Over the last few weeks and months we've heard a lot about Porsche and their relationship with the video game world. For years EA Sports held an exclusive license with Porsche. However, that all changed last year. Since then, we've seen a number of new options with regard to the inclusion of Porsche in various video games and simulators including, Gran Turismo Sport, iRacing, Assetto Corsa and, most recently, Forza. Today, from the interview below, we learned that Porsche could potentially field its own works "e-drivers" in eSport Motorsport Events.
What's an eSport motorsport event?
To answer that we must first define 'eSport' itself. It's actually not that difficult to figure out, 'eSports' are simply a type or form of competition that takes place, or is facilitated, by the use of some kind of electronic system or systems (usually in the form of a video game using xBox, Play Station, your computer, smartphone, etc.). An 'eSport Motorsport Event' is the natural off-shoot of this. It's where multiple players come together in a virtual environment and play against each other in some form of challenge or competition. Until now, most eSport events were played largely in the world of certain genres including First Person Shooter (FPS) and Multi Player Online Battle Arenas (MOBA). Think of games like Counterstrike, Call of Duty and DOTA.
Today, with the popularity of simulators like Assetto Corsa and iRacing, along with the ability to network together multiple users from anywhere in the world, eSport Motorsport Events are becoming much more popular. If you need an example, just take a look at how Formula E has blurred the lines between eSports and reality. More close to home, CJ Wilson held a competition last year in an attempt to find their next driver through a Cayman GT4 racing series they hosted on Forza.
Now, with Porsche's new relationship with Microsoft, we'll have video games like Forza Motorsport. Forza currently claims a pool of more than 4-million players. According to Turn 10 Studios Creative Director Dan Greenawalt, more than 40,000 of those users took part in the most recent Forza Racing Championship this past weekend. That's a huge pool of people that Porsche gets a chance to reach and plant a seed for a possible future purchase.
What's this about virtual Porsche Factory drivers?
Virtual is probably the wrong word choice. Instead, these are 'e-drivers'. Real people, driving Porsches via a video game vs. the real thing on the track. Just like Porsche has a large contingent of Factory Drivers and Porsche Juniors, 'e-drivers' could become another level within the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid.
Is This For Real?
It is and it's only going to get bigger! Now, I know that for most Porsche owners the idea of an 'e-driver" might be anathema. After all, why play around with games when you can drive the real thing? The thing is, many won't ever have the chance to drive a Porsche of any type. Hell, even those of us that are fortunate enough to own one or two will most likely never get the shot to drive Cup cars or any of the multi-million dollar collectible Porsches now trading hands at the various auctions. eSport Motorsport Events have the ability to level the playing field and give everyone the opportunity to try their hand behind the "virtual" wheel of a Porsche while at the same time spreading the good word and interest about our favorite marque.
Porsche's head of Branded Entertainment, Sebastian Hornung, was quick to point out that, "at the moment it's still too early to talk about" the idea of a Porsche e-driver team, but it's something Porsche is definitely looking into. I know if they do, I'll be trying out. Will you?