Shilling Intensifies

You’d think that after the release of Project CARS, the viral marketing efforts of the greater sim community would die down, and the state of news outlets and message boards would return to normal. An extremely aggressive pre-release advertisement campaign for the crowdfunded racing simulation by Slightly Mad Studios saw a tidal wave of both traditional and viral marketing methods, which served to frustrate sim racers all over the globe as Project CARS shipped with an abundance of game-breaking bugs that have still not been rectified. Financially, the experiment was a success and could be used as an example of crowdfunding done right, though anyone who’s invested serious time into the game and wasn’t a financial backer will tell you to steer clear of Project CARS.

metacuckUnfortunately, five months after launch, the ridiculous display of viral marketing tactics still infect the small yet dedicated community surrounding hardcore racing simulators.

We begin our story at VirtualR.net, a news blog that’s arguably the most trustworthy outlet for official news releases regarding the not-so-wide world of driving games. In September of 2011, Editor Rob Prange announced that he was now employed by Slightly Mad Studios, and there would be a slight adjustment in the type of content displayed on the website. At the time, most readers believed there would simply be no more game or hardware reviews due to a conflict of interest, and many people believed business would continue as usual. For a while, it did.

Untitled-3Unfortunately, the problem with such an early announcement was that Project CARS was still a twinkle in the eyes of Ian Bell, the head of Slightly Mad Studios. In late 2011, the only information regarding Project CARS was that the entire endeavor was still in the early planning phases, and as things would play out, would not arrive in the hands of the consumer until May 2015. The announcement of the partnership between the VirtualR and Slightly Mad Studios had been made so far in advance of the game materializing, your average reader could not find a single reason to be upset with what had transpired.

Until, obviously, the release date was only a few months away. A once trustworthy news website became your one stop shop for news about Project CARS, to the point where some stories were literally just videos of people opening the game’s package.

https://pretendracecars.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/virtualr.jpg?w=1628&h=916

To make things even more ridiculous, searching “Project CARS Nordschleife” using the site’s search bar warrants 55 identical articles. An even greater number of results are listed if you substitute Nordschleife for nicknames such as “Nurburgring” or simply “Ring.” To put things into perspective, these videos usually last around seven minutes a piece due to the insane length of Europe’s greatest track, leading to a whopping six and a half hours of Nurburgring hotlap videos from Project CARS being pushed on the readers. This is longer than the entire Star Wars prequel trilogy combined.

NordschleifeThe reason your average sim racer has a hard time dealing with this obvious viral marketing campaign by a trustworthy news outlet, is because the game wasn’t very good. Receiving a user score of 54 on Metacritic for the Xbox One version of the title, the game shipped with some incredible bugs, the full list of which can be found below:

01-pc-glitchesIn action, the game looked a little something like this:

To their credit, Slightly Mad Studios pushed out no less than eight massive patches in an effort to make the game playable for those who chose to stick around in the hopes that underneath this whole mess, there would be an extremely competent racing simulator waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, opinions on the current state of the game are mixed at best, with most positive responses coming from those who had some sort of financial ties to the game dating back to the initial investment period. Those still unsatisfied with Project CARS say that on the outset, the title appears fine, but upon diving into the more intricate aspects of a racing sim, Slightly Mad Studios either cut corners entirely, or flat-out didn’t care at all.

problemsOne of the elements Slightly Mad Studios are accused of not caring about is Triple Screen Support. Since high definition widescreen computer monitors have become affordable for the average PC owner, most diehard sim racers opt for a triple screen setup, which effectively grants them a greater sense of speed, and an increase in awareness. During the game’s time spent under development, those who bought into the WMD investor program were told by Slightly Mad Studios themselves there would be built-in functionality for triple screen support, and there would be no need to go into your video card’s control center to force the image to be stretched across three screens. While not a selling point in its own right, the hardcore guys with three monitors were pretty jacked about native triple screen implementation, as it meant little to no risk of framerate drop.

Five months after the game’s release, this functionality is nowhere to be found, and instead it’s being promised for Project CARS 2. One user on VirtualR.net by the name of Herr Igor provided links to the official Slightly Mad Studios forums prior to release where the developer team had assured users triple screen support was a priority for them, and was questioning why it had still not shown up after countless DLC packs and the announcement of a sequel.

His links to the official Slightly Mad Studios forum topics on the issue were conveniently deleted by the owner of VirtualR.net, an employee of Slightly Mad Studios, for “baseless accusations”. Another user immediately jumps in to defend Herr Igor, but Rob Prange continues to insist he simply misread what had been posted.

