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Next Generation has posted an article entitled, Is Racing Gaming On Its Last Lap?
"Impossibly shiny cars, breathtaking speed, blue skies and roaring engines: racers were once videogaming’s ultimate expression of realism crossed with escapist fantasy. But while other genres have rapidly evolved, from the thunder and bluster of modern FPSes to the vast scope of RPGs, racers seem stuck in the same old routine of race upon tournament.

Even the biggest sellers don’t seem to be performing as well as they used to: once a perennial fixture at the very top of the UK Christmas chart, Need For Speed managed only fifth place as 2007 turned to 2008. Buried in the blizzard of last year’s big releases, Project Gotham Racing 4 has failed to ignite the same fervor as its predecessors. And can Gran Turismo’s luster really sell PS3 the same way it once did PS1 and PS2?"

Member Comments
# 1 bkfount @ 02/27/08 08:03 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve_OS
Next Generation has posted an article entitled, Is Racing Gaming On Its Last Lap?
"Impossibly shiny cars, breathtaking speed, blue skies and roaring engines: racers were once videogaming’s ultimate expression of realism crossed with escapist fantasy. But while other genres have rapidly evolved, from the thunder and bluster of modern FPSes to the vast scope of RPGs, racers seem stuck in the same old routine of race upon tournament.

Even the biggest sellers don’t seem to be performing as well as they used to: once a perennial fixture at the very top of the UK Christmas chart, Need For Speed managed only fifth place as 2007 turned to 2008. Buried in the blizzard of last year’s big releases, Project Gotham Racing 4 has failed to ignite the same fervor as its predecessors. And can Gran Turismo’s luster really sell PS3 the same way it once did PS1 and PS2?"
did PGR4 really do that bad, compared to the 3rd? I remember getting PGR3 for $15 off ebay well before the 4th came out.

I'm glad they talk about Test Drive Unlimited. It was an amazing game that took a step forward for the genre, yet why haven't they released it for the ps3, or put out info on a 2nd?
 
# 2 pk500 @ 02/27/08 08:20 AM
PC racing sims are alive and thriving, even though the amount of quality new releases has reduced in the last two years. The incredibly active, generous, talented mod community is keeping games like NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, Richard Burns Rally, Grand Prix Legends, GTR 2 and rFactor very relevant and very current.

RACE 07 was a disappointment as a new release, but ARCA Sim Racing looks like a promising new release. Plus iRacing is coming, even though its subscription-based MMO model is too expensive, in my opinion.

The racing scene may be stale on consoles due to the emphasis on arcadish, tuning games, but proper sims are alive and well on the PC.

Honestly, I don't understand the panic in this story. It's no secret: Console racing games are following the same path as console team sports games in this generation -- all flash, little function. Only the window dressing is different. People moan about EA sports games being nothing but roster updates with prettier graphics and a meaningless feature thrown in, and many racing games only feature shinier cars and meaningless modes.

Take care,
PK
 
# 3 Skyboxer @ 02/27/08 08:30 AM
The last racing game I played for any length of time was Papyrus' Nascar games. Mainly online leagues.
I can't really say why I haven't been into the console racing very much. I went from spending days setting up my car for the weekends online race (Then waiting for the league to decide whether I was at fault for the 10 car pile up in turn 3 at Atlanta) to virtually no racing at all.
I migrated back to consoles at about the same time with less PC gaming. "Real" racing did not follow me to the consoles.
 
# 4 aukevin @ 02/27/08 08:42 AM
Games like Burnout and Need for Speed are entertaining me more than ever.
 
# 5 bkfount @ 02/27/08 09:08 AM
forza had potential to be a great game, but it felt shallow and rushed. It didn't even have the same amout of cars and tracks as the xbox version. Add in slow DLC and slow movement by the developers to fix glitches, and the community it did grow fell away only months after release.
 
# 6 kneebon5 @ 02/27/08 10:56 AM
Racing games are fine on PC, im not sure about them on 360 or PS3, but this year will be a very good year for PC based sim racing.

Alot of big things are going to be going on. With The Sim Factory putting the winner of their series into an ARCA car, and Iracing narrowing their market to those who treat sim racing like it is real racing. The amount of numbers wont be there, mainly because their isnt a NASCAR sticker stamped on the boxes. But the quality of racing will be there and make it more interesting than ever.
 
# 7 JoeRyan33 @ 02/27/08 11:07 AM
I know some people who play racing games with the controller on their consoles. Totally defeats the point.

