Ford has apparently just woken up to the global impact of esports with the launch of its very own virtual racing team called … wait for it … Fordzilla.
The Michigan-based automaker said it’s now in the process of building national teams, with recruitment kicking off at this week’s Gamescom event in Germany where it hopes to sign up top gamers who can drive like the pros.
“Across the world, millions of people every day get behind the wheel of a virtual Ford vehicle and enjoy racing against friends and as part of online communities,” the company said in a release, adding that it’s now “seeking out the best online racers to form its first-ever esports teams.”
Fordzilla teams will represent France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K., with an additional European team made up of the best players from each national team. There’s no word yet on a U.S. team, but with Ford being as American as apple pie, we can safely assume it’s on the way.
Those racing for Fordzilla will compete in a range of games, including Forza Motorsport 7, developed by Microsoft Game Studios’ Turn 10 Studios.
“We at Ford have a racing pedigree that others can only envy,” Ford Europe’s Roelant de Waard said. “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.”
The automaker first signaled a serious interest in esports in 2017 when it became the first automaker to host a stand at Gamescom, and last year it performed the first-ever vehicle reveal at the show when it unveiled the Ranger Raptor.
However, the formation of Fordzilla marks its most serious commitment to esports to date, and with the sector continuing to grow, Ford can no longer resist diving in.
This year the global esports market is forecast to generate revenues of $1.1 billion, marking a 26.7% increase on 2018. Audiences are expected to reach a whopping 453.8 million, comprising 201.2 million esports enthusiasts and 252.6 million occasional viewers. And for the very best players, there are huge cash prizes up for grabs. Just last month, for example, an American teen collected $3 million for winning a massive Fortnite contest in New York City, with the total prize pool worth an astonishing $30 million.
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