Doing It Right: How Sim Racing Can Improve as an eSport

While the Visa Vegas eRace, Eurogamer Assetto Corsa Championship, and the iRacing World Grand Prix Series may be known as the absolute pinnacle of competitive online sim racing, virtual auto racing as an eSport simply hasn’t taken off in the slightest. Despite hundreds of thousands of viewers tuning in to watch world class Counter Strike or League of Legends matches, what’s arguably the most difficult and skill-based genre of video games existing on the planet – hardcore racing simulators – are struggling to reel in any sort of audience whatsoever. Attempt after attempt is made to thrust sim racing into the eSports spotlight alongside much larger titles, but regardless of who exactly is behind the organization of it all, and the simulator chosen to hold the specific competition in question, the end result is always the same; nobody cares who wins, the on-track product is unexciting, the commentators far too enthusiastic for the event, technical issues destroy the flow of the broadcast, and barely anybody tuned in to begin with. League of Legends matches are occasionally covered by ESPN, but sim racing events draw a crowd on par with high school volleyball matches – and that’s pulling from a worldwide audience?

So how do we fix this?

Let’s throw some ideas out there.

And we’ll start by talking about the broadcast crew. Right now, the biggest problem is commentators either go all out and pretend online races are these ultra-serious life changing epiphanies in a desperate attempt to build a portfolio for some kind of real life commentating gig, or it’s absurdly obvious that the commentary crew is sitting in a dark basement waiting for mommy to cook them some hot pockets – and I think on an iRacing stream this actually happened once, where one guy freaked on his roommate for busting into the room during a broadcast.

The commentators need to approach the event with the mentality that it’s an organized event with a big prize on the line, but at the end of the day remember it’s also just a video game where some guys are turning laps in their pyjamas and they can be free to joke around, use slang, and call the action as if they’re genuinely just happy to hang out and watch a race. Two guys who are fantastic at maintaining this balance are Shaun Cole and Ian Plasch – the former being the personality behind The SimPit, whereas the latter is a popular iRacing streamer with his own fanbase. Personally I love listening to Shaun as he really gets that it’s just a fun hobby at the end of the day, whereas Ian is still young enough to appeal to the younger, eSports centric audience.

The reason I suggest to stay away from serious-minded commentators, is that occasionally things can and do go wrong during the on-track action, and it creates a really poor suspension of disbelief effect. Deep monologues discussing alternate race strategies do not go well with cars glitching into the track surface and shooting off into the stratosphere, followed by commentators awkwardly trying to decide if they should explain the game suffered a technical issue, or pretend there was a sudden “mechanical failure” – as they’ve done in the past with iRacing server failures. A laid-back, casual voiceover is a much more acceptable pair for the random carnage sim racing sometimes provides.

Next, let’s talk about the competitors themselves. I’m going to catch a lot of flak for this one, but let’s go there anyways. No matter how many huge eSport racing events are held, one thing has never changed – the drivers are boring, lifeless personalities. I’m sorry guys, the majority of sim events I watch, it’s a flock of faceless Europpean forklift drivers. You have to captivate your viewers, establish heroes and villans – which in turn allows the audience to either identify, support, or root against the numerous drivers on the grid – and that simply isn’t happening in the genre at the moment, so nobody is even caring who wins these competitions. Go watch the Visa vegas eRace again, it’s ten guys who all sound the same, look like they just finished their shift at some obscure Finnish warehouse, and were told to quickly get into this weird Firesuit to pretend they’re real race car drivers. Sorry, no, this is silly. Unfortunately if you want to grow sim racing as an eSport, you’ve got to move away from “the best sim racers in the world”, because as a viewer they have the personality of an Ikea dining set.

