NEW YORK – For fans of the racing game, Electronic Arts’ 17-year exclusive contract with Porsche must be regarded as one of the greatest injustices of all time. Nowadays games like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport– which sell in the millions – do a lot to introduce cars to a new audience. No doubt that has been the case for some time now. Do not believe me? Just look at the Nissan GT-R’s following in Europe and the US, powered by Polyphony Digital. So the sporadic presence of Porsche in these games was frustrating for gamers who just want to race the cars.
Fortunately, that seems to be coming to an end. In December, we discovered that the EA contract had expired and the German automaker hadn’t hung out. Porsches will be on display in the near future Project CARS 2. Sony recently unveiled Porsche will be in Gran Turismo Sport. And at the New York International Auto Show, Microsoft and Porsche announced a six-year partnership. As you can see in the video above, we spoke to Microsoft’s Dan Greenawalt and Sebastian Hornung from Porsche to find out more.
“It’s not about a marketing funnel to get gamers to buy a particular car, which by definition is a flash in the pan. It’s hot this year. Instead, we can look at the historic models. And that’s very unique to Porsche – with this level of heritage and storytelling and the factory drivers that can tell the stories like in the expansion,” Greenawalt told us.
“We can proactively tell stories and deliver a great, high-quality brand experience so that fans and gamers can truly enjoy our brand’s heritage,” said Hornung. Forza Motorsport 6 and the “Stories in Motorsports” levels proved that Turn 10 has some ability to give the player an idea of what it would have been like to be in the midst of the golden age of racing. Few of us will ever be able to drive a real 1973 Carrera RS, but the digital version is waiting there. The game and an Xbox are the entry fee and are a lot cheaper than the prices of old air-cooled 911s…
Forza and Microsoft want to do more than just digitally mimic cars in the game, though they’re obviously doing that too with a Porsche 7-car package for the game. Forza Horizon 3. The roster is well suited to the open roads of that game; iconic road-legal homologation specials like the aforementioned Carrera RS, as well as the 550 Spyder and 993 GT3. But getting more into e-sports will be Porsche’s first move.
However, according to Greenawalt, it is still too early for racing games in esports. “Motorsport has to evolve, it has to take on a life of its own that is unique to the virtual platforms, something you can’t see anywhere else on Sunday,” he told us.
List image by Microsoft