The steep cost of playing iRacing is an extensively documented fact. But what if that was no longer the case? Here’s how iRacing may be getting cheaper.
In the sim racing community, iRacing is a household name. However, that isn’t necessarily due to its great matchmaking system and brilliant collection of content. Whilst those are the main draws and the reason it consistently has over 10,000 active players, it also has a heavily documented downside.
In fact, many racing game enthusiasts scoff at the steep financial barrier of entry that the game presents. A subscription, simply access to play the game, comes at a cost of $13 per month, or $110 a year. Add that to the $11.95 one must pay for each car and $14.95 per additional track and the bills soon rack up.
Certainly at the start of one’s iRacing journey, one can easily end up spending well over $200 in a few months. But with other sims joining the matchmaking space, the title is beginning to find competition.
As a result, players may well be looking elsewhere for their online racing thrills. In response to the potential exodus, we believe there’s only one course of action for the renowned title. Perhaps it’s time iRacing became cheaper, and signs are pointing towards a drop in price already beginning.
Cheaper iRacing Content
The monthly cost of a membership is something most racers accept with iRacing. In fact, the team hosts every race server, with countless servers situated around the world. The development team also puts in ridiculous amounts of work to bring new features. This all comes at a cost and must be profitable for the company.
What most sim racers do not enjoy however is spending the equivalent of a meal on a car-track combination. Indeed, purchase a new car and a track to race it on and you will spend over $25. Add tax in your part of the world and the equivalent of $30 is easily met.
But with recent announcements and releases, it seems more and more content is becoming less taxing on one’s wallet. For example, the Season 1 content drop of 2023 included two free tracks; an overhauled Sebring and VIR. Upcoming in September is Season 4 of 2023 where the aged Zandvoort circuit is set to be replaced by a rescanned version of the new GP layout. This refresh will also come at no additional cost to those that already purchased the old version of the circuit.
Add to this the many other free cars joining the sim in recent updates such as the FF1600, Toyota GR86 and Formula Vee and one can spot a trend. More and more often is iRacing offering new content to players at no additional cost. Clearly then, iRacing‘s content is becoming more affordable.
Discounts and Giveaways
In addition to content itself seemingly getting cheaper in iRacing, it seems purchasing it is becoming easier as well.
Throughout the game’s lifespan, players have had access to discounts. This is nothing new. However, the rate at which memberships are discounted does seem to be increasing. Indeed, new memberships are almost always available at a discounted price on the iRacing website. But typically, this is a 25% or at best, 50% discount.
At the time of writing this, new memberships sit at a whopping 60% off. As a result, one can get a full two-year membership for less than $80. That’s the equivalent of $3.32 a month for the next two years. Whilst it is possible that such an extreme price cut may have happened before, it has never happened at the same time as a mass iRacing credit giveaway.
Indeed, to celebrate 15 years of the service, the team behind it announced a few weeks ago that every active account will receive a credit for each year it has existed on the service. For example, if ou started racing during COVID in 2020, you will receive $3 in iRacing credits for three years on the sim.
It doesn’t stop here though. Throughout August, a series of anniversary races will take place. If players compete in one race each week, they enter a raffle to win 1,000 credits. A total of 15 players will win this amount, enough to purchase every piece of content on the game. By far! Not even during the 10th anniversary celebrations did something on this scale happen.
Why iRacing Needs to be Affordable
So content is seemingly getting cheaper and players are receiving credits for free at a higher rate than ever before. But why is iRacing worrying about the affordability of its simulator now? Well, it all comes down to the sim racing industry as a whole.
In recent years, Low Fuel Motorsport has done a fantastic job at bringing the matchmaking success of iRacing to other titles like rFactor 2 and Assetto Corsa Competizione. Whilst the process of joining races and entering the sim is more clunky on this service than the original, it’s clear that racing ‘for free’ is a great pull.
Having to compete with this more affordable online racing alternative, iRacing is certainly a dying formula. Indeed, as LFM becomes more streamlined and more simulators join its selection, almost anything will be possible. In this case, iRacing will become an over-priced service lacking content with some infuriating examples of net-code. Hence the need to reduce players’ costs.
This certainly isn’t a bad thing for the service either. Following COVID and the lockdowns of 2020, sim racing has exploded as a hobby. The player base has shot up significantly, as has the number of iRacing memberships. With such an influx in income, iRacing is making more money than ever and can surely survive reducing its content or membership prices.
Furthermore, by lowering this aforementioned financial barrier to entry, the sim will certainly attract a new wave of fans. Those that previously could not spare the cash to race may well give the sim a go. Keeping fans happy and attracting more players to the game, fighting of the competition. Reducing the cost of iRacing can only be a win-win.
Do you think iRacing will get cheaper? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!