Ford announces ‘Fordzilla’ esports team ahead of Gamescom

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Carmaker Ford has announced plans to expand its racing presence to virtual tracks for the first team through the creation of its own esports team.

The manufacturer has revealed it will enter esports racing competitions under the name Fordzilla.

The company said it would create national teams in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, as well as a European team featuring the best players from each country.

The car giant made the announcement on the eve of Gamescom in Germany, the biggest annual video games convention in Europe, where the firm said it would begin recruitment for the new Fordzilla teams.

Figures suggest the global esports market will generate more than $1 billion (£824 million) in 2019, with events watched by more than 450 million people.

Roelant de Waard, Ford of Europe vice president for marketing sales and service, said the company hoped to reach a new audience through its esports teams.

“We at Ford have a racing pedigree that others can only envy. 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,” he said.

Ford said its teams will compete in events within a number of games, including Xbox title Forza Motorsport 7.

The carmaker has become a prominent figure at Gamescom – last year it became the first car company to announce a new car at the convention.

Amko Leenarts, Ford director of design in Europe, said the closing gap between reality and gaming could help the company with its development of future vehicles.

“The distinction between real and virtual worlds is blurring. Gaming is now a part of mainstream culture. Top gamers challenge professional race drivers in real life and many of our day-to-day activities are ‘gamified’, from using fitness apps to collecting loyalty points for a free coffee,” he said.

“Harnessing the passion and expertise of the gaming community will help evolve our thinking around what future journeys will look like – something that we are all committed to and really excited about.”

Gamescom opens on Tuesday in Cologne, where the five-day event is expected to attract more than 300,000 visitors.

Chris Price
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