Reader Submission #58 – The Cost of Sim Racing in Portugal

RRRE 2015-11-02 16-05-07-90I always love receiving Reader Submissions from foreign countries, as it really boggles my mind how those who speak English as a second language take the time out of their day to read lengthy English articles on Sim Racing. Even though I took French in High School, I couldn’t imagine trying to sit down on a daily basis and read Francais Sim Racing articles. Today’s Reader Submission comes from Miguel from Portugal and it’s a long one, going over the rising costs of sim racing.


RRRE 2015-11-01 08-32-27-77Hello PretendRaceCars.net! My name is Miguel, and I’ve been a longtime reader of this website. I started reading right when the blog was created, and I always enjoy taking a bit of time to read the new articles posted each day. The reason being not just for the excellent writing about one of my personal hobbies, but because this is a non-biased website. To be quite honest, it’s refreshing in the Sim Racing community.

I’ve never written anything in my life aside from school papers, and have never tried sending an Email to a website before. I’m sure this won’t be high quality stuff, but whatever.

I’m writing to you because I need to get something off my chest. Living in a country where sim racing isn’t popular (Portugal), a country where video games as a whole are extremely expensive (it’s cheaper to buy games on Amazon and ship them), it saddens me that two of the best sims out there are ridiculously expensive. Maybe not for those who think it’s reasonable to spend 1500€ on a home simulator, but for the average gamer, it is absurd.

I’ll give three examples to explain what I mean: rFactor 2, iRacing, and RaceRoom Racing Experience.  And I’ll also compare them to older sims like NASCAR 2003, rFactor, GTR 2, Race 07, or even F1 Challenge. The reason I’m not getting into Assetto Corsa and Project CARS is because I’ve never played Assetto Corsa, and Project CARS is too rubbish of a game to even mention.

For the base singleplayer game, as well as a year of online access, rFactor 2 costs $44. For lifetime online access? $85. Now, in today’s market we’ve grown accustomed to pay top dollar for quality content. And rFactor 2 is a game of very high quality. The road surface model is really good, and it makes you adapt to the different road conditions throughout each session. However, modders haven’t really latched onto rFactor 2, and the modding community is non-existent save for a few familiar faces. That sucks, because it’s the whole point of the game. I don’t really understand why mod teams instead focus their efforts on Assetto Corsa. rFactor 2 is a better game (in my opinion at least), and for one year, it costs the same money as AC (not counting DLC’s, which are bullshit for that matter). Maybe if ISI made the game cheaper and get rid of the online subscription, more people would be playing it, and realize how good the game is. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon. So what did I get for my $44? Not a lot.

iRacing costs, for a two year membership, $90. Now, in Portugal, this is surprisingly cheaper than the retail price of F1 2015 (a game we know is really, really crap.) iRacing is built on online racing. And to give credit where credit is due, iRacing works very well. It pairs you with players of equal pace, compared to other sims that are loaded with bad drivers and trolls. This makes the $90 worth it, but iRacing isn’t for everybody. Most people don’t have the time to spend lots of hours sim racing to get good at iRacing. You’ll probably be too tired when you arrive home from work to set up your wheel and spend the rest of your day playing online in a super competitive format. iRacing is for those who like to sim race very often. For those who like to do the occasional race without being super hardcore, it’s better if you stick to other games. However, if you stick to other games, you’re forced to join leagues because of little online activity.

Finally, we get to the stupid price of RaceRoom Racing Experience. Emphasis on stupid. Yes, it’s free to play. For the base pack. After that, you hit the paywall that Sector 3 has created. It’s a very good game, but paying almost 200€ for DLC packs and individual cars? The guy who had that idea should be shot and buried. It’s not a good idea for how good your game is, and what it does. Nobody will be wanting to pay that money for GTR 2 with micro-transactions, unless you’re going to throw about 2000€ into a home simulator anyway. The rest? They’ll try everything to crack the game with the DLC’s, in order for everyone else to enjoy the game. Nobody in their right mind would throw that money into a game with no definitive features like iRacing, where the price goes to big stat tracking features and organized races. Sector 3 should make money in order to keep throwing good content at us, but that’s not how it is. If you just release a full priced game with all the DLC’s included, more people would buy the game, making more money a bit more quickly compared to waiting for people to fall victim to the pay wall.

