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Tuesday, 25 February 2020 07:07

Motorcycle Racing in the Age of eSports

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moto gpThe first motorcycles in history were built at the end of the 19th century.

People started using them for racing almost immediately after they emerged - the first international cup for motorcycles was held by the FIM (International Motorcycling Federation). After the years of turmoil Europe went through in the coming years - most notably the World Wars - a new motorcycling championship emerged: the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix. The tournament was rebranded as MotoGP in the early 2000s - this was also the year when the first video game with the “MotoGP” branding emerge

Simulators were always among the most popular video game genres. Game developers simulated everything from cities and single-cell life forms to casinos and, of course, racing. The complexity of even the most lifelike slot machine at the Lucky Nugget Online Casino is nowhere near as hard to emulate than that of a motorcycle race, though. The MotoGP video game series did a great job at it, though. Since 2000, each year has seen a new release. And the last couple of versions have taken the next evolutionary step, too: they have become a bona fide sport.

Motorcycle racing in the age of eSports

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Competitive gaming is all the rage today. Gamers from all over the world compete with each other either online or in massive events held at stadiums with tens of thousands of attendees (and millions more following the event online). eSports is the fastest-growing spectator “sport” today, even though many don’t even consider them real sports. 

Game developers and sports federations alike hope to create an eSports title that’s embraced by the masses. EA Sports, the company behind many famous sports simulator games, has done it with its FIFA soccer simulator series - it has an official eSports championship supported by FIFA itself. And Dorna Sports, the rights holder for MotoGP, has done the same with the MotoGP™ eSports Championship.

The first MotoGP™ eSport Championship took place last year. To qualify, the players had to complete the simulated version of the 4.6 km long Chang International Circuit virtually riding the simulated version of Jack Miller’s Pramac Ducati GP19. European players had to take on the Le Mans track riding Miguel Oliveira’s KTM RC16 to qualify. 

The finals were held last November - the event was held at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia with all the glitter and star power you might expect. 2013 Moto2 World Champion Pol Espargaro took the stage before the gamers started their dramatic race. The winner, going by the handle “AndrewZh” of the Ducati eSports team, took home a BMW M135i, and the runner-up won a Yamaha YZF-R3. And all three racers on the podium were rewarded with a Tissot watch.

This year, the MotoGP™ eSport Championship will return - the Pro Draft will begin on March 5, followed by the Global Series starting May 29, with the final taking place at the Circuit de Valencia on November 13.

“Traditional” sports are said to have lost a lot of their relevance to the younger audiences born and living in the digital age. eSports, in turn, are the perfect spectator sports for them. The 2019 MotoGP eSports Championship had an incredible viewership: 64 million video views online, and more than half of its audience between 13 and 24 years old. And for this year, Dorna can expect even more.

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 February 2020 23:13
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