Look at the biggest personalities in the YouTube realm: BlackPanthaa, EmptyBox, SlapTrain, xMattyG, tiametmarduk, Yorkie065… all of these people alone have exponentially more viewers than the iRacing World Grand Prix Series. Round them all up and put them into a Championship with a few top-caliber drivers such as Bono Huis and Greger Huttu. As a viewer, I now want to watch SlapTrain get the shit kicked out of him and piss myself at the various fanbases for each sim racing YouTuber fighting in the chat after a wreck, which means the story of Greger Huttu winning his 19th championship or whatever is supported by equally compelling sub-plots. Right now, there is no drama, because nobody cares if Ray Alfalla wins 1, 5, 10, or 20 races in iRacing because he’s literally some dude from Cuba who doesn’t even have a driver’s license. However, there are 1.4 million people subscribed to SlapTrain, and 51,000 people subscribed to EmptyBox. A whole bunch of those people are going to show up to see them rub fenders.

Imagine if every single Formula One driver on the 2017 grid was Kimi Raikkonen. Twenty-two Kimi’s all giving one sentence interviews in simple English does not make for good television, and when you’re trying to grow sim racing as an eSport, it does not indicate to potential sponsors or those on the fence that they should tune in next week as well. That’s what outsiders see sim racing as right now. That needs to change.

So the idea would be to go out and get all of the prominent YouTube personalities, and mix them in with a flock of very talented sim racers, to sort of balance out the grid with a pack of drivers who can run at the front and set an example of “this is what top level sim racing looks like.” The personalities give people a reason to cheer for their favorite YouTuber, and at the end of the day the series still has credibility thanks to the cluster of guys running at the front.

Now the next topic to address is the officiating, and this is one of the most important parts of the whole series – it has to be FUN for all involved. Look, thanks to my connections to certain people within the world of iRacing, as well as some of the individuals who have sent me screenshots of the internal iRacing World Championship forums over the past few months, it’s time to let you all in on something that isn’t much of a secret to the top ranked drivers on the service – Shannon Whitmore is a power-tripping asshole. The eSport series officially sanctioned by NASCAR and sponsored by a major automotive brand is basically one guy in a private section of the iRacing forums ruling the championship with an iron fist, and it would be absolute chaos if I could run wild with the print screen key and post it all on PRC. Some of the participants in the iRacing series are under twenty years old, really just kids who happen to kick ass at a NASCAR video game, and yet the head steward power-trips like a middle school teacher unsatisfied with the fact he’s on his third career choice. It’s absolutely, one hundred percent not warranted.

Thankfully, older iRacing members can act as role models or support systems for the younger sim racers, but holy mother of God, the stuff I’ve seen is insane. You CANNOT treat your sim racers like this as a steward. Officials have to remember that this is a GAME and eSports competitiors are just here to have fun and compete for a bunch of money, because they happen to be absurdly good at driving fake cars. If the competitors aren’t having fun, the on-track product will suffer.

So what cars, and what tracks? Formula One, NASCAR, and IndyCar are suffering from dwindling crowds in recent years because people have lost the passion they once had for it, so why are organizers believing that Virtual NASCAR or Virtual Formula One will catch on to some extent? Nah man, change it up. I’m not saying GT3 cars at Bristol Motor Speedway is a good idea, but the rumors about NASCAR going to Circuit of the Americas, or IndyCar going to the Daytona Infield Road Course, now’s the time to try it – this gives viewers a reason to tune in as it’s something unique that the real world of auto racing isn’t giving them. And if the event goes well, congratulations, you can now show IndyCar that an event at the Daytona Infield track went well, you had all these viewers, and the real thing just might be every bit as compelling.

There’s also the option of developers creating a special eSports-centric race car to level the playing field and prevent any one driver or team from dominating and turning the race into a snoozer; look at Gran Turismo 6’s Red Bull X1, for example (but maybe not as extreme). Send a car like that to the Nurburgring Nordschleife in the rain, or if a game allows for it, Spa in the snow with special snow tires. Why shouldn’t the iRacing World Championship Grand Prix Series head to the Nurburgring? Nobody can get hurt, and it’s still within the realm of possibilities; let’s do it.

Lastly, let’s talk about the reward, and the inevitable follow-up. Sorry mates, I don’t care if some pasty white dude from Europe wins 250k USD. Sure, the Visa Vegas eRace put up a huge prize, but what is the winner going to do with the money, hookers and blow? We don’t know, only a few of us ever found out thanks to keeping up with obscure sim racing news websites, and that’s lame. Even with iRacing, they put up $10,000 for a championship win, but it doesn’t go anywhere. Three time NASCAR Peak Anti-Freeze champion Ray Alfalla was interviewed by Shaun Cole of The SimPit a few months ago, and it eventually came out that the multiple iRacing championships he’d attained hadn’t led to much of anything.

