In December 2020, the World Baseball Softball Confederation approved esports as a new discipline.

This opened the door to the staging of international esports competitions in the future.

A resolution was passed, formally adopting esports as the virtual version of both baseball and softball.

Esports was integrated into the WBSC statutes and approved by its Congress, while rules and regulations for the governance of ebaseball and esoftball competitions were developed.

In 2021, the WBSC presented its strategic approach to esports, which is composed of three pillars - mobile, pro and virtual.

Baseball was then one of five sports to feature at the inaugural Olympic Virtual Series, organised by the International Olympic Committee in 2021.

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WBSC eBaseball Power Pros

The WBSC has partnered with video game company Konami to release WBSC eBaseball: Power Pros.

It is the governing body's official game and has been released on the PlayStation Store and Nintendo eShop in more than 60 countries.

There are more than 300 characters to choose from as players can assemble their team of batters, catchers and pitchers to compete in online games against opponents from around the world.

The global release launched in February 2023 at $0.99 and can be played locally with up to four players on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation, as well as single players online.

It is the latest title in the Powerful Puroyakyu series which has sold more than 24 million copies since the first release in 1994.

It features characters from the series and is said to be perfect for both newcomers and experienced gamers with its "authentic and in-depth strategy gameplay which recreates baseball in all its tactical and technical aspects".

The game follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Konami and the WBSC in 2022.

Previous versions of Konami's baseball title have already featured in esports events, including the inaugural edition of the Olympic Virtual Series.

In June 2023, the game featured at Olympic Esports Week in Singapore and, in September 2023, the WBSC launched the eBaseball Series.

This will feature tournaments in WBSC eBaseball Power Pros, called WBSC Opens, and then a Finals which will crown WBSC eBaseball world champions.

The Series is set to expand with the creation of an ePremier12 live event in Tokyo.

WBSC chief executive Michael Schmidt hailed the launch of the eBaseball Series as an important step in the governing body's growing ties with esports.

"We are embarking on an extraordinary journey that redefines the landscape of sports and entertainment," he said.

"The WBSC eBaseball Series and ePremier12 are a testament to our commitment to innovation, and it is thanks to our partnership with Konami and our proven synergies that we can find the strength to keep moving forward in our esport journey."

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WBSC Virtual Cup

The WBSC Virtual Cup was the organisation's inaugural esports competition, and came under the virtual pillar.

It began in September 2022 in cities across Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United States.

The Virtual Cup was open to everybody, with no age limit or gender restrictions.

It was intended for people who did not have prior professional baseball or softball experience.

The Kimhwanhee team from South Korea were crowned as the winners ©WBSC
The Kimhwanhee team from South Korea were crowned as the winners ©WBSC

Prize money of $10,000 (£8,700/€10,100) was awarded to the winning team, with the event hosted through Newdin's "Strikezon" state-of-art technology as a virtual field-of-play.

The Super Round, which took place on the weekend of October 23, was a single-elimination tournament at a designated location for each division. 

Teams then went through to the World Finals in November 2022 in South Korea.

The Kimhwanhee team from South Korea were crowned as the winners, beating Mexico's Tacos al Pastor 18-12 in the final in Seoul.

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Mobile Game

The WBSC has launched Playball WBSC, its first gaming app, and Softball WBSC, the first mobile game dedicated to the sport.

Both can be downloaded from major online stores, including Apple and Android.

Each game allows players to select a national team and then compete in WBSC events.

Tournament winners - the gamers with the highest number of points - are eligible to win prize money.

Each online win earns two points and the best performers will also take part in a final series, on-site at a WBSC competition.

The first online events - the Under-12 Baseball World Cup and the Under-15 Women's Softball World Cup - began on September 1 in 2022.

Baseball World Cups will also be held at Under-15, Under-18 and Under-23, as well as an Under-18 Softball World Cup.

The WBSC has launched its first mobile games dedicated to baseball and softball ©WBSC
The WBSC has launched its first mobile games dedicated to baseball and softball ©WBSC

Players can practice against the computer for free or play others around the world in an online game, with two points going to the winner.

Every player receives two complimentary tickets, which are needed to play online games.

Each game costs one ticket - and extra tickets can be bought at the price of $0.99 for two.

A percentage of the proceeds from the games will be delivered to the WBSC's National Federation where the user account of a player is registered.

"The launch of these gaming apps represent a major milestone for the WBSC in its mission to grow baseball and softball globally by making it more appealing and accessible to wider sectors of society, especially young people," said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari.