In recent years, E-Sports has emerged into the spotlight and has gathered a massive following. But what turns a video game into a competitive sport? Player skill is the obvious one, but there is a much bigger element in competitive E-Sports. That is teamwork, and the human elements surrounding different decisions to be made. Whether it is decisions made on the track, strategies, or the decisions made after that could change results, each could play a much bigger role in the sport.
Teamwork in E-Sports revolves around members of the same team carrying out a set strategy and supporting each other to achieve a goal. These strategies can be decided by the players in the team and often involve coaches that instruct how the teams should play against different opponents, in practice, professional e-sport teams operate very similarly to traditional sports.
How does this work in sim racing? Most races are done by the driver him/herself and there isn’t a team of mechanics or pit crew. That is the case for amateur online race matches and beginner class local competition. When it comes to the pro leagues in competitive Sim Racing, teamwork is essential to the success of the race team.
Just like in real motorsport, professional teams often run two or more teams with 4 or more drivers in the same race. Teams would strategize so that their top drivers secure the top qualifying spots of the race, while the slower teammates take care of the mid-pack by pressuring opponents or by taking defensive lines to protect their place and allow the faster teammates to have a larger gap. The team’s pit and tire strategies also play big roles in sim racing just as in real-life motorsport.
We covered the basics of the human component in competitive sim racing, so what’s next? Well, the next thing is to add even more! The biggest criticism in sim racing is the penalty system; at its current state, most e-motorsport tournaments rely on the simulation software’s penalty system. With the AI handling the penalty, it is often exploited or creates unfairness without a way to challenge or dispute the outcome.
To allow sim racing to become more serious, an easy solution for this to happen is to race monitored by Race Marshals and Stewards. Then E-Sport races will function more like motorsport and less reliant on the built-in systems that were designed for consumers rather than a professional competitive environment. Removing automated systems in a sim software and increasing the presence of the human touch such as flag rules, safety car deployment, and dishing of penalties there will be an increase in the uncertainty but also a more flexible and dynamic race. Where human error and judgement could change the outcome for better and worse. As a result, it becomes more engaging and much more realistic to what we see in real life.
Over in Asia, we are now seeing sim racing organize more like a motorsport event rather than a competitive gaming event. Professional class sim racing leagues have started to emerge, often backed by official motorsport sanctions and organized by professional race organizers that have experience in organizing manufacturer cup races events. By bringing in motorsport industry experts, sim racing has increased its resemblance to real-world motorsport racing, creating greater immersion for both players and audience watching the race.
We will look forward to seeing how sim racing will evolve in the future, one thing for certain is that we are witnessing the dawn of an entirely new industry that is expanding rapidly and creating all sorts of new commercial opportunities. We will go in-depth in a future article on how this new sim racing industry is created, what kind of impact it had on the automotive industry and where it will head to.
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