This isn’t exciting for the viewers. If nothing is on the line aside from a novelty cheque that’ll go towards copious amounts of takeout and an escort or two, nobody cares about a sim racer having his life changed by a five figure prize pool.

So let’s throw ’em in a race car. Organizers of an upcoming eSports series need to track down an amateur team willing to give a complete rookie a shot, and throughout the season have one of the team members come into the commentary booth as a third booth personality to evaluate the drivers from a racing ettiquette standpoint – and this means everything from throttle application, line choice, respect for other drivers, strategy… the whole nine yards. Whoever wins the championship receives a test day with said amateur team (so we’re talking Formula 4 or Clio Cup here), and that too is broadcast live as the final episode of the online broadcast – you spend all these races rooting for a guy, and the end payoff is seeing the guy you cheered for strap his ass into a modest race car and try his hands at the real deal. If he passes the test, he’s got a ride, and if he fails the test because he’s too fat to fit in the seat OR the skills just didn’t transfer over in the manner he intended, he walks home with $20,000 in prize money.

Provided the resources are directed into the proper areas which are lacking, sim racing can take off as an eSport, but right now organizers seem to be throwing multiple piles of shit at a wall and hoping it sticks. Unfortunately, it’s not – 22 virtual Kimi Raikkonen’s are parading around a circuit, and giving viewers zero reasons to tune into each broadcast. The ideas I’ve outlined above are ways to try and turn it into something more, but they’re just that – ideas. Maybe somebody will be crazy enough to try them.

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105 thoughts on “Doing It Right: How Sim Racing Can Improve as an eSport

      1. I actually think he’d do alright, and as annoying (and baseless) as his constant iRacing harangues can be, I think he’d be an excellent addition.

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    1. First time he was banned from iRacing was because he beat Alfalla et al in some random Stock Car race and they mass-reported him because they were mad a random Leaf beat them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thans Sev, this explains why Ray Alfalla (“some dude from Cuba”) is mentioned three (!) times in this article. Sour grapes and all, lol! James really needs therapy.

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      2. I don’t buy it. Alfalla has lost around 500 races. Did all those winners get banned too?

        It is clear from reading this blog that James is a narcissist. A more likely story is he created the myth of being too fast for iRacing to fulfill his own needs.

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        1. You do realise we have screenshots of that specific race up on this website, where people were calling to mass report James, yes?

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              1. ??? It’s not about “us” or me. The Ex-iRacer in question is you. And you are really “special”, but not in the good kind of way,

                Here’s a suggestion: Show us your fake doctored screenshots so we can end this pathetic spectale and have a good laugh at you. Put up or shut up.

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                  1. Uh, someone got unfairly protested @ iRacing. I’m shocked! That must have hurt. Poor little thing, I really, really feel for you. Mucho sad. *** sobbing and crying ***

                    LMAO, grow some balls.

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                  2. > So you’re admitting that bullshit protests are a normal thing?
                    >
                    > Wow, what a fine service you have there.

                    Don’t be so naive. What else did you expect? As a wise man once wrote on your site:

                    “iRacing: Oval peasants get what oval peasants deserve.”

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                  3. You do realize that protests aren’t submitted through facebook comments right?

                    This is your evidence? LOL

                    Im still waiting for you to actually share some legit evidence of anything surrounding your iRacing conspiracies.

                    “Oh look, someone wrote the word protest in a facebook comment, that must be proof that I was mass protested”

                    you see how absurd that is?

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                    1. Not absurd. At the time iRacing sent me that exact in-game screenshot as proof that a suspension was somehow warranted for words that grown men couldnt handle reading. Did some digging and oh look, the same screenshot was on Ray’s facebook page with a guy calling to protest and a couple likes.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  4. Busted! Finally we’re getting to the truth after all your lying: Nothing “bullshit” about the protests. It was not your race win which got you banned. You breached iRacing’s terms of use by using an offensive livery (fact!) and got a totally justified ban for your wilful misconduct. A responsible adult would suck it up and take the ban like a man, not cry about a conspiracy.

