F1 eSports Has An Identity Crisis
NASCAR Heat is the arcade and more accessible side to the NASCAR simracing eSports world and then you’ve got the eNASCAR series on iRacing, which is the niche hardcore racing simulator, for those who prefer realism.
This binary approach of having two licenced NASCAR titles, is in many respects the perfect way to please both sides of the fence, while also running simracing competitions on both too.
While the level of competition may vary widely between the two titles, we also see that reflected in the prizemoney and sponsors. Simracing is a unique eSport in the sense that it tries to emulate, the real world version. For the more hardcore player or fan only the most realistic simulator will suffice and this includes those aiming to compete in any professional eSport competitions. This market may even see the more accessible game version as an insult or just plain ignore it altogether.
While others may still want to enjoy the virtual version of the motorsport they love but don’t have the drive or time to practice on a realistic sim and just want a simple pickup and go racing game. As the arcade version will be targeting players like this, they may also want to include an eSports series for those fans that want to compete at a higher level too.
When simplified, these are the main groups of players and every motorsport category will have these fan types amongst them and for many racing categories their official eSport titles are the more in depth simulation titles, such as Assetto Corsa Competitzione for the GT World Challenge, Race Room Racing Experience for DTM & WTCR just to name a few.
This approach makes the most sense, since we are already entertained by watching the skill and dedication of our real world motorsports, creating a realistic eSport series to complement that, seems to make the most logical sense.
However, one of the biggest eSport series’ in the world right now would have to be Formula 1, the officially licenced game by Codemasters facilitates this series every year but it suffers from one very big problem and that is it attempts to be both a simulator and an arcade racing game. Issues ranging from simplified setup options, reduced race lengths, with reduced damage models, simplification of KERS, ERS & DRS, while also simulating tyre degradation, warming, cooling and carcass temperature.
F1 and Codemasters have committed to eSports and have even extended its esport series into the mobile version, so it is safe to say accessibility isn’t something F1 eSports have forgotten about.
The simple fix would be to licence out another F1 game to focus on the proper simulation aspects, be that in iRacing, Race Room or a new dedicated platform for F1 but until that day both sides of the fence in F1 will take issues with the way the game is designed. The answer, just do what NASCAR do and make two !