Pushing out post-release updates for software on current generation consoles can be a pain in the ass for even the biggest of development teams. With both Sony and Microsoft requiring each new package to go through a rigorous certification process prior to the update going live – as opposed to Steam’s rather relaxed set of rules that allows developers to mash the metaphorical update button – it’s not uncommon for smaller teams to run afoul of the inspection process, and be forced to announce that long-awaited updates to their game might not come on the scheduled launch date, let alone anywhere close to it.
This is the situation Kunos Simulazioni have currently found themselves in with the Xbox One version of Assetto Corsa. It has been revealed that the version 1.14 update for their indie racing simulator did not pass Microsoft’s certification process – a virtual tech inspection, if you will – and Kunos will have to make the required tweaks to the package and then re-submit all over again, beginning the process anew. It’s just one of those things that happens, and something I’m personally familiar with dating back to the days of NASCAR The Game 2011; Xbox 360 users received updates almost two months earlier than PlayStation owners, as Sony’s evaluation process was much more intricate in the previous console generation.
However, it’s certainly not something Xbox One owners of Assetto Corsa wanted to hear. The version 1.14 update promised much more than physics tweaks to the base simulation experience; features promised to significantly extend the lifespan of the game and had been left out by Kunos Simulazioni due to poor foresight and a lack of resources – most notably the ability to host custom sessions with your own personal settings – were set to be implemented with this update. With the version 1.14 update now back at square one, those who purchased Assetto Corsa for Microsoft’s flagship console are left with a game that is drastically inferior to both the PC variant, as well as it’s PlayStation 4 counterpart. Version 1.14 is essentially what Assetto Corsa on consoles should have been at launch, and this unexpected delay looks to be the final nail in the coffin for those who were berated on the official forums for supposedly not being patient enough with the progress of the game. Ten months later, their patience still hasn’t been rewarded with much of anything, and the already small userbase of this game on the Xbox One is certainly bound to drop to dangerously low levels knowing there is no set release date in sight.
Of course, this has not stopped the rabid Assetto Corsa defense force from promptly lashing out at Microsoft, with some RaceDepartment users believing that the electronics giant is intentionally sabotaging Assetto Corsa’s progress on the Xbox One due to a conflict of interests with one of their own intellectual properties.
Of course, this is simply ridiculous, but just goes to show the extent of which Assetto Corsa fanboys have been brainwashed into believing that the entire sim racing community is against them. Both Kunos Simulazioni, as well as their supporters, appear to be living on the borderline between their own fantasy vision of Assetto Corsa as it exists in their imaginations, and what Kunos Simulazioni have actually created. These hyper-fans genuinely believe Assetto Corsa has the footing to take on one of the biggest franchises of the current gaming era and is such a threat to the market share it’s actually forcing Microsoft to sabotage things behind the scenes, when in reality it took Kunos Simulazioni almost nine months just to add private lobbies – a stable of racing games dating back to the late 1990’s – into the PlayStation 4 version; the Xbox One servers boasting a pathetic 50 users per night according to RaceDepartment forum user MarkR while Forza Motorsport 6 boasts something like five million semi-active players.
This mentality appears to further extend into the professional circle, as the team can be seen giving a lecture on how to successfully launch and maintain a product on the Xbox One. We’ve covered this video already here on PRC.net in a previous article, so it’s kind of shitty to re-visit a prior topic, but in hindsight it’s a lecture that’s getting better with age, knowing how the team would eventually fail certification checks and piss off the remaining Xbox One owners who still held onto a copy of Assetto Corsa.
Where does Kunos go from here? That depends how angry the remaining customers are, and whether it’s actually worth continuing to support the game on the Xbox One. Though I don’t possess any hard statistics, I have a very difficult time believing there’s this substantial renegade group of Assetto Corsa owners on Microsoft’s console checking the official forums twice a day for any news on the version 1.14 update; your average gamer, unless they have serious psychological issues and an abundance of time to waste, will simply not be content with buying a game and then sitting around, not playing it for nine months because they’re patiently waiting for an update – that shit gets promptly returned to GameStop or EBGames within less than a month, if not the first week. So if Kunos do by some chance push out the update within the next month or so, I have to ask the obvious question here – who is left to play it?
But they’re also stuck in-between a rock and hard place, because if they cut their losses and don’t release the update, it’ll be a permanent black eye on the company for royally botching the Xbox One release, which will follow them to whatever game they choose to push out next; whether it be Assetto Corsa 2 or an unrelated arcade racer, the Xbox One owners will undoubtedly follow them across social media spouting things like “remember how they handled Assetto Corsa?”
It’s certainly not a situation I’d like to be in, but that’s the risk you take when you inexplicably believe a hardcore PC racing simulator with barely any features to reel in mainstream gamers is somehow worth porting to current generation consoles.