I won’t talk about Assetto Corsa because I’ve never played it, and only know the things I know from what I’ve read on PRC.net, or on forums. As for Project CARS, we can just throw that into a pile of dog shit. But at least Slightly Mad Studios are trying to patch the game, right? Oh wait, they announced Project CARS 2 before the first one was even done.

rFactor2 2015-11-04 15-46-21-87Okay, let’s get to my point now, I’m sorry if I rambled a bit.

For some reason, there are on average 5-10 public servers on Race 07 or rFactor, and maybe 1-5 public servers on games like rFactor 2 or Stock Car Extreme. Is it because sim racing games today are worse than the titles from ten years ago? No, but they’re certainly more expensive, and have less content. Look at the games like GTR 2, Race 07, F1 Challenge, GT Legends, rFactor, Grand Prix Legends, and even the console games like Colin McRae 2005, WRC Rally Evolved, and Gran Turismo 4… Some still have an active community! When you paid the $60 or whatever, you knew you were going to get something that had a new way to play each day, and even when you got tired of the game, people in the community were working hard to improve it with mods.

From the three sims mentioned earlier, the only one I own is RaceRoom Racing Experience. I played the demo of rFactor 2, and last year was able to convince my dad to let me try iRacing for a month. Yet I own all of the titles mentioned above, and still play them a lot, because there is so much to do! They are all fantastic games, and when we look at the old titles compared to what we have available now, I sometimes think that Sim Racing is going backwards. F1 2015 in Portugal is over $90, video games as a whole are getting more expensive, and I can’t justify buying it, but games from ten years ago still entertain me whether I’m racing online or offline.

But also looking at the games we have now, we know that despite drawbacks, if companies realize the potential this market has, and reduce prices for their games, most of the new games can become as legendary as some mentioned above, and have their life expanded by over 10 years, as it happens with some of those. We can only wait things improve from now on.


RRRE 2015-05-08 20-02-11-28I think you have a point about the cost. I don’t think it’s 100% accurate, I still feel like the community subconsciously realizes most modern racing sims are shit and instead opt to sit around on the forums fighting with each other because they’ve already grown tired of the games, but I do agree that cost plays some factor in how big the playerbase for each game is.

Get rid of the stupid online pass for rFactor 2, and more people would be inclined to try it. Stock Car Extreme was $33, what’s another $40 for rFactor 2? Oh wait, they want $80 so I can play online without worrying about a subscription? What the fuck? Why? You’re paying ISI to access a server browser featuring servers that aren’t even hosted by ISI!

The cost of iRacing is absurd. I get that the enormous prices help cover the costs of maintaining dedicated servers and advanced stat tracking stuff, but if you want to make iRacing your main racing sim and try a sizable portion of the content, you end up quickly surpassing the startup cost of buying a next generation gaming system. Just to run a full season in a couple different series, you’re looking at anywhere from $400 – $600. When I first got my Xbox 360 back in 2007, I think it was $400 for the console, an Xbox Live membership, and three or four different games. One game, or a modern console with many games? Man, no matter how much you like sim racing, there’s one smart option there.

Personally, I think iRacing’s price is aimed at old guys and/or “gear snobs” who aren’t quite familiar with the video game market. These are precisely the group of apologists who believe cost is directly related to quality, and that labelling the game a simulator means it transcends what it means to be a computer game… but that’s a story for a few weeks from now. In short, it’s a marketing ploy to reel in the old guys and gear snobs. You know, the kids in high school who bought brand new Air Jordan’s, only to get cut from the Senior team? Yeah, those are the kinds of people the $15 per car and track are intended to exploit.

RaceRoom’s price is fucking retarded. They took Race 07 and chopped it up into tiny pieces locked behind micro-transactions, which aren’t that micro if you desire a selection of content on par with the sims of yesteryear. Look guys, I know that “you can make RaceRoom really cheap if you only purchase the car you want to drive” (this should really be a trademarked phrase by now), but I haven’t had a lobotomy, and clearly remember days when I could drive ALL the cars, whenever the fuck I wanted. I would never have discovered I prefer the mid engine layout of the Lamborghini Murcielago over the front engine layout of the Dodge Viper if I had to jack mommy’s credit card each time I wanted to change cars in GTR 2. It’s absurd for a developer to willingly cripple the concept of experimentation and free choice in search of the almighty dollar.

Like I said, I don’t think you’re fully correct about the cost prohibiting some from diving deep into sim racing, but in places where video games are expensive, it can be an issue, and I do think that you aren’t getting much bang for your buck with modern sims.

RRRE 2015-11-01 11-01-05-98

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22 thoughts on “Reader Submission #58 – The Cost of Sim Racing in Portugal

  1. “F1 2015 in Portugal is over $90”

    You tried to buy F1 2015 in Apple store? Because on Steam it costs 49.99€ or $54.99.

