Worldwide corn enthusiasts gather next week at FarmCon 22, the Lollapalooza of videogame agriculture

Farming Simulator 22
(Image credit: Giants Software)

It's hard to overstate just how big Farming Simulator is in some parts of the world. Here in North America, it's generally considered a niche product for die-hard sim fans who may or may not hail from Iowa. But in Germany, for instance, it's the subject of a two-day FarmCon event complete with reveals, retrospectives, a talk on modding, and the pièce de résistance, the Bailing Royale.

The big FarmCon show will kick off on July 21 with a two-hour stream on Twitch offering a first look at the upcoming Farming Simulator Platinum Edition expansion, which will include new machines and a new map, plus with an unveiling of two new content packs, a feature on modding, a look at real-life farm equipment manufacturer Kubota (which just recently added its equipment to the Farming Simulator series), and a retrospective on "precision farming."

The real action begins on July 23 at the John Deere Forum in Mannheim, Germany, with in-person presentations including "much more detailed lectures and presentations of the topics touched on Thursday." The live event will also see the promised running of the Bailing Royale, an event in which competitors stack virtual hay bales against the clock. Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet employees of Giants Software, the developer of the Farming Simulator series, and to attend a panel of German content creators.

"The anticipation for FarmCon is growing daily—we have so much new stuff in store and can't wait to share our fruits of labor with our community," Giants head of publishing Boris Stefan said. "Besides the product news for Farming Simulator 22, I'm most looking forward to the personal conversations in a familiar atmosphere."

Like the Thursday show, the live event will be streamed on Twitch and simultaneously translated from German, to "transport the fascination of FarmCon out into the world." And it is fascinating, isn't it? It might seem odd from the outside looking in, but Farming Simulator is a big game with a big audience, and while competitive hay bale stacking might sound silly, it makes for a legitimately good esport too: Chris has written about it more than once in the past because as weird as it might sound, it's genuinely a lot of fun.

I mean, look at these guys go—I live in an agricultural community, and I can tell you that this is some F1-tier farming.

The Thursday FarmCon livestream will begin at 8 pm CEST/2 pm ET/11 am PT, while the Saturday event will get underway at 9:45 am CEST/3:45 am ET/12:45 am PT. If you're going to be in Germany that weekend and want to check it out live (which, really, is the only way to go), tickets are $10 each (that's a bargain) from Eventbrite. And for those who can't make it, here's an after-action recap from FarmCon 19, so you can get a taste of what it's like.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.