The future of sim racing

247
England
Merseyside
What does everyone think the future of sim racing games is going to look like? The further delay of GTR3 got me thinking about it. I was looking forward to it, and I still hope it comes out of course. But being a GT3-based title, it begs the question; what was it going to offer that ACC doesn’t already do pretty well? What gaps was it going fill in the sim racing landscape? How many times can we get excited and wait 4 years for a new rendering of Spa or Silverstone? Sim racers crave realism and authenticity, and there’s only so many circuits and race cars in the world. (I suppose I’m talking mostly about sims in the new console generation. Sure, we all know PC is the gold standard, but let’s stick with the accessible end of things for now, as the spec wars and modding scene just complicates matters). I think there is a load of room for improvement in rally sims, where I firmly believe that things like open world environments with user created stages, road sections and recce cars are the future there. However, this is a thread for another day. So what about circuit sims?

This train of thought also led me back to Project Cars 2. A flawed title, definitely. But I think in the end, it got more right than it did wrong. Since upgrading to Series X I’ve revisited it a fair bit, and it is night and day compared to on previous generation. The cars (for the most part anyway) feel excellent, and there is no more weird loss of physics when racing with large grids or day to night transitions (which look even better on XSX). There are certain cars and classes that still feel borderline undrivable, especially after playing ACC for so long, but seeing as I’ve never driven a real GT3 car at full chat I can’t really comment on which is the more authentic experience. But for the likes of LMP, GT1 and single seaters, I honestly don’t think PC2 has ever been rivalled on console. And I do include Assetto Corsa in that. I don’t want to join the PC3 hate train, but I do feel that it was a huge missed opportunity, and particularly console sim racing has taken a hit and left a huge gap in the market. I feel that a new title with a multi-discipline, motorsport-focused sim approach with the depth of PC2, with all of PC2’s issues addressed and new features such as driver swaps or even some licenced series added, would be the ultimate grail as far as I’m concerned. Perfect this formula, and there would be no sequel needed. Once you get the base game right on something like this, all subsequent energy could be put into new content, officially approved third-party content and whatever else. That’s a game-as-service that I’d be more than happy to shell out for over the years. This is pretty common on PC, so why not on console too? Have developers considered striking a deal with modders? Surely everyone wins that way? AM2 seems like it’s heading in the right direction with tracks and cars outside of the usual and is based on PC2 mechanics, I’d love to see it on console soon!

So, where do you think sim racing is headed? What will be the next innovation besides physics and graphics tweaks? Sorry, I didn’t mean for this post to be anywhere near as long as it turned out to be!
 
571
Czech Republic
Czech Republic
Maybe complete packages will come? Last years were golden age from physics perspective but it needs more. Complete package with good gameplay built on great physics? That could be it. There is a lot of unused potential in many recent games.

Good thing for me is I can always start AC1, PC1/PC2, AMS1, rF2 and be happy. There is no real rush for sims and maybe market will clear a bit.
 

MagpieRacer

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People have so many different expectations and desires thaybits very hard to games companies to fulfill them all. Certain types of sim games have definitley become less popular this gen and more niche so it will be interesting to see what does come in the future.
 

AudiMan2011

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I think sim racing needs to move away from trying to shove many different cars and series into one game and new games should come out only focusing on specific series the devs choose to tackle. That way more focus can be put towards making a quality product without having to worry about loads of other content.
 
530
Eric-Cartman_No1
Games are becoming too big and expensive to make that i doubt you'll see niche titles like sims anymore.

How long does it take to make a game now 4 5 years. Its brutal.

All we'll see is titles that sell well to justify the development costs.
 

LeGeNd-1

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GTP_LeGeNd-1
I hope I'm wrong but I'm a bit pessimistic.

Graphics keep improving but that just makes games more difficult to make. Modelling cars and tracks just takes longer and longer, at the cost of developing actual useful features. Rally games for example suffer the most from this. There is no way you can model a full rally with hundreds of kms of stages in the detail required for modern games.

Long development requires money, and that means releasing games incomplete and then selling DLCs or subscriptions like iRacing. Small devs may not be able to stay afloat and we've seen big companies like Motorsport Games mopping up all the licenses, at the cost of other games potentially not being able to use the cars from the series.

