It’s much more than a nasty rumor making the rounds as a cruel joke on sim racers who have chosen Sony’s PlayStation 4 as their home gaming platform. If you haven’t figured it out by now, there appears to have been a falling out of sorts between Sony Entertainment and Fanatec, leading to a situation where all Fanatec products are no longer compatible for a console a whole lot of people bought. There wasn’t any official announcement and no major report from mainstream racing game publications on the matter (N4G actually links to us of all people), nor did any developer explicitly come out and say there had been a major shake-up behind the scenes, so sim racers were just sort of expected to infer from the official wheel compatibility list of each title that Fanatec owners would be left in the dark for the foreseeable future. Sure, there was a blog post on the official Fanatec message board, but let’s be honest- how many people actually read those?
Codemasters subtly warned people ahead of time that their Fanatec gear wouldn’t work with Formula One 2016, but Assetto Corsa fans weren’t so lucky – their Fanatec products were fully compatible with the Italian racing simulator provided they did not connect to the internet and download a day-one patch, adding to the already growing array of launch-day complaints. Yet through this madness, there appears to be at least one developer who have intentionally avoided this situation altogether by purposely not updating their game – at least according to today’s Reader Submission here at PRC.net. And surprisingly, that developer is Slightly Mad Studios..
Hey PRC. First of all, I’m a long-time “lurker” fan of this place. You guys really do shine some much needed light on the cockroaches in this industry. Please don’t attribute this to me or my email/domain in anyway should there be something legitimate to it. I completely quit participating online about two years ago, and have never partaken in social media.
Earlier I was talking to a friend about the recent split between Sony and Fanatec. Now according to what I’ve read about Assetto Corsa, Fanatec products work fine with Assetto Corsa before the day one patch. But, if you apply the day one patch, it breaks compatibility. So something happened between Fanatec and Sony between the time Assetto Corsa went gold about four weeks ago, and last week or so.
Now as you know, Project CRAP desperately needs updates on the PlayStation 4 to fix many bugs, and I’ve read on many places people are getting antsy because nothing has been forthcoming since the last DLC pack. My theory is that the friendship between Ian Bell and Thomas Jackermeier of Fanatec goes back a long ways, and they were warned ahead of time not to update Project CARS on PS4 specifically to avoid Sony forcing them to patch-out support for Fanatec products, as Sony had requested with Assetto Corsa.
As for the bugs found in the PlayStation 4 version of Project CARS, the game still isn’t where it needs to be. One of the easiest to verify is the lack of ghost entries on the long courses, not to mention the recurring audio/FFB drop-outs… If you’ve got access to a PlayStation 4, visit the time trial leaderboards for the Nordschleife, and the full versions of either the French or California coastline tracks. You’ll notice there aren’t any ghosts available for many of the top 30 runs… It’s just basic stuff like that popping up everywhere that gets in the way of Project CARS being really enjoyable. And people really want one or two more patches to get all of this in order, but I believe they won’t just to avoid the Sony drama.
I can believe it. Sony is being absolutely ridiculous right now and royally screwing over customers, so it wouldn’t surprise me if at least one dev team tried to put a stop to it just to keep some people happy. You’re looking at a situation where you have these extremely niche games being released for your system that require expensive toy steering wheels just to play them in the desired fashion – equipment costing hundreds of dollars, I might add – and Sony has effectively stepped in and said “spend more money on yet another toy steering wheel which in theory you shouldn’t even need to begin with, or else you can’t play your favorite game.” That’s fucking horrible. I mean yeah, Fanatec owners can still boot up Assetto Corsa on the PlayStation 4 with a gamepad, but let’s be real about this situation – these are games you should by all means be playing with a wheel.
If you’d like to simplify the situation a bit further, look at the Rock Band franchise. Don’t lie, you’ve got a couple of plastic guitars kicking around somewhere, that shit was awesome. Harmonix actually sold a special adapter for Rock Band 4 so you could continue to use your old instruments from the previous generation of games on what are now current generation consoles, and weren’t forced to let the plastic guitars keep piling up in your living room to play what was effectively the exact same five-button rhythm game. Here you have a developer bending over backwards to ensure everyone can play the game in the desired fashion, and yet in sim racing land you literally have a console manufacturer demanding developers to release patches which break wheel compatibility for certain users, and forcing them to drop $400 more on a new wheel despite their current wheel working perfectly fine 24 hours prior.
Ugly and unacceptable. I’m not even a Fanatec guy, but this is just wrong.