Where have all the racing games gone?

A while back I got a Logitech G29 wheel and pedal set up for my PS4. I added a Wheel Stand Pro, and the good times commenced.

But there was a problem, and there still is. In the couple of years since I got my G29, the number of games that use it has shot up by a staggering 3- the new Gran Turismo, the new F1 game and the latest version of Farming Simulator(?!)

There are a grand total of 14 compatible games, which span 8 series:

  • Gran Turismo,
  • Assetto Corsa,
  • Farming Sim,
  • F1,
  • WRC,
  • Dirt,
  • Project Cars &
  • DriveClub

Sure, there are some games out there that don’t support the G29, most notably the Need for Speed franchise, Trackmania Turbo, Flatout 4, and Rocket League- the latter I can understand, the rest, less so- but there aren’t an enormous number of racing games, simulation or arcade based, out there full stop.

A quick look on Metacritic shows the PS4 has a grand total of 65 racing games. Once you remove futuristic stuff like Wipeout, bikes, motorbikes, boats, quadbikes and table top racing games you have a little over 30 games, three of which are the Crew and it’s expansion packs. Limiting games to one entry per franchise, you get 20 games at most (including Carmageddon and a few other sub 40% on Metacritic stinkers).

Things are no better on Xbox either, just a different set of system exclusives.

It’s all a bit depressing.

For comparison, the Playstation 1 exceeded 320 racing games in total,Xbox had over 100, Xbox 360 had twice that, PS2 had almost 400 and PS3 had 160.

Yes, there were plenty of shovelware titles in there back in the day (Dukes of Hazard?) and genuine classics were probably only a relatively small percentage but when you have a lot of games to start with, that percentage doesn’t have to be huge to give a large number of games. There are plenty of great games that don’t seem to have a proper equivalent today either:

  • Destruction Derby (closest is probably Danger Zone but that’s more like the crash junctions from Burnout to be honest)
  • Ridge Racer
  • Sega Rally
  • Daytona
  • Split/Second
  • Motostorm
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Burnout (well, Paradise is about to be remastered but it didn’t have the crash junctions- boo!)
  • Rally Championship II (the best rally game ever!)

Maybe racing games are going the same way as beat ’em ups, maybe we’re heading into a future where 90%+ of all the games we get will be annual sports franchise updates or first person shooters, but I hope not!

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.