In addition, there's a lot of focus on esports now, which is fine on its own, but sometimes that means game development decisions are biased towards certain features, and that doesn't necessarily improve offline gameplay.

Finally, there's the looming future of electric and autonomous cars. Will car manufacturers still be so willing to license out their gas guzzling models for games to use? Even if they're not polluting virtually, they're still a form of advertising and I'm not sure they want to send a politically incorrect message.

Physics and peripherals (wheel, motion rig, VR, etc) are the only aspects that I can see continuing to improve in a good way. But if all the above factors are not sorted, it's all pointless really.
 
247
England
Merseyside
Any more thoughts on this? Been thinking about it a lot lately. Is there any reason why console developers don't go for a long-term approach with racing sims? I'd be perfectly happy to pay full price for a solid base game, and still be happy to throw money at DLC for 5 or more years, as long as the game was constantly worked on and improved. I'm no economics or game development expert, but that method seems like a better way to make money than, for example, three whole separate titles with mostly the same content.
 

MikeV27

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I think sim racing needs to move away from trying to shove many different cars and series into one game and new games should come out only focusing on specific series the devs choose to tackle. That way more focus can be put towards making a quality product without having to worry about loads of other content.

This.

Although, I do like what Codemasters is doing by including F2 alongside F1. It would be really cool if they included F3 cars one day as well.
 
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2,630
North Korea
Best Korea
Any more thoughts on this? Been thinking about it a lot lately. Is there any reason why console developers don't go for a long-term approach with racing sims? I'd be perfectly happy to pay full price for a solid base game, and still be happy to throw money at DLC for 5 or more years, as long as the game was constantly worked on and improved. I'm no economics or game development expert, but that method seems like a better way to make money than, for example, three whole separate titles with mostly the same content.

Same thoughts as before, basically wanting a dedicated sim for something besides GT3/GT4/WRC/F1/NASCAR; ideally, early 60's and before motorsport.
 
1,680
Poland
Gdynia
MroczMR
This.

Although, I do like what Codemasters is doing by including F2 alongside F1. It would be really cool if they included F3 cars one day as well.
Same with ACC having GT3 and GT4. I think feeder series should be included but I also prefer more focused racing sims instead of full blown "everything in one package"
 

kjb

1,344
United States
Cary, NC
mrbabyboyd
I think there is a place for both types. I do think focused sims can be fun. I would enjoy an LeMans focused sim that would include current and past race cars but I also love the everything in one
 
414
United States
United States
The future of sim racing is not going to be in its gaming, it will be the simulation of a real race day.

I have said in the pass that I have real racing experience in my life time. but when I tell my friends who I race with back in the day they think that sim racing is just an expensive way to play a game and not a simulation of real racing. The racing is good now my hope for the future is more real race car drivers come out of retirement and give It a try.
 
38,046
Australia
The Bronx
I think sim racing needs to move away from trying to shove many different cars and series into one game and new games should come out only focusing on specific series the devs choose to tackle. That way more focus can be put towards making a quality product without having to worry about loads of other content.
That's a question I asked in GT Sport. If GT Sport with would be better as a GT3 only game.

GT Sport has th focus of Sport Mode, but as you mentioned regarding series races, lumped a bunch in there.

The first TOCA game had the same focus as well. It's a pretty good game.
ACC focusing on GT3-GT4 and a soon to be revealed added series, has done well in my eyes.

I feel what needs to happen, devs have to find a way to get non-gamers/non-car enthusiasts looking at racing games, the way it happened in the past. How they do it, I don't know.
 
414
United States
United States
Like learning and understanding all the rules, you mean?
What is needed is simple common rules that all online racing platforms use in their gaming software and simulator software for consoles and PCs . The future for online sim racing will be good and fair racing for all who show up to race.
I think a race day between Sony and Microsoft consoles with a common simulator software package and controllers will make great racing and a lot of fun.
 
20,679
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
What is needed is simple common rules that all online racing platforms use in their gaming software and simulator software for consoles and PCs . The future for online sim racing will be good and fair racing for all who show up to race.
I think a race day between Sony and Microsoft consoles with a common simulator software package and controllers will make great racing and a lot of fun.
Yeah, that ain't ever gonna happen any more than real world racing series are all going to come together and use the same rules and regulations.
 