                    Stop playing the victim card. It doesn’t help your case, you special snowflake.

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                    1. *sigh*

                      IRacing cannot ban you for a dirty paint scheme considering you need to download a third party app not affiliated with iRacing to see it in the first place.

                      Not to mention grown men crying over a dirty word they saw on the internet at midnight is pretty hilarious.

                      Liked by 1 person

        1. Sev is currently enjoying early access to pseudo racing sim Project CARS 2. He received this free of charge because of his association with Austin.

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    2. “So lets throw em in a race car”. At least he is getting closer to a legitimate answer. The rest of the article was just filler.

      Get Dave Kaemmer and his billionaire backer from Boston to market the idea of an unknown winner in iracing getting a shot to race in the daytona 500, coca cola 600, brickyard 400.

      How about they approach the indy 500 owners to let someone from iracing start 33rd on the field.

      Of course it would be a long shot to ask but why not? The only way to interest sports people to play a sports pc game at night is to offer an unbelievable participation prize.

      Also quit comparing iracing participation to dungeon and dragon shooter games. Its not a fair comparison. Its a difference set of people. One group is athletes who participate and the other are dungeon and dragon, world of warcraft, harry potter, lord of the ring ex high school geeks who never played sports, jogged, or lifted weights anyway. Athletic people are out doing stuff not sitting at home in front of a computer in their free time.

      Iracing has to be compared to Pc football games, pc basketball games, pc golf games, pc soccer games ect. In that sense iracing is doing well.

      Lastly i think the subscription service in iracing is great. The ones that don’t like it are not mad about the money it costs to play. No. Its because the nature of it means you can’t go in and drive backward and cause chaos and such without being banned. Alot of geeks don’t like the people that take iracing seriously to have a good time.

      cheers

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      1. So if Fifa is a more apples to apples comparison does this mean Liverpool or some top tier team should open up a spot for someone good at the game? A spot in the S.A.S for a good battlefield player perhaps? This notion that skills acquired in a game are somehow relevant in real life is unique to racing games and ridiculous

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        1. Let me reply. Yes. Fifa is a more apples to apples comparison. But you went nutty on me when you changed the subject.

          You said “this notion that skills acquired in a game are somehow relevant in real life is unique to racing games is ridiculous”. I never said that or even hinted at that. You changed the subject on purpose. Why?

          The only goal is to get more people to sign up for iracing in the hundreds of thousands of people. Athletic people participate in football, soccer, weight training, running in real life. They are athletes not geeks. You have to offer them a HUGE prize of interest in order to have a chance to make them change their habits and play pc games on a computer. If the winner of such a prize went on to be a great driver in real life or a bust in real life is irrelevant to what we are trying to achieve. You weren’t on the debate team were you?

          Right now the only way to drive race cars is if your parents are worth 100 million or more. You haven’t done the research and have been snockered. All the nascar drivers dads are worth millions and bought their sons ride but your too naive to see it.

          The average joe that is a race fan and has went in person to see it gets frustrated when he finally figures out why he has to watch why someone else gets to drive. Offer him a chance to drive and he just might a wheel and pedals and join up. Remember i said “might”.

          BUT TAKE CARE NOW…… it can’t be a little street stock race or a driving school. It won’t budge the average sports fan one bit.

          Someone is going to have to come up with 1 million for a one race shot or 10 million for a whole season shot. Now before you jump ape shit on me and say “no one will ever do that!” i might just agree with you. Its a long shot. But the fact its a long shot doesn’t change the situation. To make athlete people who are in the minority [to dungeon and dragon messed up in the head geeks that play warcraft, league of legends, and go see movies like lord of the rings] you have to offer a HUGE incentive.

          That incentive is to drive the car in the real world. Otherwise they will go lift weights, play softball, run, walk, hike, ect.

