Excessive Project CARS 2 Pre-Order Bonuses Draw Justified Criticism

I’m starting to miss the glory days of the Xbox Live Marketplace.

A controversial topic around these parts for blatantly obvious reasons, Slightly Mad Studios and Bandai-Namco have taken the wraps off an extensive array of pre-order goodies for their upcoming racing simulator Project CARS 2, and it’s an incredibly tough pill to swallow for even the most financially blessed members of our community. Venturing far beyond a simple car pack or two – turning a piece of software into some kind of pseudo collector’s itemgamers will have the option of forking over up to $460 USD for a copy of Project CARS 2 and various Easter baskets of gifts, including die-cast cars, hats, stickers, magazines for the Ultra Edition, which has been limited to 1000 copies.

No, you’re absolutely not forced to buy the most expensive bundle for access to every last bit of in-game content Slightly Mad Studios will produce for Project CARS 2 – so the completionists need not worry – but it’s the principle behind it that understandably has a lot of people up in arms. Excessive does not even begin to describe what Bandai-Namco have concocted, especially given the status of the Project CARS franchise; I feel this kind of gimmick is inappropriate, and represents the kind of pie-in-the-sky thinking infecting other portions of the sim racing landscape. This isn’t what people wanted to see, especially with no formal release date announced as of yet.

Sure, you can make the argument that this practice of outlandish pre-order bonuses is nothing new and there’s no reason to be frustrated as a gamer over this announcement; the guys at Forza Motorsport go out and do something similar for each release, and I can remember quite vividly Forza Motorsport 5 offered a similar Collector’s Edition with all sorts of oddities that weren’t really essential to the software at hand, whereas Codemasters had the cojones to list a one-off, $190,000 custom BAC Mono for sale alongside Grid 2, and Gran Turismo had a package nearly identical to what’s been revealed for Project CARS 2.

However, in at least two of the three examples I’ve provided above, the excessive material goods are reasonable given the external circumstances. Both Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport had well-established fanbases that justified some sort of fancy Easter basket; Forza is the definitive racing game on Microsoft’s home gaming console, while people who grew up playing Gran Turismo as teenagers in the 90’s now have children, wives, a mortgage, or in some cases professional racing careers. There’s sentimental value in the goodies that come with said special editions of either car collecting game.

Project CARS, on the other hand, is just one simulator that came out a few years ago, and aside from generally positive reviews written by mainstream publications who admitted in their writings they didn’t quite understand the game’s nuances, received a very mixed reception from the community it was primarily built for. So for a developer or a publisher to go out and push various special editions as if their first release was a smash hit and people are chomping at the bit to play the next game, when in reality the hardcore users their game was built for are openly shit talking the title on major sim racing websites, it makes it look like there’s a major disconnect between how the publisher thinks their game has been received, versus how their game is actually received. And that kind of disconnect has the potential to create even larger problems with the product itself – just look at Ubi-Soft’s Watch Dogs.

The silver lining is that to attain all of the in-game content Slightly Mad Studios will produce for Project CARS 2, you won’t have to shell out for any of these inappropriate special edition packages; in fact the prices of purchasing all post-release content is much cheaper than what you’d expect from Assetto Corsa or the Forza franchise – one positive in a literal sea of negatives.

However, as someone who was in high school during the Call of Duty craze, and whom had to carefully manage their Microsoft Points balance because not all of us had jobs at sixteen, I’m still disgusted by modern downloadable content practices – teenage me would be overwhelmed by the current climate. Though I’m open to hearing how post-release content guarantees job security for a studio, as they can continue to work and make money after a game lands on store shelves, from a customer standpoint, it’s bloody intrusive, and history has clearly displayed it isn’t necessary to the success of a game. The original Forza Motorsport, NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, and GTR 2 didn’t require monthly bite-sized expansion packs to keep the developers afloat and occupied; in fact Need for Speed once gave away cars that didn’t make it into the full game for free.

