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  • Xavier Cullen

Obscure esports are turning into fan-favourites, and they shouldn’t be overlooked

A person playing Farming Simulator 19 at Gamescon 2019. The Farming Simulator series has over 25 million copies sold and 90 million mobile downloads. (Image by Marco Verch)

As esports has continued to grow, even the oddest and least-expected games have turned competitive.

Everyone who knows about esports knows of League of Legends, Valorant, Counter Strike and Call of Duty. However, there are plenty of games that have turned into esports that might come as a surprise.

As Esports Insider reported on December 8, Farming Simulator has grown from a simple game about stacking bales of hay to an esport with hundreds of thousands of euros on the line.

Even John Deere, an American company that manufactures farming machinery, has created its own team in the Farming Simulator League. While the league is not going to break any all-time viewership records anytime soon, it gives a platform to a competitive game that many people would have never taken seriously.

Other games such as Stardew Valley and Minecraft have had esports competitions despite both games being created with the intention to be relaxing, slow, and casual. Minecraft esports competitions in particular have grown due to the game’s immense popularity on YouTube. Currently, Minecraft content creator Technoblade’s video of a Minecraft Ultimate tournament has over 15 million views.

While these are great ways for fans and players to enjoy the games they love at the highest level of competition, they also open up the discussion about lower-level esports tournaments that might seem minor compared to the millions of people who watch League of Legends, for example.

Speedrunning is an esports genre that can encompass any game, and many people have taken that to the extreme. Even Cookie Clicker, the idle game with the only objective of getting more cookies, has over a thousand runs submitted for a variety of different categories.

This shows that esports is just about the biggest and most popular games. Whilst it surely is impressive that games like League of Legends are breaking esports viewership records, smaller tournaments, games, and competitions shouldn’t be forgotten about.

Sponsorships have entered some of these competitions, like John Deere joining the FSL, and fans are in love with these games. If you’re outside esports looking in, these may seem insignificant, but these games in combination create a serious force in the esports and gaming world.

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