    “I don’t really understand why mod teams instead focus their efforts on Assetto Corsa”
    “it costs the same money as AC (not counting DLC’s, which are bullshit for that matter).”

    Why are you saying those things Miguel?

    I think the following explains it:
    “I won’t talk about Assetto Corsa because I’ve never played it, and only know the things I know from what I’ve read on PRC.net, or on forums.” PRC, the brainwashing machine, at least in respect for Assetto Corsa.

    And don’t bring the argument “The worst site you could possibly visit for Sim Racing news.”, because you take pride and you believe in the things you post, therefore you are contradicting yourself here; saying this is a bad site to read about sim racing, but you try to present everything you say or users submit as truth and nothing but the truth. Major contradiction! lel.

    —–

    Iracing has plenty of discounts, just like other sims. Almost no one pays the full price for these games.
    So Miguel, you’re saying that Raceroom will cost you 200€? There is a thread made recently on Racedepartment where a person explains that buying from their raceroom store, you pay about 65€ for all (I think).
    But here’s the link and give it a read: http://www.racedepartment.com/threads/why-cost-is-not-a-reason-not-to-play-r3e.113468/ (You can skip the first two paragraphs from that post).

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    1. That thread proves his point. R3E has so many microtransactions, someone had to write a mini-guide to make sense of it all.

      And doing the currency conversion, it’s still $100 for not even the whole list of content. Absurd. I mean, I like R3E, but it’s not something worth $150 for the complete package when rival games are $30 and offer about the same list of content.

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  2. The only series I’ve never had remorse whatsoever about is forza (main series and horizon). Say what you will about it but I’ve been playing sims for as long as I can remember and with a proper wheel the forza series feels good but more import for myself its actually a complete game too.

    Every time I think about getting into another series on PC I’m always worried about lack of content without insane fees. There aren’t any PC sims as content rich whether you are talking cars and tracks or game modes. It also has a huge community that plays each game till the next. On PC the communities are smaller and so are the games.

    I do wish they put out like a hardcore edition on PC that added things the series needs like…oh I dunno, rules. I’d love forza to have false starts and flags along with stuff like qualifying laps. They finally put practice sessions in before a race but it needs qualifiying and rules at least as an option.

    Microsoft is a big enough company that they could own this genre on PC but they don’t want to risk sales of the Xbox which I get. I’d personally buy both.

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    1. They could roll out Forza 4 for the PC with all the DLC/Unicorn/PreOrder shit baked into the vanilla game, and it would be the first time I’d book a few days off work to play a game.

      They could do away with the duplicates, though. Don’t need 8 identical Porsche GT3 Cups, 5 of the same Audi LMP900 ride from 2003, and 8 identical V8 Supercars.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think a lot of people would. Seeing how far they were able to push the series with forza 6 on the Xbox one which is a low end gaming PC I’d love to see what that team and that engine could pull off with some real muscle behind it.

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    2. “Let’s sell a console”

      That is the first thing that comes to mind for me whenever somebody compares the experience of one of the two “most popular” racing game series.

      Why is there no copy of “Forza” for the PC? Because it is a game designed to sell an ecosystem owned by the same company that also holds a monopoly on the underpinnings of another one. Why is there no “Gran Turismo” for PC? Because it was quickly singled-out by Sony to be their tool to sell at least 2 entire generations of their own Playstation. You just know there is something going on when two seperate products are sold in the same box.

      So as much as we try to compare experiences, we have to keep in mind how they came about to be what they are: Part of the reason GT has had the growth it had has to do with the marketing-efforts of an external entity that poured money into it that would otherwise have gone to other projects. So who paid for those thousands of car-models and licenses those games did include over the years: Probably the answer is: The 60$ you specifically handed out for the game-title only paid for roughly half of that content. Should you be a heavy gamer with lots of titles in your library, well then you probably see before your own eyes where the rest of the funds were likely collected from.

      So with the money-topic out of the way, what are we left with? The answer is – at a bare minimum: choice, if nothing else.

      I would love to be able to get a copy of either console-franchises for PC, given the fact that those behind all that already collected some money from me, anyway (guess who brought our beloved sim-wheels ot the market. Any ideas?). Yet I am not going to buy a console just for that one / two games. Not going to happen.