When you can vividly remember these times, season passes are frustrating; it feels like developers are feeding us propaganda every time they try to explain the reasoning behind them. You can’t tell me Oceania was always at war with Eastasia, when I was old enough to comprehend eight years ago that Eastasia were are allies, in the same manner that you can’t tell me boatloads of DLC is necessary to stay afloat in the market when the market in 1999 was a fraction of what it is today, and teams seemed to do alright back then.

In some instances, you’re paying almost as much as you did for the game itself, just for an extra platter of content that really should have been in the software since the start, as seen in the notorious Driveclub (which is actually a very good game once you buy the other fucking half in little tiny pieces).

Maybe I’m old school and have fond memories of titles such as Project Gotham Racing, in which Bizarre Creations jammed so much into the vanilla experience that most hadn’t even seen everything the game had to offer by the time the lone piece of DLC was released for PGR 4, but teenage me would be overwhelmed by current DLC practices, and many gamers are still as financially stable as teenage me – so I sympathize with them. I want a return to how things used to be; load the software up with as much shit as possible, then ship the product. Make my $60 go somewhere, not merely be a ticket to spend an additional $40.

Yet I’ll also jump sides and play devil’s advocate, because there’s a certain irony in all of this.

Unlike most mass-market racers, Project CARS 2 is a hardcore simulator. These games aren’t really built for children who have been allowed to run wild with mommy’s credit card; we’re sort of in that weird “adult hobby” area, though with the enjoyment of racing simulators being primarily reliant on skill means the occasional whiz kids can show up and validate their spot in the community (or just be annoying little shit cunts).

Take a journey through YouTube, and the people playing the original Project CARS, as well as a diverse roster of competing simulators such as iRacing, DiRT Rally, or Assetto Corsa, and it’s easy to discover triple monitor setups, dedicated racing rigs, expensive aftermarket pedals, $800 graphics cards, and $1,600 USD steering wheels as being par for the course. This is before the $12 per car cost of iRacing, Assetto Corsa’s constant stream of DLC, or the funny money conversion required to purchase items in RaceRoom Racing Experience’s in-game shop.

So for these people to turn around and suddenly complain that a season pass is too much is kind of hilarious.

But is the criticism surrounding these multiple pre-order packages justified? I believe it is. I think we all knew a season pass was coming, it’s just the way gaming happens to be in 2017, and no matter how much I – or we – cry about it, we’ll be thrown endless metrics and propaganda-like reasoning as to how it’s a necessary evil. If you’re a sim racer and really invested into the hobby, you’re already spending thousands on gear and content for other games, so at some point you have to realize there’s a certain irony in having a meltdown over just another game announcing some kind of post-release DLC plan.

However, I will say the exponentially pricier packages are where I too, like many, draw the line, and I think a lot of the outrage at places like RaceDepartment is 100% justified in this regard. I don’t really care that they’re optional; it’s the principle behind them. Project CARS is a brand new franchise where collector’s goodies don’t really have the kind of weight or sentimental value that a similar Gran Turismo or Forza package would – which is why people buy them in the first place. Bandai-Namco pushing these elaborate gift bags gives off the impression that there’s a disconnect between how they think the title was received, versus how it was actually received, and that can be a bit frightening if that mentality is allowed to blossom in the future.


76 thoughts on “Excessive Project CARS 2 Pre-Order Bonuses Draw Justified Criticism

  1. That GT5 box had a 1:43 nissan gtr which seems pretty reasonable, but a large ass 1:12 model? Those are very expensive, like what the heck.


  2. I know we all hate DLC, but the reason for its existence is fairly simple: Game prices have remained constant for the past 30 years.

    $60 in 1993 = $72 in 2000= $102 in 2017.

    And games are vastly more expensive to develop and market today. This is balanced by the fact that (potential) sales are much higher *if* the game gets noticed.

    Bottom line, however, is this: A $59.99 game in 2017 is a relic of a bygone age.

    The only way they can hold the line on this price point is by essentially selling you half the game up front, and the rest on a 1 year payment plan called DLC.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup, exactly.

