A few years ago, video games stopped being just fun on weekends among friends to become a billion dollar competition between professional teams, with the concept of electronic sports (eSports).
Considered a relatively new concept , eSports are big business worldwide and their growth has been accelerated, with sponsors taking the modality in a new direction of expansion on major broadcast platforms – such as Twitch TV and YouTube Gaming. This allows talented competitors to become professionals and have a stable income.
According to the American company Newzoo, which specializes in conducting research in the electronic games segment, for the first time in global eSports history it will reach US $ 1 billion in 2020 – not counting the revenues from the transmission platform – and a total audience of approximately 495 million people.
Among the reasons for the rapid rise of eSports platforms , one of the main reasons is the emergence and growth of new modalities, which go beyond the popular franchises Dota, FIFA, Counter Strike, League of Legends, Pro Evolution Soccer, among others.
One modality that has gained an important space in electronic sports is virtual cycling. The Race Across America 2020, for example, considered by many to be the most difficult bicycle circuit in the world, this year will be 100% virtual and with athletes pedaling 4,828 km on the Zwift.
In the virtual race, athletes and participants will have two options to carry out the race: the first is to pedal the entire kilometer of the route. The second alternative is to cycle 1,384 km, with 12 days to complete the route – the event will take place between the 16th and 28th of June.
Zwift: one of the leading cycling simulators
It was not by chance that Zwift was chosen to be the virtual platform for the race of Race Across America 2020. With its first version launched in 2014, the game is a high-tech online platform that allows cyclists to train indoors to cycle occasionally with friends or compete virtually with people from all over the world.
In addition to having the bike and an electronic device of your choice (computer, laptop or tablet) to play the game, it is necessary to download the platform execution program on the Zwift website, have an internet connection, purchase a training roll (compatible with the game and with the bike being used), buy a reliable power meter to make the experience even better and an ANT antenna with bluetooth device to measure the energy of the pedaling and calculate the speed of the game.
The Zwift Companion app is a good tip for exploring and participating in the numerous events that the company offers its users, such as group tours, collective training and dispute tests.
For a more immersive experience, there are several free conference call options that cyclists can use in the app. Most of these services have video capabilities, but the internet connection needs to be fast and stable for these calls not to hinder game performance.
It is important to make it clear that Zwift is a paid platform and has seven free days for testing. It was also worth mentioning that some cyclists also use other platforms in the segment , such as Sufferfest, Rouvy, and TrainerRoad.
International Cycling Union intends to organize virtual cycling world
In October last year, David Lappartient, president of the International Cyclist Union (UCI), brought great news to the virtual cycling community when he announced that he plans to organize the first world eSports events in the cycling category.
“We are watching carefully the great growth of electronic sports. We must observe, and always be open to innovations and techniques and, above all, be relevant to the public ”, highlighted Lappartient, in an official statement in 2019.
In the same speech, the president of the UCI also said that virtual cycling is an excellent gateway for the arrival of new cyclists, and also allows athletes of all categories to train and compete without being concerned with the climate or location.