Reader Submission #36 – Max Verstappen and rFactor 2’s Moronic Online Pass

We’ve actually received several submissions relating to F1 driver Max Verstappen and his short tenure over the summer with Team Redline (we haven’t forgotten about you, Mr. C!), so now that the 2015 Formula One season is officially done with summer holidays, it’s time to address the submission that I felt covered everything we could possibly talk about.

The Reader Submission comes from Alessandro R and draws attention to several topics, from Max Verstappen’s sim racing preferences, to rFactor 2’s moronic business model, and questions why we can’t have an all-inclusive racing sim despite the technology being available for it.


Verstappen-Redline-1-495x273Dear PretendRaceCars.net,

Look at the post below by rFactor 2’s official Facebook page. They are bragging that even Max Verstappen – the youngest Formula One driver ever – says that he prefers rFactor 2’s physics over iRacing.verstI don’t think it’s really necessary to have such a high profile driver to say that. Even I can feel that rFactor 2 handles more like a real car than iRacing, and I only have experience in karts and Mazda MX-5’s. Anyways, rFactor 2 should realize that its moronic business model, replicating the premium price to pay to use iRacing, without the premium service of matchmaking, organized races, and an extensive ranking system, is indeed moronic.

Why can’t we have a sim title with good physics and good multiplayer? Why is iRacing the only sim up at the top draining money from our collective wallets?

Best,

Alessandro L.


rFactor2 2015-08-24 16-22-22-46Short, but there’s a lot of stuff to go over.

First, I don’t really understand the significance of Max joining Team Redline. What races did he participate in? I mean, with a Formula One driver making it public that he was joining one of the top sim racing teams, you’d think sites like VirtualR or BSimRacing would be quick to throw up a link to a livestream and say come watch F1 driver Max Verstappen race among sim racing’s elite drivers – but this never happened. In fact, aside from one mention on BSR, I can’t actually find anything on him competing. Your standard race recap, even if it mentioned that he wrecked out five laps in, would be adequate, but again, there’s nothing.

Even on inRacingNews, a publication run by iRacing staff and community members, aside from the Team Redline announcement, there isn’t a peep about what he’s done on the iRacing servers. And I realize that Team Redline is a cross-sim team that competes on many platforms, so for someone who claimed he’s on rFactor for upwards of three hours a day because he loves racing sims, there’s a total lack of info surrounding his participation in organized events, which is kind of the point of joining an operation like Team Redline. Not trying to rag on the guy, but a lot of us were genuinely excited to see how he’d do in the virtual world, and we were treated to complete radio silence instead.

Publicity stunt? Well, the total lack of info after the initial annoucement doesn’t help. So Mr. C, you might have been onto something with the submission you sent in a while back.

rFactor2 2015-08-24 16-19-20-24Second, it’s important for ISI to boast that Verstappen is actively playing their flagship racing sim. Why? As we revealed in a previous reader submission, many of the testimonials you see on iRacing’s homepage are not genuine, and that little tidbit of info came out during the legal proceedings of a lawsuit that iRacing partially lost. What you’re seeing is nothing more than dickwaving between developers – look at who’s playing OUR game, and we didn’t have to pay them!

Third, calling the business model behind rFactor 2 moronic is an understatement. As I’ve said in previous articles on here, it’s the EA Sports Online Pass, without realizing why that pass was implemented in the first place.

EA started forcing people to buy online passes as a way to generate a small portion of sales from used games – people who would wait to pick up the newest Madden or FIFA from GameStop for a quarter of the price, a month after launch, and of course none of the money from that transaction actually goes to EA. The online pass was a sneaky way to generate multiple sales off of the same physical game disc, and capitalize on what was a booming used games market that did not allow developers to profit.

A dastardly genius plan by Electronic Arts, but completely nonsensical when you consider the fact that you can’t buy a physical copy of rFactor 2, and then return it to the store for a teenager in a Tom Brady jersey to buy at half price. The only scenario for an online pass to be justified, can’t actually occur, turning rFactor 2’s online “subscription” into a pointless and costly transaction that most people presently ignore. The absurdity of the online subscription is only magnified when the game’s direct competitors, Stock Car Extreme, Project CARS, and RaceRoom Racing Experience, running on variants of the same basic game engine, don’t charge anything at all to play the game online.

