Who plays the Farming Simulator series? According to longtime developer Giants Software, the simulation franchise is seeing an increase in popularity among both children and Americans in light of last year's launch on consoles, studio art director Thomas Frey tells Polygon.
Farming Simulator 13 came to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 last year for the first time — a significant change for the series that previously only released to PCs, and one of the first major steps toward cultivating a fully international market for the series, we were told.
"In Germany and Europe we have a lot of PC users, but America's got more console players," said Frey. The simulation studio also attributes the introduction of American branded farming items, primarily the agricultural equipment manufacturer Case, for helping extend the reach of the game.
But it's the move to handheld devices with the release of Farming Simulator 2014 on Nintendo DS and PS Vita that Giants Software is hoping to home in on its key audience: kids.
While the company acknowledges many real-life farmers play the game, the developer tells us that Farming Simulator has been popular with children from the series' start, particularly because the game only becomes complex for those who use mods that up the realism.
"I think a lot of people see Farming Simulator and think it's for hardcore simulation gamers, but the reality is a lot of kids play these games. That's the reason behind bringing the game to Nintendo DS and PS Vita, it helps open it up to a new audience and when you can only target hardcore fans on PC, then you are limited."
"The game had a really humble beginning, we made it because a friend of the founder suggested we make a game about farming. It took a while to become an international game, partly because we had to convince publishers outside of Germany to take this on. But the thing is, farming is a topic that is relevant internationally, every country farms."
Farming Simulator 2015 launches at the end of October for Windows PC, and in Q1 of 2015 for consoles. More information is slated to arrive before then at this year's Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.