      I’ll never understand a community that will happily spend literally $1000s on hardware (PC, periphials, mods, triple monitors, VR, etc, etc), but when asked for a few bucks for quality DLC, a good % will throw themselves on the floor in a tantrum.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have no problem with any of this.The only ones who complain are the young spoiled brats who think they are entitled to everything.Generally you get what you pay for.So Forza comes with a lot of dlc and you have to pay a for it.At the other end Dirt Rally had no dlc and not that much content in comparison.Both were good value IMO.
    I am looking forward to PC2.The first attempt was ok but was far from complete.


  4. 90$ for the Limited Edition that includes all DLC is fair price.But that 600$ ultra pack is excessive.You can pick up a PS4, a G29 and still have spare for booze with that money.I know that scale models are ridicilously expensive (probably that 1:12 Mclaren covers more than half of the price), but I don’t think you can justify that price for a videogame.Especially since industry behemoths like Battlefield or CoD don’t cost more than 300$ on special editions.


    1. “90$ for the Limited Edition that includes all DLC is fair price.But that 600$ ultra pack is excessive.You can pick up a PS4, a G29 and still have spare for booze with that money.I know that scale models are ridicilously expensive (probably that 1:12 Mclaren covers more than half of the price), but I don’t think you can justify that price for a videogame.Especially since industry behemoths like Battlefield or CoD don’t cost more than 300$ on special editions.”

      If it sold out, its existence, and price, have been justified.

      Regarding the article, although I appreciate James’ willingness to critically examine PC2, I’m not sure what the fuss is all about.

      Although I’d prefer the Motorsport Pack were available a la carte, buying a season pass isn’t a particularly onerous burden. Others may disagree of course, and if the market insists, Namco-Bandai will likely revisit the matter.


  5. I heard the ultra edition is already sold out. So can you blame these companies. As long as us twats keep buying these things the will sell them. There in it like all companies now a day’s to make as much money as possibly


      1. There used to be a time that making quality products was important. Now a day’s all that counts is maximizing profit.


  6. I’ve pre-ordered the super mega mega exclusive edition. It’s ok because my mum only charges me £30 a month for food and lodgings. Cant wait for the die cast car to arrive. I’m going to put it next to my Minichamps hypercar collection, just as soon as I’ve cleared away the crusty tissues and takeaway menus.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. People with more money than sense. Lets hope none of these fools ever make it to a position of power.


    1. Sour grapes much?
      Butthurt that they already sold out, and now you’ll have to either pay even more on eBay or just go without?
      Calm down.


  8. I don’t understand why people get so upset apart from it giving you kudos in the toxic sim community to hate on sms. When I see shit like this I just think no thanks not my thing. I do not think because it’s not my thing that I should protest like a mardy manchild.
    I quite like extra content there is only so much that can be included on release it keeps the game fresh. The final car list in pcars could still do with some car groups being fluffed out especially the classic cars.
    Ac need to release more decent tracks rather than more cars. But not many of the ac users complain about dlc as the price is reasonable.


  9. Limited numbers and exclusive items are typical weapons of influence in sales today. No different from any car manufacturer and the endless special editions. As sim racing and real world racing make closer links we are going to see more of this. Look at the wheel customisation Fanatec offer already and at some serious prices.

    This ultra pack was aimed at the pcars super fans and they’ve lapped it up. I suspect there will be more outcry when they release another similar but ever so slightly different special pack next week. With this selling out so quickly it’s exactly what I’d do.

    As for season passes etc I’m fine with them if I know a game is going to deliver hours of play. The problem with pcars2 is we don’t yet know if the game is good or not. If the high quality reviews are out weeks before launch and praising the game I’ll buy the game and DLC. If the reviews are no reviews and no gameplay reports beforehand I will wait until after launch to make my decision. pcars haven’t convinced me they have created a stable playable game yet.


