Do We Really Need Four?

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Though the overall sales numbers imply titles like Project CARS and Assetto Corsa are dominating the sim racing landscape, comparing the data of active users listed on Steamcharts alongside the nightly count posted on the iRacing Member’s site has made one thing extremely clear: competing against people from around the world is what the majority of avid sim racers are interested in doing when they sit down in front of their plastic steering wheel for the night.

Combining scheduled start times with incredibly detailed stat tracking and progression systems, iRacing is in a league of it’s own when it comes to the overall Multiplayer experience, and it’s utterly fascinating that no other sim racing developer has bothered to try and copy their success. Halfway through 2016, it’s shocking that iRacing has established itself as a monolithic entity in our little hobby – completely uncontested, I might add – while simulators such as Automobilista, Assetto Corsa, and Project CARS are stuck using an outdated server browser that would be more at home in Counter-Strike or Battlefield than in a genre where practice and organization is every bit as essential to the virtual rendition as it is for the real thing.

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But because iRacing’s driving physics aren’t adored by everyone, even as the multiplayer component has achieved near-universal acclaim from even some of its harshest critics, and the resourceful sim racers among us have opted to try and replicate the magic formula of iRacing within their own favorite set of simulators – a task even the developers of these titles themselves haven’t bothered with. And it was cool to see a project like Race2Play come to fruition back in the day – a website offering an iRacing-like experience for owners of games powered by the ISI Motor engine – but it admittedly hasn’t caught on to the extent of the original inspiration. The site has seen much better days, and current car counts for the modern crop of racing simulators offered are abysmal. SimRacingSystem, an in-game application spawned by diehard Portugese sim racers and primarily intended to boost the competitive online racing scene within Assetto Corsa, barely managed to last a handful of months before they too also began to suffer from extreme car count issues, with only one or two races per day attracting a respectable field of drivers. Obviously, if you don’t live in a very specific time zone, you’re shit out of luck when it comes to these platforms, and both of them will be utterly useless to you.

So regardless of how great these two projects were on paper, as well as in execution, not enough people were using them at the end of the day, and both outlets faded into relative obscurity. In an era where sim racers are literally kicking and screaming for an iRacing competitor or clone for that matter, neither project did enough to reel in a sizeable audience past a simple Reddit post or two, and we’re basically starting from scratch all over again. Sim racers tried twice, failed twice, and still we sit here with no real iRacing competitor that a whole bunch of people have adopted – which in the end makes it worth while.

What’s the solution to this problem? I’ll rattle off a few suggestions that might sound good on paper.

  • Bandwagoning. No longer should RaceDepartment be advertising for their club races, it’s time for them to shill for SimRacingSystem, and work with the Portugese guys to hold officially sanctioned RaceDepartment championships through that application. Race2Play needs a massive presence and constant news articles on VirtualR. That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about when I say bandwagonning. I don’t care which project we bandwagon, because in my opinion they’re both quite good and don’t suffer from any tangible flaws, but the entire scene – news sites and all – need to pick up the torch and say “we’re all going to use this solution for organized racing.” Absolutely everybody needs to be in on this, completely disregarding any previous financial arrangements. It’ll be worth it when we always have 20 people to race with after work, instead of waiting for Saturday morning to play R3E with the European dudes.
  • Acquisition. Word on the street is that Kunos Simulazioni paid a group of community modders something like $400 USD for the Nissan Skyline R34 model, and the Third Party Affiliate program created by Image Space Incorporated has been deemed a success by all twenty people still actively playing rFactor 2. Why stop there? Your average sim racer is not going to spend long hours on Reddit combing through month-old threads to find an obscure online racing app made by some random guys in Portugal. Is $600 to $800 really that much to throw at these guys in order to implement the basic Sim Racing System software into Assetto Corsa under the fancy name of Assetto World? If it’s an option in the menu, people are going to click on it, and dive head-first into this strange new way of playing a hardcore racing simulator. If it’s buried on page 8 of some message board that not everybody reads, of course people will abandon it after a month.