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          1. Oh dear, your right of course, iracing can be the only avenue to successful esports and “athletes” are the only individuals to make it happen. Sheeit I spent cash on a wheel and pedals, should’ve got some weights, cheere for clearing that one up for me

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        2. But the skills gained behind a racing wheel should translate more directly to actually driving a car? You’re not gonna learn to kick a soccer ball by playing a FIFA game with an XBOX controller.

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  1. Some very good points maybe send them to your iracing connections? I believe iracing has the best shot of actually pulling this thing off…

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  2. Good article James, I agree with you that the commentators currently suck ass and on most occasions, it’s just some asshole screaming the whole time. I would like to see a WWF style broadcast reminiscent of the good old JR and Jerry the King Lawler. Two people that are both knowledgeable but that will commentate the action from different personality perspectives. But the underlying problem of the genre was not addressed in this article and that is there is no acceptable software to support a proper competition broadcast. Sim racing needs a massively updated game that is capable of captivating people, if the game looks and sounds like shit people will not want to watch and the damage model needs to be more visually accurate to be more representative of the damage taken on track. In less words, it’s the software that is killing sim racing as an e-sport.

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    1. My problem with the sim broadcasts are the propensity for at least one of the announcers to be a John Hindaugh of Radio Le Mans disciple, ergo every little mudane occurrence becomes a recreation of the Hindenburg.

      “OH MY GOTT, DID YOU SEE THAT CAR DO THAT NORMAL THING? OUTSTANDING!!!”

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  3. Slaptrain could barely make it around a lap in his F1 2016 videos. If you put him on track in iRacing against Huttu I conservatively estimate he would be 15-20 seconds a lap off the pace. That’s if he can consistently make it around the track for an entire lap without crashing, which is unlikely.

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      1. oh look, a classic snarky one liner response from austin because he doesnt know how to actually back up anything he writes. never fails to disappoint

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        1. You reel in the massive slaptrain audience.

          He gets exposed in front of his fans for being a shitty driver and a shill.

          The fans who showed up to see slaptrain get to watch actually good drivers compete for the top spots and hopefully are captivated by their skills rather than memes and OOOOOOOOH CHIT

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            1. What I mean is, do you honestly believe they would get impressed by drivers that are capable of going fast around a track?

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          1. I’ld take a longer view on establishing a player base large enough to sustain racing as an esport. I think rather than captivating an already established audience, we perhaps should look to driver rating systems that are going to be adopted. Maybe and it’s a big maybe but this introduction to racing etiquette will lead to a more informed player

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  4. Excellent, actionable ideas, although I wonder if the “personalities” are competitive enough to keep it interesting.

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    1. Someone like EmptyBox would at least be consistent, clean and respectable albeit slow. He wouldn’t be particularly competitive but he wouldn’t be embarrassingly useless. The rest would.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the entire concept of watching a virtual version of something you can watch in reality is completely insane. Unless you’re a simracer, why on earth would you care. The only possible way I can see high-level simracing gaining viewership is to increase the overall number of participants.

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      1. Fyi, there are millions of people out playing paintball every week. That world is much much bigger than your average pew pew rental place…

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      2. Because everyone has a PC so the only entry cost to play CS is buying a 10€ key from a keysite, whereas if you want to start playing paintball you need to buy a marker (~400-500€ for a decent one), gear (mask, shirt, pants, boots, quickload tubes) and ammo (2000 rounds, i.e. MAYBE a day’s worth of ammo, is like 50-100€ depending on quality). Also different laws in different countries make it easier/harder to play it, plus there might not even be a playing field next to where you live so that’s that.

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    1. Yep, and even the reality races don´t have many spectators. Watching a few hours hilarious Goodwood racing today and 3k viewers was maybe the average, even there´s no TV-channel i know of which is covering this. A lots of action tomorrow as well and looking forward for this ridiculous old (between 1903 and 1926) racing car races and some more up to the Ford Capri and Group A BMWs.

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  6. You can’t, and won’t, attract a large audience to watch games that practically no one plays to begin with. There’s the answer as to why there is little interest.