  10. You don’t need “funny money” anymore in raceroom, just saying. If you want benefit from an additional, up to 35% discount, then yes you’re still able to use funny money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish they’d repackage Raceroom with all the content it has right now and sell it for $59.99 (and give us a way to change tire pressures – that’d be nice too).

      Their inane micro-transaction scheme has managed to bury what is, IMHO, the best all-around racing sim out there.


        1. Kubica was my favorite driver for years. What happened to him is unfortunately emblematic of Polish history in general. He’s the Prince Poniatowski of racing drivers.

          The Poles are a great people who inhabit a fairly open plain between the two greatest land powers in history. That Poland exists at all is a testament to their seemingly inexhaustible valor.


          1. What a bullshit

            You see polish people driving crazy pretty much every 5 min – and they cheat and behave like douchebags in gaming

            Many polish people have no manners


          2. Well, sadly lots of people shit on Robert here nowadays, they expected him to do exceptionally well in WRC, with a fucking damaged hand and he crashed a lot instead. It’s nice to see him being loved by people from other countries, some of his performances still bring a tear to my eye (Monza 2006 & 2008, Monaco 2008 & 2010 – holy fuck was he on fire there, Brazil 2009, Australia 2009 – screw you Vettel for this one, 2010, Fuji 2008, the list goes on)


          3. Poles were actually one of the greatest land powers in Europe after the Union of Lublin.
            That Poland exists in its current borders is a testament to their conceits.

            As an illustration, did you know that Poland aspired to have colonies in… 1930s?
            They even bought some land in Brazil with the intend to secede.

            Nice people, though, once you get through it.


            1. Cool info, yeah I’m a history buff so I’m aware that for a comparatively brief period, the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth was something of an early-17th century superpower. I think one gigantic mistake they made was to disregard the advice of a future historian (whose name escapes me at this moment and I refuse to cheat with Google) who said something like “Beware taking advantage of the temporary discomfiture of Empires”.

              They made the mistake of trying to take advantage, early in their history, of internal (but temporary) chaos within Russia. They even had Polish troops occupying Moscow as of 1610 iirc.

              The Russians eventually got their shit together (as they always do) and subsequent Czars never forgot (or forgave) this insult. They proceeded to relentlessly return the favor by interfering in Pol-Lith internal politics until the eventual (inevitable?) dissolution of Europe’s first constitutional state.

              So, bottom line: Glorious history and the West will forever owe them for what they did on 9/12/1683. Without those Polish hussars on a September afternoon…


              1. Russia wasn’t an empire until early 18th century, actually.
                It’s the war with Sweden that decided who’ll be an empire out of the two, actually.
                So they were mostly right in trying to seize the day.

                Remember, remember the gates of Vienna, okay.jpg.


      1. They have the Premium pack on their website which costs ~100$ (can be bought for 65 with vrp) and includes everything released.


      2. Raceroom best sim? Its unrealistic as fuck … at least better than iRacing

        Youre dumb as fuck to believe that RaceRoom is good


  11. I couldn’t care less about whatever marketing scheme they dream up next. They’re just soaking up sales from the credulous pre-order crowd.

    But after PCARS1, it sure would be nice to see SMS focus on actual development and take it easy with all the gimmicks.

    Put another way: When you’ve got a rep for delivering smoke and mirrors, maybe it’s not a great idea to feed into that narrative? Look at the thread on RD for proof of that.

    Like Austin said, this franchise consists of a single buggy, 3/4 finished game that almost no one plays now. It’s a bit early to be putting out the “Collectors Edition” for the sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We get it you wanna just bash and hate on PCARS 1! Because youre a RACEROOM FANBOY

      I seriously hope you get cancer and die


  12. Well, considering that a “Nascar Package” in iRacing can cost you around $400. This one doesn’t sound so expensive! lol

    Not that I find either one a fair/intersting buy.


  13. One a side note, why the fuck the do the new editions of older cars have to look fatter and chunkier, McLaren F1 was a sleek looking awesome beast, MP4-12C looks fugly in comparison, as does the new one.

    Same with the new Honda NSX, Christ is it underwhelming.