Both options sound pretty reasonable on paper. We’ve either got to bandwagon one of the two current options to the point where everybody knows about them, or a developer needs to come alone and snatch up one of these entities – as one basic financial transaction is a small price to pay to label yourselves as a genuine alternative to iRacing. With the diverse roster of cars and locations available in stuff like Automobilista or RaceRoom Racing Experience, who wouldn’t want an iRacing-like structure to the online format?

Your Sony Walkman hasn’t been in style for seventeen years, and neither are these clunky server browsers which serve no purpose for a highly sophisticated online racing environment. When one game makes a massive dent in the market and only continues to expand, it’s beyond retarded to ignore what made that game so special, and why people are flocking to it. iRacing proves that sim racers love racing against each other rather than artificial intelligence, and iRacing also proves that sim racers love when online races have meaning. It’s insanity to continue pumping out simulators that look, feel, and play no differently as a complete product than they did in 2006.

And it’s also insanity to keep churning out these third party online racing applications, praying that “this time, it will catch on, even if we offer nothing different compared to the application that came before us…”

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I’m not even going to do an overview of JustRace. I’m not going to name the creators, or explore the website in any meaningful way. Race2Play is dying. SimRacingSystem did not attract even a fraction of the audience that would make it worthwhile to use. Yet rather than evaluate why people aren’t using either of these two programs, already we’ve been hit with a third. Spoiler: People aren’t using it, either.

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Actually, hold the fuck on, now we’ve got four. Please welcome OVRTAKE into the ring, a premium online racing interface built specifically for Assetto Corsa. Whereas the three programs mentioned above are all free, you’ve got to pay for this one – and of course, there aren’t any guarantees that once you pay the entry free, there will be anybody to race with. I guess that’s what the free trial is for.

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This is fucking insanity. I want to shake my monitor and yell STOP at these colossal fucking idiots for over-saturating a market that literally doesn’t have an audience to begin with. Look at those servers listed above, just look at the multiple goose eggs in the screenshot I provided. Servers across multiple online racing programs are barren wastelands, save for five cars in a GT3 room, which is simply not enjoyable under any circumstances. We’ve literally got four fucking groups of people all building the same shit, and with sim racing clearly not having the overall community size seen in other genres like first person shooters or online battle arenas, these four groups are dividing by zero when it comes to attracting users to their application. There is literally competition over zero users.

I feel like this is some sort of indie art piece, that’s how obscure the concept of four groups fighting over zero users is to me. Race2Play is dying. SimRacing System fizzled out in ridiculously quick fashion. JustRace is dead on arrival. And now somebody wants me to pay to look at an empty list of servers on Ovrtake? What’s next? Is Assetto Corsa 2 a word document? The pre-order DLC for Project CARS 2 a signed picture of Ian Bell with his family? Will developers make us pay them to market their games?

Un-fucking-real. This is a special kind of hell.

88 thoughts on “Do We Really Need Four?

  1. GG Allin = Austin
    Floor = Sim Racing Community
    Shit being Taken = pretendracecars.net
    Smearing of shit all over = each article
    Small cock = proof of how insecure james is
    Eating Shit = what you should do

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  2. What do you expect, with all this negativity towards steering wheels, towards people who can’t race, towards any progress and any faults.

    But sim companies aren’t ready yet to develop or buy and maintain such systems. Especially because the scale of infrastructure, devs, and participants for this type of system will be bigger than in the mods.
    Unless you offer it already with a limitation in mind. Say you make it only usable for 5000 racers and first come first serve. This way you don’t risk any big initial influx or if it doesn’t meet expectation you didn’t lose much with the infrastructure. Besides, community servers won’t stop happening with organized racing system running at the same time.

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  3. I have to agree on this one. I understand that sim racing and overwatch are at the opposite end of the spectrum, few player on one, a shitload on the other.

    But a big reasons why i fire Overwatch instead of racing is that i takes about 1 minute to auto find a game. I can hop in for a game or 2 and i’m out.

    Outside of league or iRacing, pickup races in anything else that GT3 is almost non existant… It’s a shame because there’s alot of cool classes that are prone to close racing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It doesn’t even have to be schedules and structures: in the old days of GTL, GTR2 and RACE 07 there would be 4-5 community servers that had active admins with their banhammers ready. People always flocked to this and the skill gaps between drivers weren’t very far off.

