Josep Maria Bartomeu, president of Barcelona, has said the Spanish soccer champions will not participate in esports titles they deem to be too violent.
The club made their first inroads into competitive gaming in 2018 after joining the eFootball.Pro league, competed on Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) title. The Catalan club further expanded their esports presence by signing a team to compete in racing title Rocket League in April last year.
However, Bartomeu has cooled talk of mass Barca expansion into the esports sector by specifically ruling out games that incorporate violence, believing it does not fit the club’s brand.
Speaking to Radio Marca, the 57-year-old said: “We have teams in Asia that compete with the colours of Barca but we don't get too full because of our values we don't want to participate in violent games, which are 80 per cent.”
Though Bartomeu did not mention any specific games, a look at the esports landscape shows the popularity of first-person shooters (FPS) such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) and Call of Duty (CoD), both of which have violent gameplay. However, titles such as League of Legends or Fortnite, which qualify as ‘strategy’, are apparently acceptable and could be the focus of the club’s work in that area, according to Palco23.
The Spanish business outlet reports that Barca are looking at securing a partnership with a Chinese esports team in the coming months. The club are apparently seeking to franchise their brand to an existing property in order to enter the largest global gaming market with a solid foundation.
Elsewhere in Barca’s commercial department, they have signed a global partnership with blockchain-based fan engagement platform Chiliz, the club’s first deal in that sector.
The tie-up enables supporters to interact with the La Liga giants through Socios.com, Chiliz’ fan voting and rewards platform, by participating in team-related activities using blockchain assets called ‘Barca Fan Tokens’. By engaging with the club, the platform will also reward fans with Chiliz’s $CHZ cryptocurrency or Barca Fan Tokens.
Forty million Barça Fan Tokens will be made available in Q2 2020, with each of them costing €2 (US$2.2) at the initial point of sale.
“Adding FC Barcelona fans to the Socios.com global community takes us one step closer to our goal of mainstream adoption of blockchain,” said Alexandre Dreyfus, Chiliz chief executive and founder.
“Every time a fan downloads the app, we are furthering education, and every time a fan buys a Fan Token, we are strengthening the use cases of this innovative technology.”