Along with the official announcement of Gran Turismo Sport’ Polyphony Digital’s latest instalment of the franchise has been given official recognition  by the FIA back in October 2015. What we know so far is that for now 2 events will be officially recognised and sanctioned as a real FIA motorsport event, no different to an actual real’ world event all be it virtual.  The 2 events that have been announced are as follows:  The Nations Cup and the Manufactures Cup.  Further details on what type of motorsport event, car types and tracks along with the event format is yet to be announced publically.

How GT Sport will evolve in the future as an Esports game (sport) and the number of  events that will be FIA sanctioned is unclear but what is clear, and off of the back of the very successful GT Academy, GT Sport most definitely wants to be at the forefront of the rapidly growing Eposts industry that has seen immense growth over a short period across many franchises and game types.

More recently WESA , or “World Esports Association” has been announced, and will adopt a role not too dissimilar to what the FIA plays in real life motorsport! WESA  though, does not seem to be Esport’ sport specific, and has obviously adopted the role to potentially act as a governing body for every esport type, and with the goal to standardise rules/regulations for online competitions.  Just like in physical sport we might see Esport type specific organisations/associations form off of the back of WESA setting the tone very publically, and then even perhaps I suspect that we will see many geographical variants work alongside/under international governing bodies too. A real world comparison would be FIFA that govern world football, EUEFA for Europe and then individual associations for specific countries like the FA for the English football leagues etc.

It would be a challenging and daunting task for WESA to micro govern every sub Esport type specifically; by having child variants of itself to take on these roles, so naturally I think Esport’ sport specific associations as per above are naturally likely to form under WESA possibly, or others that might appear later down the line to fill in the specific genre gaps! (Of course  if there is mutual collaboration from everybody) Turning our focusback to GT Sport, It is also interesting that the FIA have opted to sanction virtual motorsport events (at least for now) via Gran Turismo Sport,  though the big question being…..Could the FIA also sanction Esports events from other motorsport franchises, such as Project Cars, Forza and Asseto Corsa? Could we also see other real life sport governing bodies sanction other Esport’ sport types, such as FIFA for EA’s FIFA Soccer,  the IGF for Golf Esport games or the IIHF for Ice Hockey and so on? It is an interesting prospect and question to think about.

Esports have been around for a while, but now the concept is becoming more organised and mainstream accelerated by the rapid advance of games and the technology and infrastructure that is driving it. Sponsorship and TV rights to broadcast events nationally and internationally are becoming ever more popular and lucrative. I am sure that towards the end of this console cycle we will see Esports become ever more mainstream with the next generation of consoles where Esports will really be the status quo.

Below were the days carrying your console and CRT to a LAN meet

LANPlayers

In the coming years we are going to see a new monster of an industry grow, where spotty game obsessed teenagers will be signing autographs and fighting off admirers, perhaps earning 5, 6 and possibly 7 figures, through a combination of team contracts, prize and sponsorship money or even lucrative team player transfers. Just take one look at South Korea where their Esports industry is much more mature, with plenty of gamers/Esports competitors  that hold equal popularity and stardom as traditional sportsmen and women.

GT Arena in essence is an Esport Website, where our concept was and still is to play home to Gran Turismo and other sim racing Clubs and Teams, where we provide those teams customised and branded forums with news and team info sections. Members can compete among themselves or by representing their team for team versus events. We also devised a standardised season chronologically set over a 16 week period with a 4-8 week off season, structured  and with set rules that would be agreed upon among clubs that participated in the GT Arena Season.  We were perhaps  a little ahead of our time and hindered by the technology deficit of a few years ago that still is present with certain games and yet to progress with others to really fully exploit the conceptual potential.

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I guess now though GTArena’s concept and take on Esports might make more sense to those looking in from the outside, so we invite individuals and teams to collaborate as members or new site staff here.

I suggest we should all watch closely and to prepare ourselves (should we choose) for a transformation in how we play our games and in particular for us Gran Turismo and other racing franchises. What all of this means for Gran Turismo Sport and its place in the Esport world is anybody’s guess like always it is healthy to look to see what your competitors are doing, especially those that have been doing for some time, like IRacing and many others. Time will tell. Roll on GT Sport. See you all on a virtual race track soon.

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