    I don’t know what is with your obsession with sim racing as an esport lately. Maybe nothing else to write about? The whole esport thing is very strange to me but it’s especially strange when you could go watch racing in real life instead of some pale imitation on a computer. You couldn’t say the sane thing about League of Legends, so on some level that at least makes a bit more sense.

    I think it’s dumb to try and push sim racing as an esport because it would validate those who already take these games way too seriously and likely would only serve to make the community more toxic and combative.

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  7. I sadly have to agree with the anonymous poster. If you can’t get people to engage in simracing, even without a paywall, then how can it grow. I think the problem with sim racing is the lack of actual action as compared to its real world counterpart. Many times, there’s aot of linear racing (in both sim and irl) but there’s always that sense in the real world of pushing the body beyond normal limits that excites people, that I just don’t get in sim racing. No matter how increbile the commentators are, (btw who actually cares about Shannon), or how diverse the personalities are, there’s a innate sense of fun that propels games like Rainbow Six, LoL, and others that sim racing just cannot capture.

    My thinking is that its the reality to virtual aspect that’s holding sim racing back. Because it is replicating something that is inherently real and inaccessible to most people. It’s not that sim racing shouldn’t try to become better, but that it natively lacks certain features that other games do.

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  8. Better question.
    Why should sim racing become an esport? Nothing is going to top MOBAs or RTSes any time soon, and a point that was missed in the article is the barrier to entry.

    For….say….LoL all you need is a copy of the game, a basic keyboard and mouse and the will to learn, same for Starcraft 2 or HOTs, or Hearthstone.

    Whereas with sim racing you need highly specialized equipment that not everyone can rush out and get a hold of, and set up.

    Lastly, the payoff in sim racing isn’t there (yet), or, why, why should people watch a virtual race when they can flip on a TV and watch an actual race.

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    1. “why should people watch a virtual race when they can flip on a TV and watch an actual race.”

      sorry, but this is a poor argument and is not the reason sim racing playing and esports have low numbers compared to the popular games.

      people dont just flip on a tv and watch an actual race. people dont just go the track and watch real racing. Most racing on tv is not appealing besides the very obvious popular series and even those are behind extra paid tv channels, beyond what you get as standard tv subscription. Then in real life to watch a race is often far away, expensive access, and is not the same as watching football in a stadium.

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      1. Actually people do just flip on the tv and watch a race or go to a track if they can. A lot of people actually, more, in fact, than play sim racing games. I have no idea what you were trying to say with this post…

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        1. Yeah but sim racing esports isn’t there to replace the real world motorsport. People can watch both or just one. Only because more people watch real motorsports be it on tv or live, that isn’t an excuse for why racing games esports is a small scene in terms of participation and viewership. It just means the offer for esports in (sim) racing games is poor, in small quantity, and can’t attract neither enough participants nor people watching.

          The most popular motorsport is Formula 1, is the only auto racing discipline that can compete with golf, baseball, basketball. But just because F1 is popular doesn’t mean sim racing has already hit its peak potential of popularity.

          “Actually people do just flip on the tv and watch a race or go to a track if they can.”

          Not really, motorsports are often behind paywalls for tv subscription, the tracks in several cases are outside the city or in other country, tickets are expensive. Unless we are talking about regional low-tier motorsports where only hundreds or thousands of people watch.

          When was the last time you saw a real race? (on tv or real life) and which was it.

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          1. I think the reason you aren’t going to attract people to sim racing as an esport who aren’t already interested is that it’s just a virtual representation of what you can already see in real life, minus the danger, the consequences, and the bravery that are a large part of the appeal. Whereas other video game esports don’t really have a real life analog in that way.

            I was fortunate enough last year to attend the Indycar race at Watkins Glen and F1 in Montreal. I understand attending races for many people is too expensive and not convenient, and I agree racing on the whole does a poor job with availability of coverage but you can’t deny there are more who watching real racing than are into sims.

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            1. The thing about watching esports of the game you play is exactly that, you like the game and like watching other people compete in tournaments, because those players tend to be much better. Esports is also entertainment, just like real sports, no more than pure entertainment of watching people compete.

              Why do you watch motorsports? Because is entertainment for you and you’re not watching it to learn engineering or science. So the same with sim racing or any other esport game, for entertainment.

