Continuing with our onslaught of rFactor 2 news, ISI have finally released the details of the upcoming transition of their flagship racing simulator to Valve’s popular Steam platform. Unfortunately, their choice to retain the absurd pricing structure is questionable at best, putting the future of the hardcore racing simulator at risk before the masses who rely on Steam to manage their PC sims have even tried it.
The full press release, which can be read at ISI’s home for rFactor 2, details a somewhat rocky transitioning process ahead. ISI’s goal is to have the two versions compatible with each other, but don’t explicitly say they’ve accomplished that goal yet. The base package is offline-only and will retail for $40, while those interested in online racing even in public lobbies are forced to pay $12 per year simply to access the online server browser, or $40 for lifetime online server browser access.
And when I say server browser, I truly mean server browser, the screen you’re presented with whenever you click Multiplayer in games such as Stock Car Extreme or Race Room Racing Experience. ISI have placed a common feature found in all other modern racing sims, the whole goddamn multiplayer component, behind an unnecessary pay wall. EA Sports stopped doing this a few years ago because console gamers universally hated it, but apparently ISI hasn’t gotten the message that the rest of the gaming industry
Because of this, a lot of people have sworn off rFactor 2 and explored all other sim racing options available to them. Due to the game’s serious nature and role as a platform for leagues above all else, people are worried about dropping $40 only to find out there isn’t anybody to race with. Is it hypocritical for people with expensive toy steering wheels and multiple high definition monitors to throw a hissy fit over twelve dollars? Yes, but they have every reason to. ISI doubling the cost of the game from a reasonable $40 to a pricey $80 for access to a mode that has been part of the standard package in racing games for over fifteen years is downright greedy.
Most people were hoping that the switch to Steam would see an increase in sales and invalidate the need for an online subscription, but now that ISI has firmly stuck to the original plan, rFactor 2 arriving on Steam is an announcement nobody needs to get excited for.