MotoGP's Gateway Drug: New Video Game
by staff
Thursday, January 24, 2013

The news that Milestone is developing the new MotoGP 13 video game this year probably was met by a shrug or ignorance from all corners of the motorcycle industry.

A video game won't make an M1 go faster. It won't solve the front-end problems of the GP13. And it won't deliver another prodigy like Marc Marquez to the premier class.

But a great game can drastically increase the profile of Grand Prix motorcycle racing around the world with younger fans, especially in countries where the sport has a low profile. Such as America.

Take rallying, for example. Codemasters started the Colin McRae Rally series on the PlayStation in 1998. The game was a critical and popular hit on both sides of the Atlantic and introduced scores of American kids to rallying. The sport's profile increased, helping bring more eyeballs, which led to SPEED offering extensive WRC coverage on U.S. cable systems in the early to mid-2000s.

Every form of motorsport other than rallycross and motocross struggles to attract the vital 16-to-25-year-old demographic in America. NASCAR has lost those kids in droves. So has IndyCar, sports-car racing, NHRA and DMG/AMA.

But great video games are one of the more effective methods to connect the virtual world - in which kids are living more than ever - with the real world. It's the ultimate gateway drug.

Milestone lost the MotoGP license four years ago, and the subsequent games produced by another developer were garbage. What once was a highly anticipated annual release among gamers and MotoGP enthusiasts in the early and mid-2000s became instant bargain-bin fodder.

MotoGP 13 won't double attendance at Grand Prix events at Austin, Laguna and Indy. But the game could make MotoGP cool for kids, teens and young adults, which never is a bad thing.


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