Help us. The year is 2018 and the first signs of warfare are being signaled. This isn’t about my platform is better than yours. This isn’t about scaremongering. This is the truth playing out in front of your very eyes, and let me be the first person to say, I am very scared for the future.
It doesn’t matter what platform you currently race on, it may be Project Cars 2, rFactor2, Raceroom, iRacing, Assetto Corsa, the whole lot, F1 are going in big with esports and the major concern is how they want to steamroll the industry. Renault have just become the first Formula One team to declare an intention of signing for the F1 Esports World Championship which is due to happen later this year and that sounds like fantastic news that another F1 team want to be involved in simracing.
The reality paints a morbid tale though. For starters, the three drivers signed so far are Rocket League based, and that in itself means that Renault have instantly devalued simracing by saying, we are going to focus first off on a game that has nothing to do with the esport we want to get into, but more about financing our esport division for money.
But why am I painting such a picture in your mind? My answer is another question. Do you want simracing to be fought on an arcade simulator or on a specifically built realistic simulator? No matter what platform you come from, you want to race where it is most real, where you are the closest to being a real racing driver.
The intent from Renault will pretty much guarantee a move by McLaren and a whole host of other teams wanting in on the action. No current simracing team will have a shut in, apart from maybe Redline and FA Racing G2 at putting their teams in. We saw how no team could properly be represented last year and how no current teams could showcase their sponsorships. What will happen when F1 decides they want to start dominating the competition?
It will be US who feels it the most. It will be our drivers, our top stars who will all go to race for the likes of Renault and McLaren, devaluing our products to race for those big teams. Redline’s and Coandas will be picked apart with no hope of recovering or making it big because Formula One want to put themselves over and nobody else. It is deadly and degenerate to the point where if none of our sims do anything, then where would the money come from to keep all these companies afloat? If two or three games die because of this move, and Formula One says there is no money and drops the idea of esports entirely, how would we ever pick up from that?
Simracing esports would die in a toxic cesspit because one company wanted to be greedy and take all the toys, play with them until they broke, hand it back to us and leave us footing the bill. Is that our future unless we match them every step of the way?
The NBA are trying to get all their teams involved in an esports push, but that only works because NBA 2k has no challengers in their market. F1 is under pressure to deliver in exactly the same way as other sports have to but the big kicker is that they have the competition. As an iRacer first and foremost, I KNOW that iRacing could go and challenge, and if they can’t, then Project Cars can.
This is a call to action for all simracers. Is this how you want to see your sims die? Do you want to have your talent viewed as nothing but second or third rate until you sell your soul to the corporate machine and race on Formula One’s cheap arcade sim? Is this what all of us have invested 20+ years for? I don’t think it is, and nor should any of you.
Work hard. Find sponsors. Boost your top series up to be as large as you can possibly make it. Watch your top series and get the viewership numbers up, not just for one race, but for all of them. Teams and drivers alike, and to all the fans that follow, this is now your initiative. Go out there and help as much as you can, and give for everyone in this industry.
Simracing now plays Russian roulette. The first bullet is in the chamber, it is only a matter of time before Formula One spins the chamber and starts to fire.