Highest Paid eSports Games of All Times

Hinkson wins E-Sports title – Barbados flag in WRC SIM

Hinkson wins E-Sports title – Barbados flag in WRC SIM

Highest Paid eSports Games of All Times

Mark-Anthony Hinkson has won the E-Sports R5 Rally Championship, presented by First Citizens, for the second time. In a dominant performance, the reigning champion won all five rounds of the competition, which is administered by Caribbean Sim Motorsport (CSM), a Member Club of the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF).

While Hinkson was celebrating his own success, there was also good news for the whole e-sports community in the island, as CSM has been successful in lobbying for the inclusion of Barbadian nationality and the Broken Trident in driver selections in the recently-launched Electronic Arts Sports (EA Sports) licensed title of the World Rally Championship (WRC) franchise simulator game.

On his way to the 2023 title, Hinkson beat more than 60 competitors from five countries; 18 scored points and there were five different podium finishers. With a maximum possible score of 250 points, along with two Power Stage wins, he finished 30 ahead of Jamaican Thomas Hall, who was on the podium all season and won the Power Stage in round four. With two podium finishes, Hall’s fellow-countryman Kimani McGann finished third, while Barbadians Kurt Thompson, Kevon Sealy and Blake Thompson completed the top six.

Contested over the Codemaster Dirt Rally 2.0 platform open to PlayStation, Xbox and PC players, competitors all drive R5 rally cars, in keeping with the real-world championship, with the format of events also similar. The Ford Fiesta was by far the most popular choice, but there were also examples of the Citroen C3 and Skoda Fabia, which are seen regularly in island events, plus the Mitsubishi Space Star and Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Just as the top three real-world R5 Championship competitors have won year-end prize money to donate to their designated charities, there was also a prize fund for the E-Sports players. At each round, the top three received Bds $100, $75 and $50 respectively, with an additional $25 to the Power Stage winner; the Championship prizes are 1st overall, Bds $500; 2nd overall, Bds $250; 3rd overall, Bds $150.

CSM Chairman Robert Simmons said: “Mark’s approach to the season was second to none and clearly shows he is indeed the man to beat next year, albeit that seems to be an uphill battle for the others. Mark’s eyes are now fully focused on the 2024 championship when we will move to the new EA Sports WRC 2023, also the trial events to select who will represent Barbados at the FIA World Motorsport Games to be held in Spain in October.”

EA Sports launched the new WRC simulator game at the end of October, with a number of update ‘patches’ issued since. Simmons explains: “The simulator was near perfect, but deficient in not allowing drivers to select Barbadian nationality or the Barbados national flag, something which had been a problem under other publishers for around a decade.”

Although there were other, larger countries which were also not recognised, CSM tackled the issue head-on, following its national mandate as a member of the BMF, and lobbied the EA Sports team. Simmons again: “Using examples such as F2 driver Zane Maloney, Rally Barbados and all the internationally known drivers who have competed here, we explained that Barbados ‘does’ motor sport to a competitive and highly organised standard and in a unique atmosphere. After approximately eight weeks of back and forth with various EA Sports team members, we were delighted to see the simulator update patch for December highlighting the addition of the Barbados flag and nationality. We have thanked the EA sports team for considering the lobby and approving the request we made.”

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