              What are the most popular sports? Those that are games. Football, tennis, baseball, golf, volleyball, basketball, cricket, etc.

              The reason sim racing games or just racing games aren’t attracting an esports scene in terms of semi-pros and pros + many viewers, is not because people would rather watch real racing, but because these games aren’t developed enough for being a great spectating event nor there are companies creating these great spectating events (tournaments) that happen with all the competitors being there live on sim rigs. What we have so far is basically just watching an online race. Well, all the other esports games are very popular because 1) the games are great and high skilled and have a multiplayer that attract a very large amount of players 2) because of the broadcasting format that happens in room/arena/stadium. Esports tournaments are live in real life, you don’t just have people playing each in their home. They are all together playing face to face and we are watching all this, not just the gameplay but also the persons behind the players and the live audience. These tournaments usually take more than 1 day.

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    2. Like he alludes to in the article, people will watch if the people are interesting – it’s a safe guess that a lot of slaptrain or blackpanthaa’s viewers don’t own a simracing setup or maybe even a PC.

      I think to get those people into it you’d need some sort of handicap though, some reason their performance still matters when they’re nowhere near the race leaders. Just using it as an excuse to give Alfalla or Huttu some more money won’t really make anyone interested in participating.

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  9. Sim Racing is never going to be a big esport.The majority of real racing happens in front of a tiny crowd.Racing and Sim Racing is all about the drivers enjoyment.The crowd is secondary.

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  10. James I think you need to make up your mind. A couple of articles ago you where complaining that the shouldn’t use the strange car track combos. Like you get on a night on forza with your mates I believe you put it. Although forza might be the answer to getting the esport going for racing games. If forza 7 can up there game and implement a league system like I racing. Where you get rewarded for good and clean racing. The still need to keep the normal lobbies for the people who enjoy that kind off stuff (the kids that keep the sales up) . The certainly have a big enough user base. And if the best of there class that month or year how ever you want to implement it. Get invited to do a proper race for cash witch is broadcasted. You might get the rest interested to watch. The certainly have improved the spectate mode a lot on forza 6 and really looks ready for such a broadcast. But there going to have to put some more realism in there next title for that to work. Especially track limits.

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  11. The Cloud Sport guys who did the Formula E race did another competition with the top prize being a ride in a Clio in some endurance race. They didn’t bother advertising it, though…

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  12. I’d personally pay good money to watch Blackpanthaa compete in this. With his love of external chase cameras and a lock-to-lock driving style that can only be likened to Uncle Jesse from The Dukes Of Hazzard, it sure wokdmake entertaining viewing. Stick “Dominos Pizza credit card debt guy” in there as well and I’ll buy a weekend pass.

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  13. Are you serious with the Youtubers thing? The ones you mention are all quite slow, to the point where they would add nothing to the race. I’d take 22 Raikkonens instead.

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  14. Nobody watches that shit because its boring, I can’t even read the article because the idea sends me to sleep & i’m sure you seem to mention iracing & esports in every article you write is there really nothing else going on? Most people into this shit are adults & probably have better things to do than watch a bunch of awkward dorks drive round in circles.

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  15. As some have said above I believe that the software is letting things down , at the moment there is no piece of software that is capable or designed in such a way that it has capable damage to keep people’s interest , it’s a huge part of real life motor sport that just isn’t in our games.

    As for car companies not letting developers do damage on cars the lines seem to be blurred . Dirt rally has to some extent all be it you have to really drill the car into some trees several times before the thing is totalled , shift 2 had damage all be it wonky . Developers still say the maker won’t let us do damage , it all seems very convenient to say when your engine wasn’t built for it.

    As for personalities I think it’s not a bad idea as someone needs to inject something into it as there is not one stand out person that comes to mind .

    Here’s a short list 😇 Of competitors

    James
    Ian bell
    Slap train
    Asset to corsa boss ( I don’t know his name ) tooleo
    Coldies developer
    And so on I’m sure you guys could come up with a fun list of people 😈

    Have a good day gents

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  16. Am I the only one who hates any kind of commentary when watching a racing event?