3,879
Canada
Brandon, MB
Silver-Arrows21
Long development requires money, and that means releasing games incomplete and then selling DLCs or subscriptions like iRacing.
I like how you posit this as bad when:

A: Games have been releasing 'incomplete' and 'selling DLC' since the very beginning of the industry. Hell, one of the progenitors of this entire genre we're talking about, Revs by Geoff Crammond, had a four pack expansion of tracks released a year after the original game came out, from the one that was offered in the base game. You almost never add in what you want when games go gold, and invariably stuff gets added in.

B: Why is the subscription model for iRacing bad? It certainly allows players to pay for what they need, and likewise, it reduces significantly the risk of bad apples and those looking to grief and cause trouble considering the stakes involved. Which, for what the game is trying to do, is more then fine.
 

AudiMan2011

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B: Why is the subscription model for iRacing bad? It certainly allows players to pay for what they need, and likewise, it reduces significantly the risk of bad apples and those looking to grief and cause trouble considering the stakes involved. Which, for what the game is trying to do, is more then fine.
iRacing is over $100 a year for what is essentially a rental service. Add to that paying $12 per car and $15 per track you want to add, and costs start to mount up fast.

Its a parasitic business model.
 
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Northstar

The Original Party Worm
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iRacing over $100 a year for what is essentially a rental service. Add to that paying $12 per car and $15 per track you want to add, and costs start to mount up fast.

Its a parasitic business model.
If you're paying full price for anything on iracing you're doing it wrong (for instance, new members can get 2 years for $120). That's not to say it works for everyone because it doesn't, myself included, but clearly they provide a service that people feel is worth what they ask for it.
 
3,879
Canada
Brandon, MB
Silver-Arrows21
If you're paying full price for anything on iracing you're doing it wrong (for instance, new members can get 2 years for $120). That's not to say it works for everyone because it doesn't, myself included, but clearly they provide a service that people feel is worth what they ask for it.
And more over, you're basically paying ala' carte for what you want. If you're only interested in NASCAR or Indycar, or dirt racing, then as a system it works perfectly well.

Plus like...how do you suggest iRacing operate as a business model?
 

Hayden

Chrysler Racer
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3,447
Australia
South Australia
I feel what needs to happen, devs have to find a way to get non-gamers/non-car enthusiasts looking at racing games, the way it happened in the past. How they do it, I don't know.
I’m gonna be straight up and say Gran Turismo has done this successfully for 25 years now.

Get ‘em while their young. Create a fun, diverse, deep, educational and rewarding experience that gets a kid excited when they win a new car. Let them form bonds with cars as they improve them and learn their history. What (particularly early) GTs did was take kids who liked racing on Mario kart or wipeout and introduce them to car culture and proper motorsports.

Prior to COVID legitimising it, a huge percentage of sim racers got their start on console racing games.

IMO people over 21 are either already car people or probably never will be, and with the age of an average gamer, you’ve likely missed the boat by then. You need to get the kids and you cannot expect a kid to get excited about 10 GT3 cars, 7 race tracks and a world class physics engine. Real racers start in Go Karts, and in the same way, for 25 years GT has been sim racing’s feeder series.
 
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CLowndes888

I want to be monkey
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I’m gonna be straight up and say Gran Turismo has done this successfully for 25 years now.

Get ‘em while their young. Create a fun, diverse, deep, educational and rewarding experience that gets a kid excited when they win a new car. Let them form bonds with cars as they improve them and learn their history. What (particularly early) GTs did was take kids who liked racing on Mario kart or wipeout and introduce them to car culture and proper motorsports.

Prior to COVID legitimising it, a huge percentage of sim racers got their start on console racing games.

IMO people over 21 are either already car people or probably never will be, and with the age of an average gamer, you’ve likely missed the boat by then. You need to get the kids and you cannot expect a kid to get excited about 10 GT3 cars, 7 race tracks and a world class physics engine. Real racers start in Go Karts, and in the same way, for 25 years GT has been sim racing’s feeder series.
This much is true but having an interest in cars does help. Many of my friends played racing games when they were younger but none of them became car enthusiasts like myself. I was pre-disposed in many ways because my dad had a huge interest in it. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have known about V8 Supercars and I wouldn't have seen Jeremy Clarkson play GT4 on Top Gear.
 