Let me ask you this: If this guy truly has misread something, why not keep his original post up for others to see that he’s misread something and call him out for it themselves? Why immediately delete this guy’s entire argument so nobody can see it, and say he’s slandering people? And why are other people agreeing with him?

Oh right, you’re employed by Slightly Mad Studios.

herr igorI know I catch a lot of flak for the amount of shit I let fly in the comments section on PRC.net, but keep in mind moments like these serve to remind me why I allow this place to become a warzone every few articles, and this kind of bullshit taking place on video game news outlets is exactly what #Gamergate wants to get rid of.

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45 thoughts on “Shilling Intensifies

  1. Since you posted the Xbox metacritic score I decided to check the PC and PS4 scores… They are 6.9 for PC and 6.4 for PS4.

    What was more interesting is the fact that a lot of the negative reviews were ones with 1-2 scores with the worst reasoning given, even worse than what you’ve been saying about the game.
    Someone gave it a 1 because it’s not as realistic as GT6 on a PS4 review, another gave “lack of content” as a reason on PC as well as one saying the game uses nvidia gameworks and that’s why it runs poorly on AMD (it doesn’t and is a completely different set of issues)

    While I do agree the game has some major issues for people (I haven’t experienced them but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist), there is quite a large amount of people basically going against the grain just because they can.

    Maybe that just ends up evening it out in the end. But its still interesting that people can’t even use the right reasons to hate a game.

    In saying that there are negative scores with valid reasons posted, so it isn’t all conspiracy.

    P.S, I am a backer and yes I think the game is good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same goes for some 9/10 reviews… there are always some that just gives 10 because whatever. And othera give 1 for the same reason 😛

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    2. Pcars is an awful sim and an awful game its just a fact. Its full of bugs and the simulation is frankly awful.

      As far as gamergate goes i have been a supporter since day 1 and yes this is exactly the kind of thing we oppose. Shilling for a game in the guise of a proper news website is absolutely bullshit. The fact that the readers of this site still visit it shows they are either stupid or don’t know they are being lied to despite the obvious nature of those lies. That’s why sites were started just to report on the credibility of authors and sites

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  2. It seems obvious to me that if the game was actually good, there would be no need to shill this aggressively. Same goes for all of the other sims. They just aren’t that good. It is truly pathetic how seriously people take their “allegiance” to a given title. I can’t fathom what the life of someone who constantly spams message boards and comment sections shilling for a damn video game must look like but it’s probably a sad existence.

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    1. yeah . i agree mann..all this so call sim racing games are shit n not perfect..I actually prefer to take my rl car to my home circuit n drive it to the limit or for a sunday drive.

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    2. From how long have you been on the “hardcore” scene?
      I was “here” from the GPL era, but the forums got active only around the GTR era.. and it was the same as today: a bunch of nerds crying because their idea of “reality” wasn’t respected by the developers (at that time we had the same ****heads constantly bashing GTR and then GTL and GTR2 and the Simbin.. because [add a random nerd idea]).

      It’s the same today, the owner of this blog started to cry like a little kid, he has been removed from the most important racing communities for his childish (gawd, he even managed to be banned from iRacing! lol), and as “vendetta” he opened a blog. It’s so sad and pathetic that I ended to have some sympathy for him. 🙂

      Today here you have a bunch of other little kids that have been banned, a bunch of trolls, another couple of randoms… most of the users are gives zero contribution to the sim scene, so the existence (or not) of this web page has zero influence out there.

      What are we doing here? Nothing: we’re spending our (for some: too much!) free time. 😉

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      1. >gawd, he even managed to be banned from iRacing! lol
        You make it sound like that is something incredibly hard to achieve, and has never happened before in the history of iRacing. Several high-ranking road racers from iRacing (ie. several Club Finland members) have been at least suspended from iRacing because they dared questioning iRacing’s decisions. Hell, I’ve been banned from iRacing for being friends with James. James hasn’t been “removed” from the “most important racing communities (those are which, to be exactly?)”. I’d wager the most important are independet, high-profile leagues of which none have banned James so far. In fact, he even competed in one and managed to come 3rd in points.

        You seem to have the most free time out of everyone, since you come here (even though you think this site is retarded), ignore every piece of proof provided, and then type out a lengthy essay explaining why you are a gigantic shill.

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      2. >why you are a gigantic shill.

        It looks like you don’t understand that pcars has its genuine fans (thousans of them) who actually like the game (like any other successful title out there), but you don’t. Are you just plain stupid? No shilling needed.