    Sometimes the driver/team factoids are nice, but trying to listen to even professionals describe what I’m perfectly capable of observing with my own eyes and ears is irritating as fuck. I’d be much more interested watching e-sport racing events if I didn’t have to suffer all of the fake presentation and awful personalities.

    Give me some sort of special spectator mode game client, or a web plugin to stream multiple camera feeds. That way I could choose any camera shot, any in-car point of view. Hell, even random camera locations in the stands would be hot.

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  17. What your talking about here is very close to what Polyphony are trying to do with the next GT game and hey maybe with their numbers and deep pockets they might make it work although alot rides on the GT fan base taking to a different type of game than what their used to.
    CS and LOL are behemoths within their genres, we have nothing remotely similar on the racing side. Lots of different titles within which we all have our favourites. There are better games out there than CS, in terms of realism etc but few are as accessible and as well optimised, perhaps this is what we need from an esports racer.
    I pump a fair few hours into racing games but I’ll always watch a real race over a virtual one, or better yet go in person and smell the high octane in the air. In a gaming genre where it’s near damn impossible to find an unbiased yet educated opinion on any racing title, especially on YouTube I think esports is a long, long way down the road yet

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  18. Simracing is fun to do but boring to watch. People interested in racing would rather watch real cars race and people who are not interested in racing will be even less interested in pretend racing.

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    1. This isn’t about watching how cars perform, is about watching someone else play the game you like. Esports streams are free to watch and easy to access. Real life racing isn’t, unless you’re talking about some local track where you see amateur drivers.

      The real reason sim racing streams aren’t watched much is not because people would rather watch real cars, but is because these games are quite under developed in the sense of esports presentation for the viewer and no one is doing live (LAN) races. All the streams we have are just watching the gameplay of other players racing online. All the other esports games have a studio or arena where all the players are there playing the tournament, just like that formula E sim race event in las vegas.
      The other reason is that sim racing games have a small playing base, when you look at the other popular esports, the player base is much much bigger (not talking about how many people bought the game, but about how many play them daily and weekly). Part of that reason is that online multiplayer in sim racing games just rely on community servers, while if you take rocket league, csgo, and dota2, what they do is much different for players to connect and play online.

      So with very under developed sim racing games in terms of having many people play daily and in terms of having a great racing presentation/spectating/broadcasting format, people will rather watch other esports games or real sports.
      I play both csgo and sim racing games, but I’d rather watch csgo tournaments on twitch or youtube (the whole week or days the tournament runs for) than sim racing streams attempting to do the same during two hours.

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      1. “Simracing is fun to do but boring to watch.”
        “The real reason sim racing streams aren’t watched much is () no one is doing live (LAN) races.”

        Plus the sad fact is that the fastest sim drivers are allways the most boring to watch. Because to be fast(est) they use hours and hours to be able to drive as perfect and therefore boring as robots.
        Just check iRacings Huttu 🙂

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        1. Most of us dont actually practice for “hours and hours”. 2-3hrs is plenty quite frankly… Same for Huttu, which he’s confirmed in the past. Getting on pace takes like 20min, maybe a bit more if you have to build a set from the ground up.

          At the end of the day, we all know the tracks and we all know the cars. So no reason to practice like crazy, all we have to do is maybe do a stint and figure out strategies 🙂

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    1. James does not believe this fact even if the proof is so obvious. The reason is not dull commentators or frozen drivers.The basic act is so boring, you can’t help it. Virtual cars. Virtual.

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  19. The iracing fanboy stuff going on in this comment section is more entertaining than any iracing vid I’ve watched, for all the wrong reasons of course

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    1. So much hurt from James’ and the iRacers’ sides. It’s hysterically funny and deeply disturbing at the same time.

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  20. I can see a pattern here, that the most advertised leagues are with the most technical problems and awkward moments. Leagues created by friends are much more exciting and successful. For example, look James at ACLeague, it’s one of the biggest leagues here in Poland. These guys are really trying hard, but still knowing that assetto corsa has its flaws and they don’t hide it. They managed to grow quite quickly, from grids counting 10 people 2 years ago, to almost 100 now so they run two splits at the same time.

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