Farming Simulator goes esports with a €250,000 pro league

I like to poke a little fun at the Farming Simulator games now and then, mainly as an excuse to link to this, but the reality is that it's a big and remarkably durable fish in the niche simulator pond. So big, in fact, that developer Giants Software is launching a Farming Simulator League, which is a competitive pro league with a €250,000 prize pool, and no, I am not joking. 

Believe it or not (which feels like a statement that's going to apply to a lot of this post), there were four competitive Farming Simulator tournaments held in 2018, in Switzerland, Germany, and Poland. But they were one-off affairs with relatively tiny prize pools—the biggest was at Herofest 18 in Bern, which offered a prize pool of €2890. This new endeavor will be "a full-fledged esports league with 10 tournaments across Europe," and real cash on the table. 

"Competitive farming is something people enjoy for years now, but it hasn’t been done in esports so far," Giants CEO Christian Ammann said. "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. We believe we found the right mix of real farming and fun to play game elements to ensure everyone will find it entertaining." 

Each event in the tournament series will offer prizes and circuit points that will take the best teams into a €100,000 grand finale. Giants has partnered with Logitech, Intel, and noblechairs for the new pro league, and will work with service provider Nitrado for hosting and streaming. Tournament games will run in Farming Simulator 19, and will expand from bale stacking (which was apparently the basis for the previous tourneys) to "a competitive 3v3 mode where teams will challenge each other to determine who is the best on the field." 

Giants said it will reveal more about the new Farming Simulator League "in the near future." In the meantime, if you're still not convinced that this is a real thing that is actually happening, here's seven hours of competition from day two of FarmCon 18, which features an impressive performance by the Deutz Weise double-loader just ahead of hour four. No, I am not joking.