Sunday, 29 January 2017

Thoughts on a farewell to iRacing

I went through a final iRacing uninstall tonight.

It's a final uninstall because the three month membership that is due to expire at the end of this month was intended to be another look at the sim after a year away from it. I had been a member for about five years before that break.

I decided not to renew for two main reasons, and I think those reasons are a cogent argument not just for leaving, but also for not supporting the sim in general.

In the past I have defended iRacing in terms of cost. You could never argue that it wasn't expensive; it has always had a high subscription fee, and high DLC costs. Assetto Corsa has highlighted the latter.

But you could reduce those costs through sales, participation credits, and bulk purchases.

Of course, sales, credits, and bulk purchases, are still available.

However the Black Friday deal, which was necessary to bring the subscription down to a minimal level, has been reduced from a 50% to a discount. And that's on an increasing subscription fee.

That rise can only be justified if the simulation itself is moving forward. But what core improvements have really been made in the last five years? You could argue that the track surface model has improved, and that dirt is in development.

I have no interest in dirt, so whatever happens with that doesn't matter to me. The surface model hasn't made that much of a difference.

What does matter, are the things that iRacing have discussed, even announced, but which haven't been implemented, and sometimes even just quietly forgotten.

When moveable cones were added, iRacing stated that was a precursor to a new damage model. That was about five years ago. The new interface that was periodically showcased - what happened to that?

Endurance racing, without a day/night cycle. Formula One cars, without different tyre compounds.

The simulation is missing so many features that would make it a true, fully rounded, simulation. And there is no sign that will change in the forseeable future.

What has changed, what iRacing has without question improved upon, is DLC. The quality and turnaround time for new cars and tracks has improved considerably.

But what is that, but an opportunity for iRacing to continue to develop revenue?

The title itself simply isn't keeping up with DLC production. iRacing has become a DLC factory.

What is keeping it going is current members invested in their historical content purchases.

I'm one of those members invested in the service. But I won't continue to ride that revenue train.

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