Formula E Leaps into eSports

The renegade Formula division has always been a breeding ground for new technologies and their crazy implementations – could eSports be its next venture?

It doesn’t quite sound right to say that there is going to be a grand race with all 20 Formula E racers and a select number of professional gamers, but that’s exactly what’s happening.

On January 7th, 2017 the group will take to the stage at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in what is slated to be the largest eSports racing event in history. Up until now most games that have generated massive followings have been those akin to team-based fighting games. Shoot-em-ups like Counter-Strike and hero/champion based strategic games like League of Legends and Dota 2 continue to dominate the rankings – but could there be a spot among them for a racing sport the likes of Formula E?

The biggest question of course is “why”? Why would spectators opt to watch virtual Formula E races when they could watch real ones? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Sure, there’d be considerably less set-up time, but when you take the “motor” out of a “Motorsport”, what the hell are you left with exactly? Reigning eSports offer something that other sports cannot purely since they take place in simulation. I don’t want to see someone get shot in the face with an automatic weapon and then tea-bagged in real life for sport. That would be immoral, unethical, and traumatic. But in a round of arena-based combat a-la Counter Strike? I’ll eat that shit up any day.

It’s hard to see not see this event as nothing more than a unique attempt to rouse up interest as a form of publicity stunt. But at the same time, it would be ludicrous to assume that someone over at FIM isn’t watching the staggering blowup in the realm of eSports without a keen interest.

I’m hard-pressed to say that we won’t see a racing eSport with a fanatical following. But then again, how many of us thought that there’d be an entire market of people willing to watch others play video games?

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