  14. Unlike many I very much enjoyed PCars and still do, I very much like the ongoing weekly challenges even though they are simply hot lap events, despite that it seems like many events still pull thousands of entrants. Hey I still pop in the Shift games too but that’s me I guess.

    All the games seem to offer up additional content to keep the games fresh and to have $$$ flowing into company coffers to fund development, a positive I would think for all involved. I’d much prefer the DLC method of funding verses the micro-transaction shit that is so popular these days.

    My first thought when I saw the ULTIMATE EDITION CARS II was that it was geared toward the folks that funded the first project and then made money as investors, why not right? If I sell some apple stock to fund a new phone or tablet it just makes sense to me, so SMS offered up something for the hardcore fans, big whoop, people need to get a grip. In a world where right this second a little girl is undergoing female genital mutilation, there is so much worth investing time and energy to effect change, this ain’t it.


    1. Lol, in a world where smoking gets tons of cash for education, yet unprotected sex is somehow a topic about abortion, sure we’re all nuts. The only interesting thing about this announcement is that perhaps the inclusion of the Esperante will mean a full field of Gt1 cars of that era. Yet again, the rest is just noise


      1. What’s the popular phrasing these days, outrage porn? I read through some of the linked articles comments about the outrageous outrage CUS TOY CAR INCLUDED IN CRAP TOY GAME FOR MILLIONS OF OUTRAGEOUS MONIES, but really what else is there to do? Oh wait maybe I’ll go pull out my toy car and fire it up and piss off all the cops in town, my 76 455 Trans AM has been in my carport all winter and I feel the need for speed, not simulated.


        1. Eh, the social commentary aside, all I was saying dude is that a full GT1 field would be appealing. The cars from that era were pretty awesome. I’m just speculating though as p-cars has a few single car classes as is. Yet again, more tracks, more cars and that’s something we should look for from all the dev’s. 650 cars like the next Forza with 50+ tracks should be a standard. However all the cash is marketing e-sprts


            1. Fuck – they’re really cheap! I assumed they were mega-expensive.

              Well, I think I have a plan suddenly. This would be way better than a stupid i8.

              Isn’t it hard to get spares for that one-off Pontiac SD motor?

              Post up a pic of your own car, dude! Did you do any of the mods people do to open up the performance? I think the Pontiac guys were forced to run really low compression. Going by memory here, so I could be completely wrong…


  15. OK so I was just rereading something and Austin slipped and Ian Bell let slide that right here, right now we have it on the record that “Unlike most mass-market racers, Project CARS 2 is a hardcore simulator.” I find this somewhat titillating… can it be true???


  16. Fuck DLC and lazy ass developers. Period.
    I’ll have PCars 2 with all content at a reduced price within a handful of months after release. Just like PCars 1.
    Gran Turismo proves you don’t have to rip off your customer if you have a legit product and a solid long term plan.
    And a complete experience with no bugs and working save menus goes a long way.
    PCars sucks too bad to be trying this, but I guess a few in their camp have Stockholm syndrome. Whatever dumb asses.


  17. I don’t have a problem with these type of packs , the problem I do have is that all cars should be available all be it via DLC (which sucks on day one) .

    Hell I even thought of buying the battlefield pre order with the statue for a fleeting moment , then thought what the fuck are you thinking .

    At the end of the day I am not paying more than $99 Australian for a game even that is too much !

    On average I pay $79 ……… If I want a model car which I don’t I would just buy the one I want in the colour I want from a model / specialty store . As for car art (the book) I can look at that all day on the internet if I so choose .

    One of the worst examples I have at the moment is Assetto corsa , when I fire up the game I have more DLC cars that I cant use than I have cars that I can , its fuck’n ridiculous , as I refuse to buy DLC for that game .

    Liked by 1 person

  18. “doesn’t have the prestige”… This article sounds more like whining than a legitimate complaint. It’s immature. If I had the money I think it’d be nice to have a 1:12 nissan. In any case, who gives a shit. All that matters is if the game is good.


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