Competitive yacht racing, as opposed to sailing, appeals to quite a small number of people. There is an argument by some, that motorsport attracts a bigger audience than yacht racing because most people can relate to driving a car, but can’t relate to sailing – but this doesn’t seem to apply to golf, where participation is high, but not as high as the number of people watching.
A game like Real Golf for the Ipad appeals not just to hard-core golfers, but to the wider audience who like gaming for gaming’s sake. Sailing games are a way of introducing sailing to an audience that might not otherwise experience it. Gaming also has the advantage of teaching the rules of yacht racing to novices without being patronising. All games are the same – from pacman to farmville – the people who understand how the game is played, do best.
The Global Ocean Race has emerged, after a troubled start, as the prefferred round the world race for the popular Class 40 yacht. The race will begin in September, and gamers can play along thanks to the online game being hosted by United Games.
Gamers won’t be just playing the online sailing game for glory, Accounting software firm, and Global Ocean Race sponsor bluQube will be providing prizes for the virtual sailing race.
bluQube Marketing Manager, Matthew Kirby says:
“Our involvement in the virtual race complements our sponsorship perfectly and gives us the ideal platform to encourage both our staff and customers to experience what it’s like to take part in what will be both an exciting and gruelling competition. Asking players to join our own bluQube ‘friends’ community gives us the opportunity to build a branded virtual community and at the same time we can contribute to a really worthy cause.”
Winners of the sailing game can win; a mini-break for two in Palma, Mallorca including flights, accommodation and a day’s sailing with veteran sailor and GOR Race Director, Josh Hall. Winners of the 5 individual legs will be given the chance to sail in a Class 40 boat with the Phesheya Team (adopted by bluQube during the GOR), after the race has finished in July next year.
While the Global Ocean Race is a small event compared to the Vendee Globe and Volvo Ocean Race, the race will benefit from an audience of gamers that is far larger than the audience for yacht racing. UnitedGames serves 100 million players worldwide – and GOR organiser Josh Hall is hoping for 0.15% of those to take part – which would give the Global Ocean Race Online game 150,000 players.
In addition to the web client, UnitedGames will make the virtual sailing game available on iPhone, iPad and Android-based smartphones enabling player-access to their game 24/7. To provide players with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the game-controls and the behavior of the boats, a trial virtual GOR race of around 1,000 miles will be launched shortly before the GOR’s start in Palma, Mallorca, on the 25th September.