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  5. The guy in the above video has his band hammer out all be it a very very tiny one 🙂 tiny is probably to big a word for his band hammer !

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  6. SRS could be certainly more popular, but at GMT evening to night time it’s more than one, two races you get a decent grid. But the Lotus 25 seems not popular even I think it’s easy enough and much fun to drive. But maybe not that easy with plastic wheels:)

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        1. What? I thought the T300 was supposed to be immune to cooling issues? And that was touted as an improvement over the T500 which was supposed to have problems with heat. My T500 has never had problems with heat apart from the fan being pretty loud.

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          1. This is a TX-wheel and pretty much useless in hot summer-days. Even in Winter i had bad FFB-fading when driving certain cars or all at Raceroom. The T500 and Fanatec v2 should not have that issue, but i bet they get weaker every lap like the TX-wheel. This is all plastic trash.

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            1. PS: All DD-wheel motors are made for the industry to last at least seven years. Just alone the durability and endurance is worth the price and 300 to 700% more torque is never a disadvantage if you use it responsibly, so often just a fraction of it.

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  7. This is all down to cost/benefit to the developers and players of the games.Sim racers who don’t play Iracing always complain about the cost.People who play other games want an Iracing style environment but the developers don’t want to create anything like it because it does not generate any cash unless they start charging Iracing type fees.

    Going to be interesting to see how Gran Turismo & Forza try to clean up the online element of their games in the next installments.At the end of the day you have to pay for clean racing.

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  8. GG Allin was an utterly selfdestroying idiot, he planned to kill himself during a performance along with some of the audience. Too bad he could not properly dose his heroin crap so lastly he eat shit alone instead. Don´t think that you little picky nerdy kid really get what kind of fucked up asshole he was. You should also dance on a stage, smear yourself with puke,shit and all the different simracing game covers and dvds, then lite yourself on and play you favorite sim (if it even exists) until the bitter end.

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  9. None of these systems will ever catch on because they require an already very small number of players to install and register for a third party system that the huge majority of players haven’t even heard of. For a racing game to mimic the systems and draw players away from iRacing, it will require a first party commitment. You can’t pussyfoot this. Unless it’s a system that’s in front of the face of every single person who plays that sim, it’s just not going happen.

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    1. What he said. If ISI integrated an iRacing-like service into RFactor 2, or Kunos did the same for Assetto Corsa, we’d have a workable online experience now in those sims. It’s really not fucking hard, though sadly so far it’s been done wrong, with SRS building on the back of a forum platform (wtf) that won’t cope if numbers get too high and Race2Play being dated and not integrated into the sims (no way to launch sessions from the page for instance). The fact that neither service offers practice servers for the day’s races is another big loss. Part of the iRacing experience is going into a practice room to see how you measure up, watching the fast guys, trying shit out and seeing what happens.

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        1. Maybe that wasn’t there last time I looked or maybe I didn’t look hard enough. Thing is though, a button saying “25 guys in practice, join now” would be enormously helpful. It’s part of what works at iRacing (and my previous posts and my name should indicate that I think iRacing are cunts). I want other sims to knock them off their fucking perch but if they ignore basic usability they won’t get far.

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  10. AC especially could benefit from implementing something like SRS natively, on console in particular. As is it ain’t much of a game..

    Regarding your last article, it took me exactly one lap to go faster than you with the F488. Without much setup work even, and I rarely drive GT3. That got me thinking, that are you really fast enough to even feel the difference between setup changes, nevermind few psi in tire pressure?

    Saying you are an alien don’t make you so. Especially since you have some weird vendetta against AC physics, AMS content and simracing games in general, where does your self-established credibility come from?

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    1. Man what are you, a total noob? It didn’t even take me ONE lap to go faster than you. Just by imagining how I would drive the lap I already went faster than you. And please don’t come with such illogical statements like “I would like to see that lap” or “Do you have proof”? Proof is for losers, my statement that I beat your time easily should be all the proof you need.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Meanwhile I’m already banned from RSR because someone was asshurt and reported me. Which I’m not sure how that went down considering my record lap was clean, so I guess you can’t even admit to screwing around with a SLOWER modded car in practice before the AC cum guzzlers unleash their ’tism.