GTA5 is gorgeous, photo realistic, and a big reason why I got a PS3. Still, nothing beats the arcade scene, Daytona or Sega Rally with your buddies in a packed arcade.
 
# 8 RunN1st @ 02/27/08 12:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeRyan33
I know some people who play racing games with the controller on their consoles. Totally defeats the point.

GTA5 is gorgeous, photo realistic, and a big reason why I got a PS3. Still, nothing beats the arcade scene, Daytona or Sega Rally with your buddies in a packed arcade.
I personally enjoy racing games with or without a wheel. (So add me to your list.)

In fact, I would say that playing on console (360) with a wheel is more work than it's worth. (Cost, setup, calibration, etc.) Being able to control the throttle and brake using the triggers gives you an advantage vs. trying to use the flimsy 360 pedals.

On the other hand, PC sims are 100% better when you use a wheel that's well calibrated and configured. And for the most part, PC games give you more options to set it up the way you want it, plus you have a wider variety of hardware options.

But, to each their own.
 
# 9 bkfount @ 02/27/08 09:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeRyan33
I know some people who play racing games with the controller on their consoles. Totally defeats the point.

GTA5 is gorgeous, photo realistic, and a big reason why I got a PS3. Still, nothing beats the arcade scene, Daytona or Sega Rally with your buddies in a packed arcade.
since most racing games for consoles are designed with the idea that a controller is standard, most don't provide an incentive to play with a wheel.

for example, forza 2 players who used a wheel were actually at a disadvantage to controller users. Why pay more for a wheel when it doesn't give you an advantage, but also actually makes you worse?
 
# 10 patrick721 @ 02/28/08 09:41 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick
I think console publishers are headed in the wrong direction. Maybe it comes from days gone by when those classic arcade races where simple and fun and sold games.

Well, you can't just cast you line in the general pond of gamers with any genre nowdays and expect to do well. FPS developers don't try to incorporate some NBA twist into their game to the attention of basket ball fans. Madden doesn't add platforming missions in the hopes of pleasing that audience. So why is the racing genre trying to homognized there games into these something for everyone all over the map things that end up pleasing nobody including the racing fans they should be targeting.

Racing is first and formost a sport so why has so few games touched on this aspect? How come I can play an entire season in Madden or NBA 2K but pick up any racing game and you play 3 or 4 racings in a row and that's a level. You don't buy cars, build cars, build a team, hire anyone, design anything or have any type of season where you build rivalries and relationships. You build drama.

Another area that almost every sports games requires nowdays is online user created leagues and tournaments. What racing game provides that? Most don't even provide any type of worth stat tracking let alone league tracking.

What about real rules, real race day stuff and really making the person feel like they are there - at some big event. Commentators, TV views, behind the scene stuff. This stuff is manditory in a sport game if it wants to survive but racing games just ignore it and give you some sterile feel. What about winning and podiums and celebrations and all that.

Now I am not saying all games have to be like this - no. On the contrary because even though there is MLB2K there is also The Biggs. So there is room for both but I think the main problem is they are casting this net in the general populace and hoping to gain fans instead of getting the customers that are fans first and growing from there.
Man you summed up my thoughts 100 percent. I wish console developers would try to go after racing fans first then use that core group to expand their base. The 360 is crowded with fictional racing games, and with toca turning in that direction I see no real world racing game on the horizon.
 
# 11 pk500 @ 02/28/08 09:49 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick
I think console publishers are headed in the wrong direction. Maybe it comes from days gone by when those classic arcade races where simple and fun and sold games. (Snip rest of post.)
You're spot-on, Fish. Very well said.

Some PC racing sims come with these features, and the mod community also has provided some things like TV camera views, telemetry, etc. Plus most players who drive PC sims put primary focus on the driving and racing model, and the developers of PC racing sims have done a good job to heed the desires of gamers in the community.

Take care,
PK
 
# 12 mgoblue @ 02/28/08 09:52 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pk500
You're spot-on, Fish. Very well said.

Some PC racing sims come with these features, and the mod community also has provided some things like TV camera views, telemetry, etc. Plus most players who drive PC sims put primary focus on the driving and racing model, and the developers of PC racing sims have done a good job to heed the desires of gamers in the community.

Take care,
PK
I would love a racing game with a great career mode (ie. have a team, own cars, switch teams as a driver, start your own team, whatever). I know I'll never be a fully sim driver cause I'm just not that good (or that into it), but I would like a better single player experience. I'm tired of the open world "get into random races" type game.
 
