As the classic saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished”, and the same appears to ring true on the official forums dedicated to discussing the popular multi-platform racing simulator Assetto Corsa. Ever since it was originally announced that the independent Italian driving game from Kunos Simulazioni would be arriving on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, there’s been a very tangible rift between hardcore PC sim racers which have adopted the title as their simulator of choice, and curious console gamers looking for a much more serious alternative to Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo. It’s a rivalry that doesn’t make much sense on paper, as more individuals abandoning mass-market military shooters in favor of something significantly more complex is one of the easiest ways to help the genre of driving games grow after a noticeable regression over the past five years, but this hasn’t stopped elitist PC sim racers from relentlessly attacking an audience with the potential to be every bit as passionate about these games as they already are.
As we’ve covered countless times before here on PRC.net, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Assetto Corsa are vastly different games compared to what you can purchase from Valve’s Steam Marketplace. While the PC version is treated as this divine entity within several sections of the official forums constructed by Kunos Simulazioni to discuss their game, the Console Lounge paints a much different picture of the software – users frequently complain that features found in the PC version are non-existent, and what is present, isn’t always functional. To evoke a bit of colorful language, it feels as if there was an elaborate marketing campaign behind a shovelware title which aimed to sucker in as many customers as possible, and now those customers are sitting around wondering when – if ever – Assetto Corsa for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will ever live up to the buzz surrounding it.
With the Assetto Corsa forums allowing registered Assetto Corsa owners on the PC to freely navigate the entire board and jump into conversations at their own discretion – without restricting individuals based on which version of the game they own – many Assetto Corsa fans playing the game on their elaborate PC setup can be seen openly venturing over to the console side of the board and openly mocking owners of the inferior console version for no justifiable reason. Aside from many little features and functionalities missing from the console renditions of Assetto Corsa, the core driving experience itself is just as serious as the PC offering, meaning those who have signed up for the official forums are just as passionate about the game as hardcore PC sim racers. It’s not like the console game features power-ups stolen from Mario Kart, and the ability to rewind time to correct major driving mistakes – it’s still a racing simulator, just not a very good or technically sound one. As a result, this makes any instance of PC owners attacking console owners for “playing on the wrong platform” quite silly in nature, and basically demonstrates the theory that Assetto Corsa fans feel strangely obligated to act as a rabid cult hell-bent on spreading the gospel of Kunos Simulazioni.
As we’ve discussed yesterday, the current issue plaguing the Xbox One version of Assetto Corsa – sent in by our boy Vernon S. via Reader Submission – is the widespread corruption of save data. Let’s be very clear here, save data corruption isn’t something that can be passed off as an objective complaint of varying importance from user to user – this is a base-level functionality problem with the software itself. In a modern video game centered around the art of driving cars around a track and refining them in the virtual garage area, having your custom setups wiped, your unique player settings corrupted, and your single player event progress undone virtually every time you exit the application, is a pretty big deal. This is the kind of base level functionality flaw that, upon implementing spreadsheet software with a similar issue in their store on a lazy Monday morning, would see CVS Pharmacies drop after roughly an hour’s use. There isn’t really any reason to just bend over and accept the same disruptive gremlins in a piece of entertainment.
Xbox One owners have been reporting this issue on the appropriate section of the forums since Assetto Corsa launched in August of 2016, but it still hasn’t been fixed or even directly addressed by 505 Games customer support reps, and Assetto Corsa enthusiasts on the Xbox One were extremely happy when we covered it here at PRC.net, because we were literally the only outlet willing to acknowledge that yes, this is a problem. That alone speaks volumes; it’s pretty sad that customers are so frustrated with the quality of a product, and fed up with silence from the developers, that they’re forced to contact a news blog in the hopes that someone will listen to them and feed them more than a generic “contact customer support” response, the same they’ve been receiving for around five months with no tangible improvement to the product itself.
Upon celebrating our article finally covering the save corruption problem on the Xbox One, like clockwork, PC owners of Assetto Corsa arrived to immediately scold the console gamers for being “entitled crybabies who enjoy hating on things” before stating “sometimes the adults need to get up and come over to the kid’s table to smack some manners” into them.