      Second problem: quality vs. quantity.
      I have no idea what licenses for cars you include in a game cost – yet I suspect this to be a rather soft variable, hence I am not opposed to see quality fictional content in a racing sim, as long as it is believable. Yet the cost of recreating said vehicles in a modern game or sim would undoubtedly have increased to several times what it would have been back in the day. Or has it?

      Isn’t it as powerful a marketing tool today to have your car present in a high-profile car-game such as GT or Forza as it would have been to place it prominently in a movie or a TV-series? I have a strong suspicion that these deals work out much more in favour of the more popular titles’ developers than the more niche ones – as is the case with anything that claims to be more of a serious simulation than just a graphically pleasing imitation of the real thing.

      However, these thoughts do not devalue any criticism in regards to how complete a game feels. You are right in saying: “this does not feel complete at all” when looking at most modern sims. As much as I am probably “not wrong” when remembering my first few hours in GTR2 and realising: this does not feel realistic enough for me (coming from liveforspeed, I might add). So: what is the measure of completeness?

      From my own point of view: I don’t think a single sim is really complete, yet.

      …and half of the time I do not seem to find myself in the situation where more money thrown at any single game would get me anywhere close. So no: it is not really a conspiracy, either.

      Speaking of fairness: I believe the likes of Kunos and Reiza to use about the fairest of any pricing-model for the current crop of sims out there. That is of course a personal opinion tainted by looking through my own pair of glasses, so-to-say. Am I happy with that sim’s current state of online play? Of course not.

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  3. I love R3E. It’s been a blast for me but I have to agree that the pricing model is just stupid and they’ve shot themselves in the foot by not getting rid of it; a one-time purchase surely would attract more players. I can’t bring myself to play iRacing. As bad as R3E is, at least isn’t as expensive as that game. Even if it is the be all, end all of sim racing (I doubt it), I can’t justify paying that much for individual pieces of content. Reiza offers good value I guess but they are working with some dated technology so it makes sense that the price is lower. I think that Assetto Corsa and PCARS in their current states are both rip-offs, seeing that they’re charging full price for incomplete, broken games. rFactor 2 is another disaster in pricing, and is also incomplete. Kind of an unfortunate situation for people who play these games.

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  4. Boohoo R3E is too expensive. Boohoo iRacing is too expensive. Boohoo rf2 is too expensive Project Cars and Assetto Corsa suck. The whine level is a bit too high with this post.

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  5. The sad reality of today’s sim racing market is that despite all the hype and new features, the latest generation is lacking many things and just isn’t worth the price tags that come with them.

    Assetto Corsa lacks so many things it’s hard to find a serious league to race with, and racing offline is a joke condensed to 10 laps without pit stops. The Mario Kart starts and minigame pit stops have kept grids small and will continue to do so until they are fixed.

    rFactor 2 keeps breaking things so you have to have many different builds if you compete in more than one series with the title, as mods work on certain builds but won’t on others.

    r3E and iRacing are just outrageously expensive for me to get something close to what I’ve experienced with GTR2, rFactor or GSCE.

    I think the point of the submission that for content and quality when you compare the prices of this generation vs the previous generation has got out of control.

    With the lacking features and broken features of the 2 cheapest options of the current generation lowering the quality to that of under the previous. Add in the lack of content and shear lack of racing on offer in comparison to the previous generation, you just don’t get enough bang for your buck…

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    1. You know what the saying could be, if you’re so disappointed, go and create your ideal sim and then we’ll review it. Maybe now would be easier since you can collect the right and wrong things from the discussions we’ve been having about these games.
      But I also believe that current studios will improve the user and racing experience in future titles. So maybe no need to create yourself your ideal sim, unless you can and have the technical knowledge, and just wait for the next iterations from these studios or new devs that may appear.

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    2. did u know BTCC is a 15 lap three-race format and no more mandatory pit stops ? so AC is fine.well maybe for leagues is not ok but other part of the world dont give a shit.