You could argue for ISI in this scenario, as people are willingly dropping hundreds of dollars on iRacing subscriptions and content, $1,200 (at the very least) on fancy Direct Drive Wheels, or there’s the $70,000+ people threw at Reiza and then proceeded to not play the game – so $12 (or $40 lifetime) for an online pass shouldn’t be a big deal – but I’ll leave that to the comments section to fight out.

rFactor2 2015-08-24 16-15-58-60Lastly, to answer your question as to why we can’t have an all-encompassing sim – it’s simple: Stockholm Syndrome.

While that’s playing in the background, Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors. The phenomenon can extend to domestic violence, although I believe it’s called battered persons syndrome in that circumstance. The whole concept seems far fetched when applied to unsatisfactory video games, so I’ll drop some examples.

When Ian Bell told some guy on the WMD forums to shut up after complaining about wheel compatibility issues, fanboys dismissed it as British sarcasm. When Eutechnyx released NASCAR 2011 with an insurmountable array of bugs and glitches, fanboys begged people to ride out the wave of patches and claimed “it’s their first NASCAR game, give them a chance!” When EA Sports released NASCAR 09 without car manufacturers, fanboys pointed out that you could import your own custom liveries into the game. When one of iRacing’s newer builds shipped with a weather bug that tilted the playing field for each driver, fanboys told themselves it was like how in real racing, everybody has different equipment. And when somebody innocently asks what’s the best racing sim on the market, fanboys rush to shout iRacing in unison, to the point where people on Reddit explicitly have to state they don’t want iRacing as an answer (which answers the second part of your question).

Developers see these comments downplaying pretty noteworthy issues, and given that they’re already stressed to the max trying to get a product out there that people will like, fall back on these ass-kissing comments so they don’t feel like shit at the end of the day. People like you or I who point out that NASCAR 2011 is buggy as fuck, or that the iRacing Street Stock sucks, or that Assetto Corsa AI is currently broken – well, the fanboys then jump on us and call us trolls until everyone on whatever forum you’re visiting regurgitates it as fact and nobody listens to us anymore – including the times when we’re vocal about what we want from a racing sim.

We’ve experienced this first-hand; having insider info that Assetto Corsa would be announced for next-generation consoles at E3 later that week, we dressed the story up as best as we could, and were laughed at for blowing things out of proportion. Meanwhile…

called it

And this Stockholm Syndrome-like environment can lead to some really awesome scenarios in the forums if you pay close enough attention. I’ll bring up an example I used a couple articles back with MsportDan (sorry, you’re probably an alright dude). Basically, after PRC.net were one of the first to come out and say dear God the AI is really messed up in Assetto Corsa’s latest patch, he was one of the many who jumped to the game’s defense, claiming the AI was fine and there was no need to worry about the state of the game.

A week later, he claimed he quit the game out of frustration due to how bad the AI was.

quitSo why don’t we have an all-encompassing sim? Because fanboys have labelled everyone else who wants one as “trolls” and convinced developers it’s totally fine to keep doing what they’ve been doing.

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26 thoughts on “Reader Submission #36 – Max Verstappen and rFactor 2’s Moronic Online Pass

  1. rf2, iracing, AC all make progress where its realistic for them to do so. they also all have (sometimes serious) strengths & weaknesses that consumers generally agree upon. reiza’s hands are quit tied although i’m sure they’ll wring that old isi engine for every last drop of sweat. we don’t get an all-encompassing GodSim because we’re still in a fairly primitive age here, as fun as this age is. take any 5 sims from five different creators, & you will have five completely different interpretations of how this very limited reality should be conveyed by a computer. either these models will gradually align as slow progress is made or there will be a major breakthrough somewhere.

    of course, this is all going with the assumption that we don’t have a godsim. if you DO want a race sim with laserscanned tracks, incredible graphics, full weather, night racing, road & race cars, & excellent ffb — there’s always project cars.