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  3. As a person finally in a financial position to afford a nice wheel setup I’m utterly astounded by the state of play for racing sims. My interest is in gt style gameplay and honestly, the only game that ticks all the right boxes is Forza 1. From two fucking generations ago. Forza 4 is a very close second, and is only pipped because you can’t pick cars from your garage for the Ai to drive. We’ve got a shiny new Forza and I’m not willing to touch it due to the single player being an after thought. What’s a man with money burning a hole in his pocket to do?

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    1. Do yourself a favor and pick the latest Forza. It’s not perfect, sure, and the custom single player races are getting less and less attention, it’s true, and it’s a shame. But in most other ways it’s the best Forza ever. I’m still not sold on the weird binary damage modeling carryover from F5, but new online “leagues” are very good. Not on par with iRacing yet, but a giant leap forward compared to previous titles. If I hadn’t spent money on T500RS a year ago, I would just buy an XOne-compatible wheel and forget about PC sims for a while.

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    2. You could save that money, wait for GT 7/Sport to come out and maybe invest in a PS4+Wheel. I’d say either do that or buy an X1 with Forza6

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      1. Thanks for the tips! I should have mentioned that I already own a decent pc, a 360, PS3 and ps4. I’m thinking of a Fanatec Porsche wheel which is compatible with what I own now and will let me get more serious with Forza 4 and gt6. I’m desperate to drive some of the cars in Forza 6, but I might continue to wait. It’s a shame most wheels a Xbox one+pc only. The Fanatec wheel seems like great value

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        1. A friend of mine got the Fanatec Porsche wheel after his G27 broke and he says they are equally good, so I’d so you can’t go wrong with it.

          The reason for most wheels being either X1+PC or PS4+PC is purely because companies want to make more money (including MS and Sony). Could’ve easily made them use the same drivers for both X1 and PS4, but gotta rake in that console money.

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  4. Someone needs to tell Montoya that’s now how slander works. Once you’re a public figure or brand anyone can write or say what they want about how they feel your work and project is. Which is why people don’t get dragged into court every time they get diarrhea from Taco Bell then tweet them about it.

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    1. You’re close. For a public figure to win anything when accusing someone of slander, actual malice must be proven. It’s pretty hard to prove actual malice which like you said is why Taco Bell holds onto it’s millions while folks have diarrhea.

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    1. Ignoring comments BY THE FUCKING DEVELOPERS OF THE GAME THEMSELVES and then accusing the person who quoted those comments means being a “genuine fan”? I agree there are genuine fans who like this game and didn’t have many problems with it, I actualy know a few people myself, but blatantly calling someone out for quoting the developer of the game is just plain retarded.

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  5. btw. There are 5 patches … not 8, tripple screen support is still in the works, even though it means more code work than was expexted ….. lies, lies, lies …. it is all you spread. Still need to show more lies? Where is Sev telling me to show him the actual lies? I already did it with another article too and no reaction from mr. Smartass.

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    1. How about to provide proof to what you say? So far James has provided it for everything he said, why don’t you try to disprove him for once, instead of just shouting “LIES LIES LIES”?

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      1. What proof do you need? Just look up the number of patches for the game that actually were released. And I suppose you still have your eyes on PCARS official forums, so you can look it up yourself, where Ian Bell stated the work on tripple screen continues, but involves massive renderer rework.

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  6. I went on Steam to verify what the users thinks.. and I see a 77% of positive reviews (to compare the numbers with a recent game: Fallout 4 has a 81%). So more than 3 users of 4 likes the game.

    I also checked how many users are actually playing it, and I see it has constantly (everyday) the highest number of users, compared with other similar titles, in example: Assetto Corsa.

    The marketing campaign could drive the sales, but it couldn’t modify the current number of players. If the game was really that bad, it would have zero users playing it by today, but instead it is the most played sim, while on the other side, titles like rfactor or game stock car have none playing it.

    To resume: your idea of what’s “good” and what’s “bad” is flawed if compared with “the real world”.

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    1. Project CARS success is like winning in Paralympics.

      For example Euro Truck Simulator 2 is at least ten times as popular as pCARS. There is no way these shitty half-developed “racing” “simulators” can ever compete with actually good gaming products.

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      1. Which is why Assetto Corsa will bomb next year on consoles. I’ve felt for a long time that these sim developers really need to pull their heads out of their asses. They might be talented but they really lack vision and common sense when it comes to making their products function well as games.

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    2. I bet it´s not the sim-racers who play the game until today, but more or less the mass market. And that´s quite comprehensible because SMS´ skills aren´t high enough to do anything better and satisfy anybody else.

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  7. This game is utter shit still today, and its marketing campaign is the most dishonest thing ever.

    I still remember these videos from Rene Rast saying he was “preparing for a race” using this game, and how everybody fapped over how accurate the laptimes he manufactured were to the real cars.