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  6. with r3e i paid 100 nz bucks ~60 us and i have 3 packs and almost all the tracks. dtm13, hillclimb, and euro trackpack and touring classics. the hillclimb pack. alrrady i have more tracks than ac sans dlc and all my favorite classes (mainly from the hillclimb pack which has g5, touring classics, procar) I also have a car from a lot of classes by similar content discount (gt3 cars are similar to gt2 cars, dtm 92/touring classics ect). the content i don’t have i mostly dont care about (wtcc) and i have spent over 500 hours playing competitions, multiplayer, league and single player.

    i dont know where these 200 euro figures are coming from its like you just put everything in your cart and pay through steam (which has a tax) if you buy a vrp pack and then buy in bulk you could easily get enough content to last you hundreds of hours.

    not to mention just how good the free cars are now, and the sound and the ffb. honestly it jumped to my most played sim pretty quick surpassing ac and even race 07 (the caterhams are still soo great) both of which sims i love btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. First of all you will not pay 400 bucks for series in iracing – somewhere of 200$. Also you can do this partially 3 + 3 + 3 content pieces.
    This article and article about “how bad rfactor2 started on steam” which you released same day as game release (omg guys, why u still dont tell us to donate u :D) are just for massmedia purpose.
    but
    For those who will think that im heckmoneybag, i can tell you a beautiful story. I think you will enjoy it so much.

    Developers need money to develop the content. “Ha ha lol what?!” – yes. It is simple and clear – why someone still don’t realize that they want to buy niche videogame which availabe for professional purpose?(at this moment traditional hater will start to laugh – just because he\s the king, give him dat sim for free!!111)
    But i’m not defend them, prices are not good, of course, for people who still want to “play the game” so then they buy ACorsa and come here to tell that it is a shit. It is clear that in modern days when every new day costs more than yesterday, you need to put money in development.
    Thats why Forza and GT are so happy – they have marketing model, capable for everyone + prices, which are “normal” for consoles. But here is the PC users – who getting mad because of COMPLETE GT3 series tested and developed with fucking quality of testing and accuracy are available for price of complete game for console? But it is a complete game u morons. Why u havent learn math in schools?…
    What was capable in 1997 – put 500k$ for whole game with “simulation physics” arent good for today “simulator” with all research, employers, test drivers, laserscans, contracts etc. You guys really mess – you want the most perfect piece of programming art with advanced physics and whole series and then cry why it costs so much.

    So here we comes to the sweetspot of my story.

    Here, in Russia we pay twice more for non-steam games. From last winter, when rubble starts to fall down because of global oil price we have to buy content by 30$ per track (comparing to old this year winter prices) for iracing. So here is the joke – steam can do region discounts, really – some games are cheaper here then in EU market. They do it with no words – just for us. But this americanos cannot.
    So we have many questions to all of them – simbin, iracing, isi. And still love simracing with them. Because all of this – simbin stuff, iracing, isi, forza, GT, are the simulators. The question in “how much u want to spend on ur hobby” which is equal off – are you real simracer? and second one – how deep they has develop the simulation – before “the edge” on “the edge” and after.
    Yes guys you can hate them forever – its a trendy. But here is just a community soup boiling.

    Funne thing – authors love and hate them too.

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  8. Given the hardware needed to run a modern racing sim costs 20-30 times as much as a racing sim I can’t understand why the price of software is seen as the big issue. Where are the articles complaining about the cost of hardware?

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  9. Is it just me or does this website post articles as if they’re trying to persuade us to give up simracing?

    “Hey look, iRacing sucks! It’s “expensive”! and you’re a snob for liking it!!”

    “Hey look, AC is a terrible racing sim, it’s got no features!!!”

    “Hey look, rFactor2 has expensive online pass, simracing is in a dump rn! lol!!!!”

    and then the toxic community has to come around and accuse literally everyone of being fanboys and other recognizable figures in the forums. Why do people even bother when all anyone ever focuses on are the negatives? Why do people even bother racing anymore when all the next gen sims are so bad? And why is it cool to tell people to not play a certain sim? How come someone can come on here, give every damn sim an undeserving, biased negative review besides one or two, and that’s okay? When I used to play COD, I always got people asking if I played Halo. I said, no, I don’t like it that much. And it ended there!! I didn’t call them knobs or retards. It’s ridiculous now. It’s sad. The sim community needs to be more open and accepting of others and their preferences.

    Pay what you want, don’t take away the other person’s desire to try out a racing sim just because you don’t like it.

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  10. I’d like to take this opportunity to announce the establishment of the Guild for Impoverished Sim Racers or GISR.

    Our demands are simple:

    * ISI to cease supporting RF2 and resume development of the original refactor;
    * IRacing to begin charging a tax on subscribers to help subsidize the cost of sim racing for our members;
    * All future Aseetto Corsa dlc provided for free;
    * SMS to charge $1 for PCars2 membership and distribute a share of all profits to those on lower incomes;
    * RRE to abandon micro transactions and provide the whole content for free, and to enter into a legally binding contract with users to continue providing free content irrespective of financial viability of the company.

    If you wish to join GISR, please send me €500.

    Like

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