Software glitch sees Las Vegas esports winner demoted

A software glitch changed the outcome at the first virtual race between professional drivers from the Formula E electric series and gamers in Las Vegas.

Dutch SIM racer Bono Huis won over £160,000, the biggest prize in eSports racing history, after a controversial victory, which initially saw rival gamer Olli Pahkala announced as the winner.

Pahkala had begun celebrating his victory but was eventually demoted to third place after a post-race investigation found a software glitch had enabled him to use the sport’s ‘fanboost’ feature for longer than permitted.

As esports continue to grow in size and popularity, so do the winnings; the Formula E race boasted a total prize pot of US$1 million (£813,338), with even last place earning a guaranteed US$20,000 (£16,266).

The virtual ‘eRace’ was held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and featured 20 professional race drivers and 10 gamers with matching equipment. All wore flame-proof race suits, despite competing in a virtual world, as if driving actual cars.

“The first eRace in Las Vegas was a great success… I think this can be the first in a big future for Formula E in eSports racing. We will continue to pursue new and innovative ways to improve our presence in this fast growing landscape.” Formula E Chief Executive Alejandro Agag said.

Formula E will return later this year for two races in New York in July.

Edited from press release by Cecilia Rehn.