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                1. Not really. It’s important not to give away the triggers that lets them pinpoint cheats.

                  I mean be real about this, companies throw millions at anti-cheat and still have bullshit leaderboards, RSR does pretty well even without considering funding.

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        1. RSR has some anticheat stuff built in and they ban people caught cheating and it wasn’t because of your record lap because otherwise it would have been removed and it’s still up there.

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  11. ALL MUSLIMS ARE CANCEROUS TO SOCIETY AND SIM RACING AND DESERVE ALL POSSIBLE TORTURE TO DEATH FROM MAJOR TRUTH!!!

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          1. ALL MUSLIMS DESERVE TO SUFFOCATE WITH THEIR SHITTY HARAM MOUTHS KICKED ONTO THEIR BELOVED OLD MERCEDES DIESEL ENGINE EXHAUSTS RUNNING AT MAX CAPACITY LIKE CERTAIN CAMPS FROM WW2!

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      1. WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT WESTERN SOCIETY YOU FEMINIST FUCK, WESTERN PEOPLE ANYHOW CONTAIN ALL POSSIBLE ANSWERS TO ISLAM IN PURE BLOODSHED AND DESTRUCTION!

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    1. If you want them tortured to death, you are not a tiny bit better and there are enough better opportunities like Youtube to spill your hate speech.

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    1. THE KABBA IS NOT REAL AND CONTAINS STONE ALSO FOUND IN A CHURCH WICH MEANS ALL MUSLIMS SHALL PERISH UNDER THE HAND OF MAJOR TRUTH!

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  12. “The Third Party Affiliate program created by Image Space Incorporated has been deemed a success by all twenty people still actively playing rFactor 2.” I laughed hard at this, even though I am a rF2 shill and it hurts me a little inside.

    But I fully agree with you on this James. It’s like the developers are blind. What could possibly be the reason that they don’t consider an Iracing like system to bring in more players? It is made perfectly clear already that a good sim on it’s own will not be a big succes if there is nobody to race against.
    What could possibly hold them back? Server costs? If people can actually pick up their game and race against other players then they will be hooked and they will pay for a subscription after a free trial.
    The costs of the program? It would take a semi capable developer less than 3 months work to build a fully working system. If a random dude from Portugal can do it without access to the source codes of the sims than it obviously isn’t too hard.

    I am a member of Iracing even though I like rF2 way more as a sim, but my free hours are everywhere so I can’t join a league. I am an owner of the sim since it came out and I literally had three (3!!) random races where I had even a single fun battle with someone. The online system of Iracing is a godsend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If they charge you 50€ just for the online platform where you play in other peoples servers, this thing would be more or as expensive as iracing.

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    2. Actually I have a suspicion that part of what holds back the likes of RF2 and AC from going 1st party is the limited amount of 1st party content, given that mods are for the most part either illegal or shit (tracks and cars). By running a system that used any of these third party mods they would have the legal trouble that goes with that.

      Additionally, with very open modding-friendly platforms, monitoring for cheating becomes a hell of a lot harder, and you know what a bunch of cunts sim racers can be.

      I did look into building something like SRS for RF2 a while back, I’ve got the skills and the tech to do it, but the things that stopped me were:
      1. Legal shit. I’d have to either use first-party only or risk legal shit.
      2. Piss-poor mods would lead to a bad experience for the user and put people off.
      3. There’s fuck all money to be made in it. All the people who will pay are already in iRacing, and you won’t get them to move til there’s critical mass elsewhere. I don’t have deep enough pockets to fund it and market it to get the numbers in.
      4. The communities are so spread out that trying to bring everyone together to make that work would be a hell of a lot of effort. Getting sim racers into one place is like herding cats. That’s one thing iRacing did well.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been giving R3E a try recently as my 1st online sim experience and this is what’s holding me from buying track packs and cars. What’s the point of buying Spa and an R32 if nobody else is playing it?

