- Despite not being what people imagine as esports, the competitive Farming Simulator scene has been growing strong
- Claas Eilermann from GIANTS Software spoke about how the Farming Simulator League was born
- The developers are already making plans for next year’s competitive events
Farming Simulator is tranquil, yet highly technical title that has found its niche in esports and has gathered support from some of the big names in tech and agriculture.
How The Passion For Farming Began
When people picture esports, they most likely imagine thrilling FPS shootouts or exciting MOBA clutches. Few people think about farming when talking about competitive gaming. Yet, Farming Simulator, one of the most popular simulator titles ever, manages to consistently maintain interest and host six-figure tournaments.
Curious about the niche esports title, the esports news outlet The Esports Insider spoke with Claas Eilermann, the event and esports manager at GIANTS Software, Farming Simulator.
Currently, Farming Simulator has a fairly big esports scene. The Farming Simulator League just concluded its last season with a $113,000 tournament in Switzerland. Yet, it wasn’t always this way.
Eilermann revealed that the game’s first competitive challenges began in 2016 when the most recent title was Farming Simulator 17. Back then, the competitive Farming Simulator scene began with people stacking hay bales. There were no serious intentions of making this into an esports competition and the whole challenge was more of something to be showcased at agricultural events.
However, during the 2017 AgriTechnica fair in Germany, it became obvious that a competitive Farming Simulator can definitely be a thing. This prompted the devs to work more diligently on the hay bale mechanics. Through this, the whole dynamics of the competitive play were changed and the Farming Simulator League was born.
The Tranquil Title Has Grabbed The Interests of Huge Companies
One of the greatest edges Farming Simulator has over other esports games is that it is completely devoid of violence of any sort. Many people have grown to appreciate the tranquil atmosphere and Eilermann has emphasized that the lack of violence reflects the developers’ core values.
Currently, Farming Simulator esports includes a competitive arena where teams of three players have to harvest crops with combine harvesters, make them into bales with baling machines and transport them to a specific location. The whole concept is simple but allows for intense enough esports play that has inspired players and league sponsors alike.
Despite Farming Simulator League not being about fighting and having a fairly simple concept, it still demands a lot of technical skill, coordination and team play from its players. Players should be both good drivers but should also be able to synchronize their actions.
The charm of Farming Simulator has attracted various big names in esports and agriculture. Some of the FSL sponsors include the famous tech brand Intel and the gaming chairs brand Noblechairs. Additionally, DLG and Corteva, two major agricultural brands, have also lent the league their help. Other agricultural manufacturers, such as John Deere, Krone, Trellborg and Valtra, on the other hand, have joined the league by funding their own esports teams.
Eilermann explained that by joining or supporting the league, the brands have the opportunity to tap into an unexplored market and gain popularity among a younger audience.
“As a simulation game, we occupy a genre of esports that is rather unique. We can include brands authentically within a family-friendly environment, their machines are actively operated in-game by players,” Eilermann explained.
Farming Simulator To Keep On Growing
As was the case with most esports, the Farming Simulator League stood strong against the COVID-19 pandemic and continued gaining popularity. Eilermann pointed out that switching to online play improved the competitive aspect of the game as it provided athletes with more time to improve their skills.
Currently, GIANTS Software is working on Farming Simulator 22, the game’s next iteration and is planning to host more esports events in 2022. The developers still haven’t announced a schedule but promised to reveal more once the next year rolls up.
In any case, the development of Farming Simulator as an esports game goes to show that almost every title can be played competitively, as long as there is a passionate player base.