    Well, now I have the game in my hands, and using the game´s unlicensed GP2 I´m beating F1´s pole position times around Barcelona. Using the Lotus 98T in the wet in Monza, I´m beating the pole time of Vettel in similar conditions in 2008, being able to brake 50 meters later than him in a 1986 shitbox.

    Sure René, your preparation was really good, I´m sure this game helped you a lot to drive cars that have nothing to do with its real life counterparts, fucking piece of shill.

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    1. Fucking dumbasses. They fell right into the Rob Prange and F1ShittyRender’s trap. Rene trained for LMP1 Le Mans in the McLaren simulator that Audi Sport rents. You know, the kind of simulator with hardware that would shit all over the consumer DD wheels. Not some shitty broken game with inaccurate everything and fucking fanatec shit

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    2. To me it seems that SMS didn’t exactly know what they wanted: A Forza/SHIFT style simcade or HC racing sim, so they pretty much tried to combine those two. At least it feels like it. Although claimed by many that it is a HC sim, I find it to be exactly this strange mix of those two categories, a combinaton I personally don’t find that appealing. I have probably around 30 hours clocked on pC and that is mostly from the time it was released. I every now and then launch it to test how it handles, but again and again I find it lacking on many aspects and just quit: I don’t seem to get FFB working like I want no matter what I try, many of the cars feel strange or dull (some can be quite fun also) and as I don’t like racing with road cars that much, much of the car selection is just not for my taste. But that is just me, of course.

      I still don’t quite understand why pC is so fucking popular on PC. Maybe it just scratches the Forza itch for PC players, because I guess it has some good qualities for a simcade: quite large selection of cars and tracks, it looks awesome and probably offers decent enough handling for a simcade. It also has a good set of features, like weather, night racing and so on. I have uninstalled AC a while ago, because I find it just utterly boring with its lacking racing features, but if I’d had to choose between those two as my only racing SIM, I’d still probably choose AC over pC.

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      1. > I still don’t quite understand why pC is so fucking popular on PC.

        Simple answer: because it’s tons FUN! …it has all the contents which are not available in the other sims.
        If PCARS is so popular today, PCARS2 (improved and perfected) will be again the reference point for everyone else out there.

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      2. If your giving up good realistic physics, a lot of race features THAT WORK, a working game,and accepting a disgusting PR\marketing campaign , and a bastard of a head dev for content, then you’re not really interested in sim racing, which is fine, but I finding so many ppl like that commenting about sims when in reality they have no interest at all in a proper race sims, but rather be playing a brain dead, ego boosting,console type, press x to win, race game.

        Ian bell is smart in knowing what “mainstream” wants, A ton regurgitated content and shiney graphics, everything else will be forgiven by the average “gamer”, tag “SIM” to it cause you know its all the rage to be doing a “sim” and it adds to the ego of those that can now say they play “race sims”.

        Sims (race and other)will ALWAYS be the less popular, even if we get 1:1 realism, as that wont boost egos of teens when they get their stupid arse handed to them by a 500bhp power unit,just like “mainstream” ppl rather watch a james bond film instead of read a good book on GCSE or mi5, ive said in this very comment section and will say again, you can almost rank sims on how realistic the physics are by how least popular they are, starting with Pcars being worst of the bunch, and surprise surprise its the most played by the average bro slap “gamer dude”

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      3. Welcome to the real world Hash, people wants some fun, people gets fun. Everyone will be happy: the players and the dev (because of the sales)… oh except the sim kid nerds who are never happy, but who cares about them? Their $$$ in the grand total is negligible, hence their opinion doesn’t matter.

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  8. 8 patches, nothing fundamentally changed or fixed in the game. That’s Alpha software, still trying stabilize the foundation.

    On demand?! But yet it has a list of content? And the blurbs that follow? It’s like a kid trying too hard to convince his friends he is cool.

    Not a single promise has been kept. Triple screen is just one, they were handing out these promises like candy in the first months… DX12 support? Yeah, that was promised too.

    Save race setups?! Oh never mind…

    Then add that Ian Bell is a complete prick. There is no way a guy like that is holding the loyalty of top notch developers… But hey! You can get dinner with him if you donate to Pcars 2!!!

    The forum is a bone yard… No intelligent conversations due to the first hint of counter opinion getting the threads edited beyond recognission.

    These guys really should be called out for their bull shit, EA should call for an injunction on their assets (it’s clearly the NFS shift engine) even if they got permission to use the engine.

    The sim community really does need a full featured racing game (not just simulating driving cars).

    Pcars had a brilliant concept, but a totally failed execussion.

    Like

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