# 13 kneebon5 @ 02/28/08 09:56 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgoblue
I would love a racing game with a great career mode (ie. have a team, own cars, switch teams as a driver, start your own team, whatever). I know I'll never be a fully sim driver cause I'm just not that good (or that into it), but I would like a better single player experience. I'm tired of the open world "get into random races" type game.
i dont remember what NASCAR game for ps2 it was but it was a great career mode. You had your team, and had to buy your cars and engines and it took a certain amount of weeks to build things up, and you also had to do R&D to get faster. I played so much of that. Now there isnt even a career mode or anything like that, what happened from that point to now. oh yeah exclusive rights.


Rfactor is set up for this it is just that no mod team has made this happen, you have to buy parts and upgrades for your car, and run seasons to earn money. But there isnt that much of a demand for offline racing compared to the online side of things in PC.
 
# 14 pk500 @ 02/28/08 10:03 AM
Patrick hit upon a sad fact of the console racing sim climate these days. Even when EA and other major console developers veered toward non-licensed arcadish racing games, you always could count on Codemasters to create excellent, licensed console racing sims, such as the TOCA and Colin McRae series.

Now even the Codies have turned to the dark side, turning CMR into essentially Rallisport Challenge 3 with DIRT and apparently heading toward a Project Gotham-Need For Speed hybrid with the TOCA series. Very sad.

There are four factors that I think seriously hurt console sim racing this decade. In no particular order:

1. EA getting the NASCAR license. NASCAR is the most popular form of motorsport in the U.S., by far, so NASCAR video games also will be the most popular licensed racing games in the States, too. At the dawn of this decade, gamers could choose between Hasbro's NASCAR Heat and EA's NASCAR Thunder series for consoles. NASCAR Heat was a very, very good console sim, while Thunder was horrible. Then EA bought exclusive NASCAR rights, shutting out NASCAR Heat.

EA had a promising start with NASCAR 2005, as the driving model was decent, and the addition of the career ladder with Modifieds, Trucks and the Busch Series was a very welcome addition. But EA has done nothing with the driving and racing models for its NASCAR franchise since NASCAR 2005, instead adding stupid features like Total Team Control. The series is atrophying severely.

2. The popularity and financial success of the Burnout series. Make no mistake: Burnout is a really fun series, even if EA is running out of ideas on how to sustain it with each subsequent sequel. But Burnout is pure arcade racing, and the gaming industry is full of imitators. So when Burnout almost single-handedly revived arcade racing when the Ridge Racer and Need For Speed series were in the doldrums at the turn of this decade, other developers jumped back on the arcade racing bandwagon.

3. The "Fast and the Furious" factor. "The Fast and the Furious" exposed the world to the growing tuner/drifting culture and its popularity in the coveted 18-34 male demographic. Gaming companies weren't blind to that phenomenon, either. Nearly every gaming company developed and released some sort of arcadish racing game that put more of an emphasis on car customization and street racing with tuner cars instead of licensed race cars on real tracks, whether it was Midnight Club, Need For Speed Underground or other games.

4. The continued, inexplicable success of the Gran Turismo series. The original Gran Turismo is one of the greatest racing games ever, as it revolutionized what gamers could expect from a console racing game. Excellent physics, great graphics, a ton of mechanical customization and a huge stable of cars. But the game hasn't progressed one iota since its release in 1998. It still has brain-dead AI, horrible racing and an overemphasis on car tuning and setup instead of racing. Yet the game still sells like condoms to sailors on shore leave, and gamers still drool over every upcoming GT release.

Again, gaming developers and publishers are lemmings. So other major players started to march in lockstep and developed GT-clone racing games, such as Sega GT and Forza. These games at least had licensed cars and licensed tracks, but they put more of an emphasis on car collecting and tuning instead of balls-out racing, just like the patriarch they all strove to emulate, the Gran Turismo series.

Take care,
PK
 
# 15 bkfount @ 02/28/08 10:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kneebon5
i dont remember what NASCAR game for ps2 it was but it was a great career mode. You had your team, and had to buy your cars and engines and it took a certain amount of weeks to build things up, and you also had to do R&D to get faster. I played so much of that. Now there isnt even a career mode or anything like that, what happened from that point to now. oh yeah exclusive rights.
actually, I remember the EA game you're talking about, and it was after they already got the exclusive rights I believe. They've even dabbled in making you climb the ranks of nascar.

