In fact, it's perfect.
Video games have gone far beyond their origins as casual home entertainment. Today, over 380,000 million people watch Esports every year and major automakers are beginning to take notice. Nissan has even given the best ESports players a chance to train in a real-life racecar and some of the drivers have gone on to successful racing careers. Ford wants to be the next automaker to recognize the success of ESports with its very own European gaming team called 'Fordzilla.'
"We at Ford have a racing pedigree that others can only envy. Now is the time to take that know-how and apply it to the world of Esports - capturing the imagination of a new generation of virtual racing drivers, inspiring them to take a ride in one of our Ford Performance vehicles," said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing Sales & Service, Ford of Europe.
Starting at Gamescom, Europe's leading trade fair for video games, Ford will recruit the best players from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK for national teams and create an all-star team with the best talent from each country. ESports is a rapidly-growing industry that is expected to generate $1.1 billion in revenue during 2019 (up 26.7% compared to 2018). Over 453.8 million are expected to watch Esports in 2019, including 201.2 million enthusiasts and 252.6 million casual viewers.
"The distinction between real and virtual worlds is blurring. Gaming is now a part of mainstream culture. Top gamers challenge professional race drivers in real life and many of our day-to-day activities are 'gamified', from using fitness apps to collecting loyalty points for a free coffee," said Amko Leenarts, director, Design, Ford of Europe. "Harnessing the passion and expertise of the gaming community will help evolve our thinking around what future journeys will look like -something that we are all committed to and really excited about."
Ford already has a connection to Esports with several vehicles in the Forza and Gran Turismo video game franchises. The Ranger Raptor was recently added to Forza, giving American gamers a rare chance to drive a truck that isn't offered in the US market.
"We are pleased to see Forza Motorsport continuing to be the game of choice for big brands like Ford as they launch Esports initiatives," said Justin Osmer, Sr. Manager of Partnership Development at Turn 10 Studios. "With millions of fans playing Forza games, we've seen significant growth in the numbers who want to compete, or simply spectate, in Esports and it's great to see a long-standing partner like Ford Motor Company bringing even more opportunities to participate."