    I’ll stick to the free stuff that I had relative ease finding competition. If only I could stop losing connection and lagging so bad that it takes me 5min to drive out of the pits. And that’s when I’m not outright motionless on the start line while the group laps around me. Connectivity is really ruining the experience for me, but when it works correctly I have a blast. Had a race where we were 2 on the track yesterday and were were neck and neck the entire time. That was fun.

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    1. I would guess your connection issues are related to your location in relation to the nearest server or a more localized issue with your specific connection.

      idk though, someone who has been testing r3e recently will need to confirm. I’ve never had much if any trouble with their servers but maybe something is messed up now.

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      1. Might be, I’m in Ontario, Canada. Might also explain the European only R3E competition PRC covered a couple of months ago. If it persist I’ll get to the forums for help because I’ve mostly enjoyed the problem free races I’ve had.

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      2. Found the problem. Apparently the CGN3 modem/router I have has very bad latency for gaming. So I set it in bridge mode with a good router behind it and it fixed all my lag issues.

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  14. IRACING HAS ALL ONLINE SHILL PLAYERS GATHERING TOGHETER BECAUSE THEY ARE MUSLIMS AND BAND TOGHETER LIKE ANTS TO PLOT COUPS AND TERRORISM TO THE NORMAL SIM CROWD. THEY DESERVE TO DROWN IN SHIT BAKED OIL!

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    1. Yes, the top drivers are damn fast and in Europe you get every day 3-6 races in the evening with full or nearly full grid. Most people join a server within the last few minutes and this player-counter isn´t working well. Only if you join you see how many people really subscribed.

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  15. “competing against people from around the world is what the majority of avid sim racers are interested in doing when they sit down in front of their plastic steering wheel for the night”
    In your dreams, pal. You even contradict yourself later on in the article. If that’s what sim racers are interested in doing, why the fuck all the servers are empty then?

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  16. You just don’t get it do you?Racing online with other people is exactly what most of racing simulator users don’t want to do. Why this fact is so hard to understand? Compare iracing, rfactors, ac, rrre. Only 70.000 people have iracing and iracing servers have only few thousand racers. Others have even less. There’ s the proof. It’s that simple. If racing sim owners liked to race online, they would do it, but the don’t. What other proof is still needed?😕

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      1. Current AC players: 635. 24 hr Peak? 1882.

        Current pCars players: 460. 24 hr Peak? 1,495

        Current rFactor 2 players: 80. 24 hr peak? 211.

        Current Dirt Rally players: 283. 24 hr peak? 828.

        iRacing players: traditionally anywhere from 2200 to 4000.

        Oops.

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        1. That’s what he said, ir has only a few thousands.

          But iracing better have more than the other sims, they did the most investment and their website-multiplayer is more streamlined and with more things to do than what the other sims did. Is a more professional racing service than any other, their users have income power, and like to spend money with sim racing, and somehow the competition in iracing justifies that, as it became a dedicated hobby for them. Over the years it managed to keep enough faithful active racers, especially because is the strongest product in sim racing for online racing. So it better have more active racers than the other sims.

          But then take a look at other online racing services, simraceway, raceroom? They aren’t doing well.

          Despite all the shit you throw around, you want to be back on iracing. #iracingmakeithappen

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        2. Yeah, that makes a ton of difference 🙂 Thanks to all the hype and marketing bullshit iRacing hypnotized people into thinking they are doing it “almost for real” in that particular sim. They needed a gold standard of a car simulator, and here comes Dave Kaemmer to save the day. I must give it to him, the marketing idea is brilliant. Heck, he could even charge for virtual gas and the fans would still be ok with that… As for the sim not really being too much of a sim. Well, Lord Kaemmer says it is the only realistic simulator, therefore you must obey! Death to infidels!

          And yes, Ogonoski, just admit it: you don’t really care about the physics all that much. You indeed want back on iRacing to drive alongside with other “racers” just like yourself. You don’t give a damn about cars, you simply want to look down on others.

          I really hope they’ll take you back in. Otherwise we’re doomed to see the whiny “articles” every other day about how lonely you are not being able to “race” with someone.