It's just that we got empty promises for next gen games, when tons of them don't even have as much content as last gen versions a year ago. We don't see more complex AI, better physics, and better presentation on a whole. We just get flashier graphics and more marketing.
 
# 16 patrick721 @ 02/28/08 10:18 AM
Another peeve of mine is we have all this graphical and processing power on consoles yet most of the games only allow you to race against 7 competetors. I understand the online limitations, but the limited number of AI drivers kills the offline mode. Forza 2 is a great example, I'm so sure all those people in the stands would show up to watch 8 cars race.

PK when are you going to call another poker night?
 
# 17 pk500 @ 02/28/08 10:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkfount
actually, I remember the EA game you're talking about, and it was after they already got the exclusive rights I believe. They've even dabbled in making you climb the ranks of nascar.
I don't think that game came after EA got exclusive rights. NASCAR 2005 was the first EA NASCAR game with the definitive Modifieds, Trucks, Busch career ladder, but you never had to buy parts and do R&D, from what I remember.

Maybe we're thinking of the last Heat-based NASCAR game, Dirt to Daytona? Can't remember.

Take care,
PK
 
# 18 pk500 @ 02/28/08 10:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrick721
PK when are you going to call another poker night?
For rFactor? Sometime soon, hopefully. I'm just really busy with work and family now. This is the most hectic time of the year for me, by far.

Take care,
PK
 
# 19 kneebon5 @ 02/28/08 05:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by pk500
I don't think that game came after EA got exclusive rights. NASCAR 2005 was the first EA NASCAR game with the definitive Modifieds, Trucks, Busch career ladder, but you never had to buy parts and do R&D, from what I remember.

Maybe we're thinking of the last Heat-based NASCAR game, Dirt to Daytona? Can't remember.

Take care,
PK

I think the one i really like and was talking about was NASCAR 03 i played the hell out of it in Iraq. There wasnt trucks or modifieds, it was just Cup, and it was all i needed. If you messed up bad enough you couldnt race anymore, and im sure that made some of the 10 year old kids out there mad.
 
# 20 ramenite @ 02/29/08 01:59 PM
No, it's as strong as it ever was....you just don't see the old "big name" players in it anymore. Papyrus is gone, and others picked it up.

Open Wheel: Sony gave up the F1 exclusive license this year. Their console games were decent, but nothing to write home about. F1:CC was a fine start to the PS3 ones, but they are no more. EA is putting out an F1 game(rumored, although it's known they signed Lewis Hamilton to be a coverboy, what ELSE would they use him for?). If EA does what they did before, which was license the ISI engine, it could be something great. And they also should have a PC version. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a SimBin developed F1 game with EA as a publisher.

But there are several EXCELLENT F1 mods for rFactor. CTDP 2005, the new 2007 mod from fsone.us, Grand Prix 1979, etc.

Stockcar: Ok, EA dropped the ball. NASCAR Sim Racing was a dud. Their console games on the PS2 were actually decent for console games. Their "friend/foe system, hooking up with people to draft, their career mode, etc. were things that did add to the experience at the expense of "simulation". But overall, pretty decent console games. But they totally ignored the PC sim racer.

Some people think the sun rises and sets on NRS 2003. It was great in its day. But seriously, let it go. Two rFactors mods of NASCAR Simulation Series, and rfStockcars are better. More tracks, better graphics, and better driving physics. If you choose to ignore what's been going on Sprint Cup simulations, because it's not a licensed title from Papyrus, you're missing out on some great racing.

There's also the new ARCA game coming out. I haven't played it obviously, but it does look like it should be something special, and I do look forward to it.

Other series: GTR2 overall may be the best pure driving sim made. Another SimBin release that's recent is Race 07. WTCC, F3000, Radicals, Formula BMW, and other support series are done VERY well. Even if you never heard of the World Touring Car Championship, get this game. It's one of the best racing games that have been released since GTR2. Lots of cars, and lots of tracks, and the same quality they brought to GTR2.

And GT5 is around the corner. They have redone the physics, and added a bunch of cars and tracks, including the Top Gear test track. And considering it will have support for PC racing wheels not the G25, you should be able to hook up your current wheel.

And there you have it. There's a lot going on with racing simulation. Just because there isn't a licensed NASCAR or F1 title on the market that blows people away, doesn't mean it's dying. Some people may also not look at "just a mod" and want a licensed game. That's your loss. There is plenty going on, you just have to open your eyes to see it.
 

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