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  2. Max joining Team Redline probably was a publicity stunt. Both new additions do driver training with Atze on the simulators. It’s more than likely that he asked the 2 new additions to join Team Redline as a favor to him. Both probably obliged, and who wouldn’t, Team Redline looks like a really great team for any serious sim racer to be a part of.

    They have some very quick and clever drivers from sim racing and real world racing, they have decent backing, and a seemingly great atmosphere too. Looks like the perfect place to mirror the real-world in the virtual world, and one of the best places for both sides to learn from each other.

    All said, this isn’t uncommon. There are many real-world drivers who are part of sim-racing teams big and small. This includes past and present F1 drivers, Le Mans winners, DTM drivers, WTCC Drivers, BES Drivers, Formula Renault 3.5 dirvers, GP2 drivers, and more.

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    1. “All said, this isn’t uncommon. There are many real-world drivers who are part of sim-racing teams big and small. This includes past and present F1 drivers, Le Mans winners, DTM drivers, WTCC Drivers, BES Drivers, Formula Renault 3.5 dirvers, GP2 drivers, and more.””

      Can you provide any specific examples?

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  3. Max openly stated he wouldn’t be participating in anyting competitive simracing due to his busy F1 schedule. He just uses his home rig to practise with the fast guys in simracing.

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  4. JamoZ, you got it. in the NOS.nl article (in dutch) that rFactor’s facebook post was mentioning, it said exactly that. I also think he wouldn’t jump in a public race without MUCH preparation, not to risk being at the back (which would be clearly embarrassing for someone who drives a F1)

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  5. This article explains how sometimes i wonder why the hell am i still playing GT Legends and GTR2, both released 10+ years ago.

    I know its getting increasingly expensive, both in time and money, to develop a game. But damn. Can’t they just release complete, inclusive games like those 2 nowadays?

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    1. No need to remind you how popular you are right?

      “IceVioletteDevil: Stop trolling AC at every opportunity. You’re well within your right not like it but then that doesn’t mean you have to spend time posting on articles for a sim you don’t like just to vent time and time again. It’s trolling or at least flamebaiting. You don’t like AC, fine, but we don’t need constant reminders or criticism”

      Lets see you act like a keyboard warrior on VR then….

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  6. RF2 sub is yes a lil crazy,but the base game is cheap as chips for close to professional grade sim, and price with lifetime is about what I have to pay AC and that horse shit Pcars,so how is it expensive? but what I find crazier is peeps that have 1000+ dollar PC, wheels, and god knows what other overpriced crap in race rigs only to turn around and claim RF2 is too expensive,and miss out on IMO the pinnacle of sim racing at the moment.

    I believe one reason to attitudes like this is the “sim race community” at the base level has changed from sim nerds and hardcore race fanatics, to young fellers brought up and consoles and FaceBook that will forgive some of the worst software out there as long as it has graphics,slick UI and dubstep,and see RF2 as some kind of half arsed indy game for those weird ppl that love the science of racing,not just the ego BS, this I reckon is also the reason we’ve seen the massive surge of “fanboyism” in last 5 odd years, been brought over by young fuckers who have been completely conditioned by the console market for fanboyism.

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    1. Even without this newer sim racing crowd you mention, games like rf2 and stock cars extreme would still be seen as indie niche games that wouldn’t be popular, no more than in a small circle of devoted racing enthusiasts.

      So you can’t blame this new sim racing players for thinking rf2 is too expensive or unpopular and undiscovered. Because even without this crowd, the game would still remain ‘expensive’, unpopular, and undiscovered.

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    2. It’s easier to tell modern UI from aged UI than it is to tell DX12 from DX11, of course people are going to pick games based on how nice the UI is.

      Not even getting into things like R3E’s bizarre wheel interface that ‘revolution’ized the task of picking a car and track from a list and hitting ‘start’.

      The hardcore sim nerds can do what they always have, and modify ini files – if you want any online success, you need to cater to the softcore sim nerds too. iRacing makes it easy to just be a driver, not a tech expert. One dropdown list for car, one for track, one for session type, one for session time – then hit DRIVE.

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