s plenty of action, both on and off the track.
And it’s no joke: the ties between the eSports operations and the bigger, “real life” teams is enormous. Pro gamers get exposed to huge branding opportunities, but beyond that, there’s a strong collaboration, too. Because the technology they use in eSports is actually pretty hardcore.
The Simulation is Real
Formula 1 teams get a limited amount of testing and development time due to technical regulations. That means that a lot of the testing and development of the car happens on a simulator. Over the years, this has allowed teams to leverage their eSports expertise to develop their real-world cars.
Virtually all F1 reserve drivers spend a lot of time on the simulator, whose technology is almost identical to an eSports rig. They also sometimes compete in eSports events. In fact, during last year’s COVID crisis, quite a few of the real F1 drivers competed in virtual events, including George Russell, Alex Albon and Lando Norris. In fact, Lando Norris has his own Twitch channel, where he streams regularly. Though no substitute for the real thing (yet), eSports tech and simulators allow F1 teams to have a much tighter integration across their companies.
Built-in Fans Worldwide
One thing with which most eSports struggle is crossing into mainstream audiences. It’s hard to sell Regular Joe Off The Street on watching a League of Legends match. But Formula 1 has millions of fans around the world. It’s a sport that has been around for over 50 years. There’s a Netflix docuseries around it. When you talk about why F1 is the perfect eSport, this juggernaut comes with such a big audience, it’s easy to make a case for it.
Even people who had no interest in eSports had a great time watching the official F1 streams in 2020. Codemasters’ F1 2020 video game was the latest entry in its legendary series, and it was a belter. The simulation was better than ever, accuracy was top notch, and realism was off the scales. It just looked beautiful. People who had never shown any interest in gaming or eSports had a great time watching those virtual races.
F1 Is the Perfect Esport, But What Else is Out There?
The answer? A lot. Once you get your feet wet with F1 as an esport, there’s a huge rabbit hole you can go down to. Personally, I love the Tetris competitive scene. My wife and I both love playing Tetris, so we get a lot of joy from watching the masters at work.
Regardless of what you choose, though, eSports’ journey into the mainstream is something we cannot turn back on. Esports will only grow in popularity, and for fans of competitive entertainment, there’s never been a time where it was as easy to consume, or create, this type of content.