The world of competitive Farming Simulator is taking a big step up - as an official league, boasting a €250,000 prize pool, has been unveiled by developer GIANTS Software.
Professional leagues have become the closest thing to a standardized system across esports titles, with CS:GO, League of Legends, Call of Duty, PUBG and more all having a 'Pro League' of some capacity.
We can finally add Farming Simulator to that list, as GIANTS Software have announced the inaugural league beginning in 2019, following a 'testing of the waters' in 2017 and 2018.
The 'Farming Simulator Championship' is becoming the 'Farming Simulator League', "a full-fledged esports league with 10 tournaments across Europe."
The season will culminate with one team crowned the Farming Simulator Champion and €100,000 in prizing, which will take place at FarmCon 2020. The total prize pool across the 10 events amounts to €250,000.
The league has also secured some big name sponsors, including Intel, Logitech and noblechairs,
Christian Ammann, CEO of GIANTS Software and manager of the esports division, explained that they want to show that farming can be both fun and competitive.
"Competitive farming is something people enjoy for years now, but it hasn’t been done in eSports so far. We have lots of eSports enthusiasts in our company who can’t wait to show the world that farming can indeed be fun and competitive at the same time."
Played on Farming Simulator 19, the competitive matches will take the shape of a 3v3 mode. Although the exact details of the game mode itself have not been fully unveiled, GIANTS explain that "teams challenge each other to determine who is the best on the field."
"The game will, of course, stand true to its roots in farming and combine real field work like harvesting with fun and challenging game elements."
The league will no longer use the hay bale stacking mode which was used for previous competitive events. These events pulled in significant spectating numbers, as shown in the image below from an event in 2018.
The Farming Simulator series remains incredibly popular with its casual player base, with the latest release, Farming Simulator 2019 reportedly selling 1 million copies in its first 10 days.
If it can continue to grow its burgeoning esports scene alongside maintaining its casual fans, who knows, maybe competitive farming will be the next big thing in esports?