Formula E’s first season has been perhaps the most spectacular of any racing series for many, many years. It has combined close on-track action with off-track driver rivalries, glamourous locations, celebrities and a huge amount of fan engagement.
But one thing is missing…
Start your games consoles
The global video game market is projected to hit $102.9 billion by 2017, up from $93 billion in 2013 according to Gartner. It is big business and as such has become a major battleground for some of the world’s biggest brands.
While franchises like Call of Duty or GTA have grabbed headlines, sports games have always been a mainstay. For example, FIFA 15 was biggest selling game of 2014, racking up total sales of 2.66 million units.
Codemasters’ rebooted F1 series sold a total 2.1 million copies between 2010-2013, but this year a new kid arrived on the block that presents an amazing opportunity for Formula E to solidify its fanbase and attract new supporters to the sport.
Project Cars – Formula E’s digital opportunity
A perfect example of fan engagement, the crowd-funded Project Cars sold an impressive 1 million copies in its first month on sale.
The game has been widely praised for its realism, handling and bringing excitement back to virtual racing. However it is lacking one thing: licenced race series.
By being the first to officially authorise the replication of its cars and tracks, Formula E could steal a march on the competition and reward fans with the opportunity to really get in the driving seat.
What fan wouldn’t want to know what it’s like to pound around the streets of say, Battersea Park, while having to manage battery demands amidst a title challenge against front-runners Nelson Piquet Jr and Lucas di Grassi? It’s the stuff that dreams are made of, but its oh-so possible.
Like many people my age, gaming has given me a greater understanding of the mechanics underlying motorsport, as well as enhancing my TV viewing experience through refined knowledge of the tracks. Testing your own speed against the times clocked by drivers on TV is a rewarding challenge – nurturing a greater appreciation for their talents, and those of their engineers in setting up the cars.
Gaming creates a greater affinity for a sport, enabling fans to drive their favourite team’s car to victory, battling against world-renowned drivers to be the first to the chequered flag. And let’s not forget the additional income that can be created for series and teams that endorse such products.
Project Cars’ focus on social networks to enable global multiplayer racing perfectly ties into Formula E’s existing audience, and would provide an idea opportunity for further conversations about the sport between its fans.
A virtual history
Formula E has already featured in a video game of course, and a big one at that. The official show car was included in Forza 5 as a free download.
However, Forza is an Xbox exclusive and thereby misses out on the 102 million owners of Playstation 3 and 4 consoles. In fact, the latter is the biggest seller of the current generation of games consoles.
Missing out on such a large audience is a real shame given the growing popularity of the sport. Now is the time to capitalise on an incredible start to the series and offer the perfect change for people to continue to connect with the sport by reliving the championship in a virtual world over the summer break.
I for one would leap at the chance to get on the virtual Formula E grid. Who wants to join me?