There is a fundamental problem with how Assetto Corsa operates as a piece of software, which currently leads to a situation where the application frequently wipes data off of the Xbox One’s hard drive, and PC owners of the game are basically laughing at the fact that Kunos Simulazioni sold a defective product to a portion of the game’s audience for no justifiable reason other than they’re playing the simulator on a different platform than their own. Rather than ponder what a major technical issue such as save data being obliterated at a moment’s notice could indicate about the work ethic and general competence of their favorite sim racing developers, PC owners are using this opportunity to flex their invisible muscles and bully other sim racers when the situation doesn’t even call for it in the first place.
This behavior isn’t just exhibited by one user in particular upset that his favorite driver wrecked out of the 24 Hours of Daytona prematurely and desperately needing to take out his anger on someone innocent, but a collection of individuals genuinely trying to chase out fellow virtual auto racing enthusiasts solely based on their platform of choice. Assetto Corsa forum user P73 can be seen above aggressively telling the original poster to “go play Forza Motorsport” if he feels “a few missing features” are ruining Assetto Corsa before labeling all console players as “spoiled brats” and “crying babies”, totally ignoring the initial complaint actually revolves around save data frequently being corrupted by the application itself.
Save data corruption is not a matter of personal preference; it’s the sign of a faulty product, plain and simple. Yet as you can clearly see above, you have examples of two individuals in one thread alone basically celebrating the fact that Kunos Simulazioni released a defective product for their customers on the Xbox One, and then attacking those who drew attention to the issue in the first place by claiming they’re throwing tantrums like spoiled brats. Yes, it’s unreasonable to ask a team of roughly seventeen people to include a four-digit car roster within their simulator, complimented with a comprehensive career mode that features official licenses from all major racing series around the globe. That’s ridiculous But on the other hand, it’s certainly not unreasonable, or “entitled” as some call it, to demand a product that retains your personal data from one session of gameplay to the next. This is like, basic software functionality.
And responses like these are why console owners have been openly asking Kunos Simulazioni to restrict who can access what areas of the forums for months on end – effectively preventing PC elitists from aggressively confronting frustrated console owners – but like the aforementioned save data bug, Kunos have not acted on what’s a very legitimate problem. And while owners of the console version are not permitted to enter PC-specific sections, PC owners are allowed to traverse the forum freely, indicating a very clear bias towards PC sim racers over their console brethren, who are every bit as entitled to a functional Assetto Corsa experience as PC owners. Instead, they aren’t even allowed to see what the PC version of the game entails, despite PC owners ruthlessly venturing into console specific threads and dismissing any valid criticism of the game.
I find this behavior absolutely appalling, and it’s part of the reason why both myself, as well as many outsiders, believe the Assetto Corsa fanbase – on the PC, at least – to operate in a cult-like manner. Here you have an entire group of people viciously going after fellow enthusiasts for merely experiencing a software defect, and basically celebrating the fact that Kunos released a product that destroys your own Xbox One hard drive data after a session of play solely because “lol you bought an Xbox.” Nevermind that these people may soon turn into talented virtual race car drivers themselves, or indulge in the hobby on a level similar to the passion PC sim racers exhibit in this hobby, Assetto Corsa fans don’t even try to hide the fact that they take pleasure in their favorite developer royally botching the release of their favorite game to an entirely new audience.
Not only are they stunting the growth of an otherwise extremely small genre by bullying those with legitimate complaints and chasing away individuals with genuine interest in the genre, they’re basically telling Kunos it’s perfectly fine to release a piece of software with obvious technical defects. I have to ask, what kind of precedent does this set? You’re indicating to a game developer backed by a major investment firm and publishing company that in a category of video games highlighted by precise attention to detail, that it’s totally okay for them to push out a product that damages a user’s files at random.
With this kind of apologetic attitude from their diehard fans even in the face of monumental software gremlins, what incentive would they have in the future to polish their product in the slightest?