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  17. Few thousand iracers online is not much. 70 thousand iracing owners is not much either. Other sims owners play even less mp. Conclusion being people simply don’t want to race with others online. Isn’t it obvious.

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    1. then simRACING is broken as a genre, seeing as people who are RACING fans in real life like to RACE cars against other drivers

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      1. real life question. Are there more racing practitioners or more car enthusiasts that only like to drive/exhibit and take care/customize their cars?

        Racing games in general and sim racing can be a reflection of that. Many people are fans of cars, then less are fans of motorsport racing, then less do amateur/semi/professional racing.

        A hurried up conclusion, racing is not for everyone, be it in real life or sim/game. Or at least the dedicated racing aspect is not for everyone.

        This can improve, it isn’t doomed. But is needed a more streamlined online racing environment and systems for sim racing games, mainly done by the game company (and accessible for everyone, not just the top racers). Because they can actually reach a bigger audience compared to someone modding such systems. But if you put subscription model then it isn’t good, so at least limit how many can race at the same time and the rest will play in their own servers.

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        1. Computer games are supposed to be handy.

          The minute you can find combos with similarly skilled driver, people will drive online. If racing online is as easy as moving the AI difficulty slider, it’ll work!

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  18. I guess sim racers love their wallets getting raped. How can you pay and support something like iRenting, which is basically microtransactions central? Yet no one else in the sim racing genre is able to include a multiplayer system as good as iRacing without paying a subscription fee? This shows how incompetent and ass-backwards the sim racing genre is.

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  19. I don’t get it. Unless these people had already put in a ton of work prior to the other systems being released (aside from r2p…), why the hell are they even releasing it?

    At the very least, collaborate on one project.

    As the article explains, this is not good for the actual drivers unless a sufficient amount of players are on at least one of the services consistently. S3 and Kunos both need to adopt the strongest system for their software, which will hopefully reverse some of this unnecessary fragmentation.

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  20. dont know what the mass does, but playing online multiplayer is still the best thing for me i could not care less for the league play format though. Sure it would be nice sometimes to only have alien guys on the grid, but i find that the skill diversity in a race and explosions on the start line are also fun as you have to fight yourway through flying cars and shrapnel pieces flying around. If you are fine with AI races you probably play only games within a single player campaign anyways. Just do what´s best for you, in your case it would be to criticise a little less and enjoy the time you have to play.

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  21. Good article, again PRC. Finally making a dent in the industry, not just (just) hate towards (greedy) publishers. Very sad state of business in this modern world of simracing. That forum entry by Kunos, according to which less than 20% of player go online racing in AC is still causing me bouts of uncontrollable anger today. OFC nobody wants to play your 3 feature online component when you don’t want to lift a finger to flesh it out. At least some features are now implemented to have a sort of half functional online environment. Then you have their response regarding modding and how open AC is to modding and how good modders are and they can implement whatever the fuck they want into their barebones skeleton of a sim. All nice and dandy except for the fact that of all people that connect, a fraction only have time to trawl racedepartment or other obscure sites on a regular basis (daily) for new exciting mods that 200 people download and forget about 3 days later, be they tracks, cars or functional app that should have been in the goddamn game to begin with. Fucking idiotic development hell.
    People also complain when K includes a mod car to their official roster but they fail to understand that this is the only fucking way we get to play those cars in multiplayer with at least 10 other people, not just that half retarded server you host to fuck around with 2 friends because nobody fucking uses mods online.
    Why the fuck do they insist so much on ruining something that has the potential to greatness? Why the fuck are there solid solid communities for modern sims that get blatantly ignored to the point cringing becomes teeth grinding and punching of holes through monitors and toy plastic steering wheels flying out windows?
    It’s our fault as much as theirs. Fanboys fuel their egos. Their mods quiet out the rest to make sure their forums and social media places are mostly nice clean places where everyone is happy. Whoever has an objection is a retarded hater who deserves a ban so hardcore their computer will never be able to connect to the net again, not even to play online fucking solitaire.
    Fuck me, this can be turned into a Hitler meltdown meme sequence without issues.

    Like

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