Greetings fellow simulation junkies,
When it comes to NASCAR simulation, their seems to be a great divide. On one side you have your hardcore PC racers who have been long time loyal fans of NR2003 and now drive the iracing web-based simulator and on the other you have the console racers (simcaders). This divide first showed itself back in 2003 when Electronic Arts out bid Papyrus to obtain the exclusive rights to the NASCAR gaming franchise.
Prior to 2003 and the Electronic Arts takeover, Papyrus was establishing themselves as the premier racing simulation company making open-wheel and stock car PC simulation software. There were other companies in the mix as well, such as HASBRO and Konami. The executives at NASCAR knew they were riding a huge wave of popularity and wanted a software giant to bring their sport into more homes to help grow their sport to even greater heights.
EA sports created a number of NASCAR titles for the PC, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Gamecube, PS1, PS2, PS3, Xbox, and the XBOX 360. Additionally, they even created a few handheld titles for the Nintendo Gameboy. In my opinion, EA did exactly what NASCAR wanted them to do…bring NASCAR into every home with a console! Unfortunately, for the true simulation fan, there weren’t many options. The EA PC games were a fuzzy copy of NR2003 but sloppy and buggy. The console games were fun and progressively improved each year topping out with NASCAR 09.
From 2003 – 2009 PC fans were satisfied modding NR2003 and NASCAR Heat with some really impressive mods. Updated paint schemes, tracks, and even websites dedicated to the fans of PC NASCAR simulation. Check out http://www.nr2k3.weebly.com As the popularity of NASCAR began to fade, EA quickly redirected their focus to other sport titles such as MMA, WWE, Madden and Hockey games. PC gamers were happy once again because EA gave up on NASCAR and the former founder of Papyrus David Kaemmer created iracing. http://www.iracing.com
In comes Eutechnyx and pumps out 3 NASCAR titles in just under four years for the PC, PS3, PS4 and even the Wii. Although, each issue of the game had stunning visuals and some fresh additions to the console gaming experience, the titles will always be remembered for freezing, poor online game play and unfulfilled promises.
As of January 17, 2015, DMi Games has acquired the exclusive license of NASCAR gaming. The company is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina and is being lead by gaming veterans who were once involved with Papyrus, HASBRO and Electronic Arts. They posted and open letter to the NASCAR gaming fans on their website http://www.dmigames.com introducing themselves and their upcoming plans for NASCAR gaming.
Currently, their is no competition for iracing. Iracing’s product is just what it claims to be “The world’s premier motorsports racing simulation”. However, the same issue that caused the officials at NASCAR to search for a console software giant in 2003 is the still the same “Get NASCAR gaming into as many homes as possible”. Iracing and PC racing are limited to techies just as it was in the 1990’s, PC’s are fading and the latest consoles are just as powerful. DMi appears to be positioned with the exclusive NASCAR license and the industry experience to give the NASCAR gaming fans just what they want; “delivering a high quality NASCAR digital game fan experience on video game consoles, PC, tablets and Smart Phones”.
I hope…Stay tuned for updates!