iRacing.com is a racing simulation for the PC (and PC-only) developed by iRacing.com Motorsports Simulations which consists of people like David Kaemmer and other former Papyrus members. Papyrus developed great racing sims like Grand Prix Legends and NASCAR Racing 2003 Season.
The sim is aimed at real-world drivers or sim-racing enthusiasts which it clearly shows in it’s subscription model. Yes, the game is subscription based, you have to pay a monthly fee of 20.00$, 50.00$ for 3-months, 90.00$ for six-months or 156.00$ for a year. That’s a lot more than MMO games like WoW or Warhammer but iRacing.com doesn’t need the software to be bought separately.
Included in your first monthly fee are 2 cars, 7 tracks, a road license and an oval license. iRacing features oval and road racing in two seperate licenses. You get the Pontiac Solstice for road racing on the tracks Laguna Seca and Limerock Park and a Ford Legends car for ovals on the tracks Lanier National Speedway, Oxford Plains Speedway, Summit Point Raceway, South Boston Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
If you want to get a good look of the game, it’s mechanics and graphics and the fees haven’t shocked you YET, I can recommend you the following preview by InsideSimRacing.
If you just want to know what the game and it’s developers got horribly wrong, read on after it.
As said in the video, the gameplay is superb, the graphics are good enough for a sim and the handling is the best in a racing game to date.
But now let’s talk about our favorite gaming subject of 2007/08 again. It’s microtransactions! (No, not Ridge Racer.)
Additional tracks and cars cost between 15.00$ and 25.00$. Yes, they really do.
Assuming we buy 10 cars for 15$ and 10 tracks for 20$....that would make 350$ GODDAMN-FUCKING-DOLLARS. And it wouldn’t be even near the over 300 cars and 14 tracks Forza2 has...which costs around 25€ here in Germany at the moment.
Suprisingly, looking at the leaderboards of some of the pay-only series (for example the Skip Barber Racing series, which requires you to buy around 70$ of additional content to enter) there are over 3000 active people in the current season. Wow. People really do pay this amount of money for their games? I can’t imagine what happens if Microsoft or Sony realise this.
The Forza2 Motegi-Trackpack costs 400 MS Points. I guess we should prepare for the worst and should not be suprised if tracks for Forza3 will cost 2100 MS Points as people seem to buy them nonetheless. Uhm, wait. This is called “my experiences”, so that means I played and payed it too, right? Ironically, yes I did. I went for the basic 1-month subscription and chose to become a road racer. The game really feels that great and is so much fun to drive, the community is very help- and respectful and there are enough people playing to get a race started anytime. But I did not continue my subscription and cancelled it the same month. The included tracks just get too repetitive too fast and you want to play more. But I did not want to pay more.
If they don’t lower some of the prices and make it interesting again I don’t see myself coming back. There are just too many good alternatives for PC-Racing fans out there which are not as good, but nearly are. And they are much cheaper.
If you're a sim-maniac and are willing to invest an insane amount of money, go to http://www.iracing.com
and subscribe, the sim really is just great.
For any other racing fan (and those who want to try a sim) buy Race07. It’s the predecessor to the upcoming Xbox360 game Race Pro. Biggest pro compared to iRacing.com? Race07 is just 4,99€ on Steam until January 2nd.