Hayden

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South Australia
This much is true but having an interest in cars does help. Many of my friends played racing games when they were younger but none of them became car enthusiasts like myself. I was pre-disposed in many ways because my dad had a huge interest in it. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have known about V8 Supercars and I wouldn't have seen Jeremy Clarkson play GT4 on Top Gear.
I’ve spoken to quite a few car people for my video series, The Pit Walk and while the answer doesn’t always make it into the video, a lot of people credit either their parents or close friends for getting them into cars. There’s also a clear hope of handing that passion down to the next generation, which is always cool to see.

The tricky thing here is getting those that aren’t from car backgrounds to be interested. For generations cars have been cool and mainstream popular, which has helped to bring in new blood. Games are a part of that and though my dad was a car guy, It wasn’t until I played GT3 that I got into them.

In unprecedented times, I know Toyota for one are taking this extremely seriously with targeted vehicles and advertising. They’re on something of a mission to make cars cool again by making cool cars again.

Games can also play a huge part and I was glad to see Kaz specifically mention accessibility in a recent interview. We all gotta start somewhere :)
 
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414
United States
United States
Yeah, that ain't ever gonna happen any more than real world racing series are all going to come together and use the same rules and regulations.
I have some experience racing on different tracks and with different race cars. kart racing on all tracks use one set of rules from the IKF , drag racing used NHRA rules for all tracks and NASCAR rules for stock cars. All track safety rule were said at the beginning of the race day and all drivers have to attend.

So I think online sim racing in the future of Esports should have their own set of simple rules for all computer and console software to race with.

If you need a gotcha rule to have fun racing find a club for league rules or just race AIs.
 

LeGeNd-1

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Australia
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I like how you posit this as bad when:

A: Games have been releasing 'incomplete' and 'selling DLC' since the very beginning of the industry. Hell, one of the progenitors of this entire genre we're talking about, Revs by Geoff Crammond, had a four pack expansion of tracks released a year after the original game came out, from the one that was offered in the base game. You almost never add in what you want when games go gold, and invariably stuff gets added in.

B: Why is the subscription model for iRacing bad? It certainly allows players to pay for what they need, and likewise, it reduces significantly the risk of bad apples and those looking to grief and cause trouble considering the stakes involved. Which, for what the game is trying to do, is more then fine.
I started gaming on the PS1 so I wasn't aware of Revs (though I'm aware of Geoff's Grand Prix series). Certainly PC games have been getting expansion packs for longer than console games. But you can't deny the frequency that this is happening is increasing with every generation. So much so that games these days have content taken out before release (even if it's ready) just to be sold later as DLC. Even worse when you have cars and tracks that were clearly in previous games resold as "new" DLC (e.g. Codemasters Dirt & Grid does this a lot).

I don't mind proper expansion packs that adds genuine new content, or patches to fix obscure bugs here and there. But some games ship with such blatant bugs that there's no way the QA team would miss, but instead of fixing it they release a season pass and have a full DLC plan ready on release date. That's just showing the wrong priority.

Re: the iRacing subscription model, I guess I just prefer to pay a single lump sum and get everything at once. I get that you pay iRacing essentially for the service model, so clearly I'm not their target demographic. If they sell "iRacing Offline Edition" with all the cars & tracks, without any of the online stuff for $60 I'd buy it in a heartbeat. But as it stands, it's just too expensive for the way I like the play my racing games (jumping between lots of different games, cars and tracks). Same reason why I haven't played Raceroom as well. It's a shame because there's lots of good content there, but I can't justify the price when I can get similar experience elsewhere for much less. AC pretty much gives unlimited content with all its mods, for one single price. GT Sport plugs my organised online racing fix, and I only paid for it once. Admittedly, the organisation is not as good and the racing quality can be variable, but you get what you pay for and I'm happy enough with the trade off.

Sure iRacing's pricing model reduces griefers, but it doesn't eliminate it completely either. Having money doesn't automatically make you a good driver, just ask Mazepin :lol:
 
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FPV MIC

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If you need a gotcha rule to have fun racing find a club for league rules or just race AIs.
It's the other way round. :banghead:

If you want to run the rules you want then start a league or set up a race with the AI... or even just open a lobby. For those that can follow rules there's Sport Mode and FIA races.