Car manufacturer to gate-crash the gaming scene

Ford is seeking out the best online racers to form its first ever esports teams. Starting at Gamescom, Europe’s leading trade fair for digital games culture, Ford will recruit national Fordzilla teams for France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – as well as a European team consisting the star players from each national team.

As younger generations eschew driving and car ownership in favour of smart phones and online gaming, Ford is making the bold move of muscling on the virtual world with this unique initiative. And hopefuly enticing gaming fans into Ford products in the real world.

‘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.

In 2019, the global esports market is expected to generate revenues of $1.1 billion, up 26.7% year on year; the audience will reach 453.8 million, made up of 201.2 million esports enthusiasts and 252.6 million occasional viewers.

In 2017, Ford became the first manufacturer to host a stand at Gamescom, which boasts more than 1,000 exhibitors that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, and last year, the company pioneered the first-ever vehicle reveal at the show – unveiling the Ford Ranger Raptor, the performance version of Europe’s best-selling pickup.

‘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.

Among the games that Fordzilla will compete on is the award-winning Forza Motorsport 7, developed by Microsoft Game Studios’ Turn 10 Studios. The Forza franchise is the best-selling racing franchise of this console generation and is home to one of the largest racing communities in the world. Millions of people worldwide play Forza games each month with 1 million players choosing Ford vehicles.

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