This article was produced by simracingloft.com
Over the last few months we have gotten a handful of comments and DMs complaining that our content is too focused on PC sim racing, and guess what, they're right. We create content for PC racers because well, we are PC racers and it’s easier to create content for something you’re involved in daily than it is to go down memory lane or to interpret. It’s kinda like asking someone to write about what it’s like to live in a country they visited a few times on holiday, can it be done? Yes but it takes some additional effort. Regardless we have heard your pleas and we have reached deep into our memory banks to support our fellow console racers.
I’m sure anyone who has dipped their toes into sim racing or any PC gaming for that matter has heard the not so humble brag that the PC is the best experience you can get. While PC may have a higher degree of customization and users can really dial in just about everything the way they want to, we don’t necessarily think that PC provides the best user experience. User experience is fairly subjective, to us it means having a seamless, low input, low maintenance, and as simple of an experience that we can. As much as we love our PCs, they can sometimes be a huge pain in the ass when it comes to sim racing, and the console racers may actually be getting the better overall experience (by our definition). If consoles had the range of simulator software to pick from that PCs have, we would hang up our keyboards forever (for sim racing that is).
Here’s Why Console Racers Have a Better Experience:
True Plug and Play
True Plug and Play
It’s true, hardware selection for console racing is limited. You have to do your research to understand which wheels are compatible with your chosen system, and they are usually made of cheaper material than their PC counterparts. However, that is pretty much the only limitation. When you purchase your console hardware, it comes in a box, you take it out, plug it in, edit your FFB settings and you are on your way. No hassle or frustrations and you can be on track in less than 5 minutes. This is so far from the typical PC experience, PC racers have to download the drivers, then download the additional software, then calibrate in the add on software menu, then you have to launch your sim, then you have to calibrate in your sim, then you have to fumble with the FFB settings, then you have to tighten up the oscillation settings, and then you have to hope that once you turn the darn thing off that it doesn’t brick itself forcing you to start over. By the time you unbox, plugin and get everything right you are looking at 35 to 40 minutes if you're lucky, and to make matters worse you typically have to do that every time there is an update from the manufacturer.
Console settings are so simple, you don’t have to have multiple apps or software that work in unison, and very rarely do you have to calibrate the wheel in the tuning menu. By far the most frustrating and most common issue with PC experience is trying to find out why your hardware isn’t being recognized by your sim of choice. It could be something in the steam controller settings (this is really a pain sometimes because steam really isn’t the best at troubleshooting). The latest driver could be incompatible with your BIOS (if this happens you might really be screwed for a while). If it isn’t one of those two then you have to see if the latest update on your sim dropped support for the wheel (this happens from time to time and it sucks). Once you narrow down what the problem is you typically get to repeat all of the steps from the previous paragraph (so much fun).
Perhaps the best argument for consoles having the best sim racing user experience is that you never have to worry about graphics performance. The games and the hardware is already optimized for you! Yes, the frame rates might be limited to 60 (I think this is where the next-gen consoles are at) but you never have to worry about them dropping or your console overheating and blowing up on you. Half the struggle with sim racing on PC is the internal battle you have with yourself about pushing your machine to crank our frames and being a responsible PC owner and not melting your hardware. When the decision is made for you, you get to just plug in and drive, you don’t get distracted by things like how many other cars are getting rendered in or your race being over if a thunderstorm rolls in causing your CPU or GPU to freak out.
Overall the theoretical war between PC and console experience can be equated to the iPhone and Android debate. The iPhone is representative of console racers, it's ready to go out of the box, very little input needed, and it will kick ass every single time without issue. Android is likened to PC racers, your experience can be endlessly customized and configured to your liking, but it will take a while to get there, and even when you think you’re there, you’re probably going to find yourself tinkering endlessly to get it just right.
Sim Racing Loft (simracingloft.com) is a lifestyle and culture brand focused on bringing niche Sim Racing content to the masses. You won't find in-depth product reviews, regurgitated press releases, or on-track tips and tricks here. What you will find is original content focused on life, business, and pop-cultural aspects of Sim Racing. We feel that there is more to this industry than the typical hot lap video or pedal review, there is real substance to be discussed and we’re going to bring it to you. While satire and comedic energy run through our content, you can expect to see consistent quality entertainment. We know what you’re thinking “Sim Racing doesn’t need a ‘lifestyle and culture’ blog”, but respectfully, we disagree. All sports have an off-field side that is heavily influenced by the world around them and that’s where we come in by providing content that can be enjoyed by casuals and professionals alike. Want to gain access to exclusive content, offers, and updates? Join our newsletter!