Opinion: Reviving the Sim Racing Community

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Matt Orr, who goes by the moniker “Empty Box“, is one of the top Sim Racing Youtubers. His latest video highlights a rather controversial topic: the state of the Sim Racing Community.

In his video, Matt states his opinion on the state of the community around our hobby, and it is rather sobering. I won’t spoil the details of the video, but I do agree with his verdict on the subject.

Like Matt, I got my Sim Racing start with NASCAR Racing 1999 Edition, as well as the Grand Prix Legends demo on the disk. Also, similar to Matt, I didn’t get strongly involved in the community until around 2003, but back then, the community was in a far different state than it is in its current state.

The first sim I truly dove into was NASCAR Sim Racing, and I quickly felt over my head. I then discovered the Black Hole Motorsports community website, where I started to make friends, some of them I still talk to semi-regularly.

Now, we are seeing a drastically different community than we did back in 2003-2005. We are seeing community members retreat to their own title’s forums, as opposed to flocking to neutral ground, like BHMotorsports, RaceDepartment, Inside Sim Racing, Etc. Now, I’m not saying that there is no place for title-based forums, they are great for discussing things in specific titles, like the cars, tracks, etc. However, when your community starts revolving around the specific title, instead of the hobby of Sim Racing, that’s where things can get a little hostile.

For example of what I would like to see in the community, I will look to one of my other hobbies, Photography. Last week, my sister’s boyfriend (visiting for the week) and I went on a photo drive around the area I live. He has a Nikon D7000, I have a Canon T3i. If we spent the entire drive talking (arguing) about the differences between the Nikon and the Canon, then we likely would have missed a lot of the shots that we took.

Sometimes, we need to take a closer look at what brings us together, instead of what drives us apart. I think it is safe to say that we all have a sense of passion for auto racing, or you wouldn’t be reading this post right now! If we can shift our focus to that, to the thrill of the competition, to the rush of driving these cars wheel to wheel, racing for the win, then I think we can revive the community.