It is currently Sunday March the 4th and we are on the eve of one of the points every iRacer both loves and hates. It is week 13.
We love it because it means new content, bug fixes, and who knows what else. With iRacing’s change in communication several years ago we are always a little unsure of what we are going to get. We know the big stuff. 2 new LMP1 cars, the 2018 spec Indycar which we will get to wheel before it ever races in real life, 2 new dirt ovals; one the Dirt track at Charlotte and the other being iRacing’s first 1/4 mile dirt oval in Limaland; a newly scanned and reworked version of Pocono, and an all new layout at Sonoma for the last builds biggest hit in Rally Cross.
We hate it because it means our favorite series take a break for a bit, and we have a week of relaxation, and not having to stress about the typical things. That said, many may find that a positive, in which case it is a win win week for you.
With that said I thought it would be a good time to look at one of the hottest subjects in the iRacing world for the last couple years. Due to the complexity of the issue, to cover everything in one go and give my take on it would require a wall of text the likes of which man has never seen before. So I decided to make this a bit of a week 13 special. Every day of week 13, I will tackle a chunk of the issue, and look at all the angles and give my take on them.
This week I will be tackling the question: What needs to happen to make iRacing successful as an Esport?
Its a question that has been floating around for the past couple years, and just about everyone has given their take on the matter. From switching stream platforms, to fixed setup series, to ultra short races to anything else you can imagine, a lot has been tossed around and thought about. It is a complex issue with a complex answer, and to be honest all of the issues do not fall on iRacing’s shoulders. I want to make it absolutely clear, this is not an iRacing hate series. This is coming from some one with 6 years of experience on the sim, thousands of hours in game, and thousands of hours broadcasting the variety of simulated Motorsports iRacing offers like no one else has.
These are the 5 parts I think that are super important to this issue which I will be analyzing:
There is no way around it, the sim is expensive, and we are going to dive in on ways it is likely holding the sim back.
iRacing is in a particularly weird place in the Esport market. Do we push ourselves to the real racing fans? Do we go the traditional Esport route? Is there a way to bridge the gap?
Anyone who has been around for awhile knows iRacing gets a lot of things right, but they also get a lot of things wrong, and they have traditionally made the same mistakes time and time again, mistakes that would have killed a title in another genre by now. Let us take a look at these, and look at how they can be better.
iRacing pushes itself to potential consumers in several ways. Is it sufficient? Do they do it to a wide enough variety? How does the power of word of mouth help or hurt the sim? In addition, are the teams and drivers marketing themselves as best as they possibly can or are they missing their own marks?
As diverse as it is, the iRacing community has formed itself into tight knit cliques for the most part. In addition many of these people have run in small communities of sim racing for a decade plus. How will the community need to shift as a whole and is it possible to keep a lot of the old guard of simracing while a new group is coming in?
Each of these topics requires a lot of critical thinking to come to a logical conclusion and that is what I look forward to tackling with you this wee. So if you’re taking a break from your R18 at Le Mans sorting out the hybrid system, in the IR18 trying to make the car fast over a 4 lap qualifying run, playing with your newly adjustable front wings in the 410 Sprint at Limaland while hitting the cushion, or at work or school chomping at the bit to get back home to launch the sim I look forward to you joining me this week as we approach this issue.