Benchmark: Video Games Now Realistic Enough For Racing Games To Factor Into Racing Certs

from the real-talk dept

Normally, when we talk about any issue involving how realistic video games are becoming as an art form, those stories revolve around either the decrying of realistic violence within the games or occasionally governments attempting to use realistic game footage to pimp their own fictional military capabilities. But, while those stories often come off as silly, those examples and their like are not the only benchmarks for just how realistic gaming is becoming. Other examples involve games reaching a realism level high enough to open the door to real-life application.

Serving as a recent example of this is the latest from racing game giant Gran Turismo, which has achieved enough realism to earn it a partnership with Formula One Racing as a sort of proving ground for racers to get their license with the professional racing organization.

A new partnership with the FIA means that in-game progress can now count toward a racing license with the association. The partnership with the FIA somewhat mirrors the GT Academy, which allows some of the best Gran Turismoplayers to compete for the opportunity to drive a real race car.

Through the FIA partnership, game racers will be tracked on their ability and their “race track etiquette”, which I assume is a way to ensure that drivers are performing not only well, but in a manner that would be safe for real-world drivers around them. In addition, there will be a sub-section of the game specifically designed in partnership with the FIA, where drivers can compete with one another and have their skills and driving behavior analyzed.

This isn’t just a cool benchmark in gaming realism, either. It provides a nice example of how this kind of realism can benefit an industry like the racing industry in very real ways, both in terms of safety and cost.

Considering the astronomical costs of pursuing a career in motorsports, being able to knock certain aspects of it out in a video game—without the cost of wrecks, mechanical issues, parts and just buying a car—could open the opportunity for a wider array of competitors. Purchasing a gaming setup fit to race isn’t cheap, but it’s far cheaper than running real races.

Believe me, the moment that Major League Baseball teams start looking to the management of video game teams as a proving ground for hiring general managers and coaches, I’ll have a whole new career path on my hands. More seriously, this type of thing won’t eliminate the need for real-world racing experience to qualify for a license, but it likely will have a nice weeding-out effect for potential drivers.

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Comments on “Benchmark: Video Games Now Realistic Enough For Racing Games To Factor Into Racing Certs”

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Anonymous Coward says:


This kind of arrangement is an age-old marketing gimmick, and it’s sad to see it get free publicity by exploiting gullible bloggers who uncritically believe the hype (that’s assuming that this article is not a paid placement).

Worse yet, millions of people will end up needlessly buying the game (and buying into the dream) thinking that it will help launch them into a career as a professional race car driver. It won’t. Getting into any field of entertainment has always been notoriously difficult, top-tier car racing especially so, and the starry-eyed dreamers have always been easy marks to exploit.

It’s rather painful to read articles like this on Techdirt, articles that on the surface seem just like ads, full of unadulterated marketing hype, without a critical word to be found. I’d actually feel better if this was in fact a paid ad (undisclosed as it is) rather than knowing that the people at Techdirt are themselves ‘Drinking The Kool Aid’ of clever marketing campaigns as they pass it off to equally gullible readers.

Anonymous Coward says:


Sorry, but where did you read that he said that being good at the video game was going to be a direct path to becoming a real race car driver.

All that’s stated here is that the companies with the actual race cars will be able to use the video game to weed out some potential drivers without having to put them behind a real wheel.

Sure, some idiots will see the game as their path to stardom, and they’re the same kind of idiots who show up to casting calls for local american idol competitions.

But nothing about those people’s behavior diminishes the actual usefulness of this game to those companies or the cool factor that the game is accurate enough to be used in such a way.

Fredzfrog says:


You mention ‘formula one racing’ with gran turismo having a partnership. You may be confused. The FIA sanctions races. Formula One Managment (FOM) owns and runs the races. FOM currently has a licencing deal with codemasters to make and publish F1 games.
FIA sanctions many types of motor racing, from F1, WEC, F2, F3, and many other classes of events.

Quiet Lurcker says:

@Timothy Geigner — no offense intended, sir, but this sounds entirely too much like a paid endorsement for me to think it’s actual news. Would you please remark on this.

I also wonder how often people will take advantage of this ‘feature’. I remember hearing rumblings, oh, about 20-25 years ago, that Microsoft and FAA were teaming up on the Flight Simulator product line for similar purposes, WITH AIRPLANES (/s). But then…nothing. I haven’t heard whether that particular training option is taken often, whether it still exists, or just what. Is this racing simulator going to follow in that path?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

As far a flight training goes I don’t think MS flight simulator is accepted anymore. However Laminar Research’s X-Plane is usable to log simulator hours towards maintaining a pilots license if you have a certified hardware configuration. On the page where they discuss X-plane pro they point out that the a FAA certified flight training system (hardware and software) will cost between $5,000 and $500,000 depending on features. Not really in the realm of hobbyists, but a very reasonable investment for a serious pilot or a flight training center.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Also calling shenanigans here. When I was in Drivers’ Ed they said the exact opposite: driving/racing games cannot prepare you for the experience of real driving, and in fact the things you’d “learn” from them are counterproductive.

For example, in a video game, you have one screen, directly in front of you. While driving, you have six focus points you need to be aware of: in front of you, straight behind you, your two rear view mirrors, and your two blind spots that can only be seen reliably by looking over your shoulders. Checking all of these points except the first two (with your rearview mirror) requires some degree of head movement.

The only way to make a “realistic driving simulator” would be to put it in a car-shaped arcade chassis. But even that still wouldn’t provide the experience of the force of acceleration that’s often your first clue that you’re turning or braking too hard. (The term “gut feeling” applies very literally here. If you feel movement on the outside of your body moving against the seats, you’re probably fine. Skin is very sensitive, afterall. But if you feel a g-force tugging at your guts, you’re getting into dangerous territory.)

TripMN says:

Re: Re:

Have you been to a professional F1 race simulator before? The thing is a beauty of engineering and software. They use a semi-surround setup of visual display plus a hydraulic lift to give you the feel and of course the audio is full surround. The engine rumbles, you can feel the car start to lift if you corner too hard. It is quite realistic… to the point they warn about nausea and motion sickness.

Your driver’s ed instructor may be right about video games in general, but an immersive setup with good response control can teach you a whole lot that a ‘video game’ cannot. What they are talking about here is more of the second than the first.

Anonymous Coward says:

GT Academy as proof this CAN work...

Any licensed road racers actually commenting here that follow racing regularly?

I hold three competition licenses, including one recognized by the FIA. Nissan has been very successful with their GT Academy program and have advanced gamers all the way up to LMP1 cars (“LeMans” cars; the fastest prototypes in the world—very close in speed and more sophisticated technically than F1)

They never claim that you can learn to drive a racecar SOLELY by gaming, but many of the eye/hand coordination, racing line selection, braking technique development tasks are well served by ‘time’ on the virtual track. This may very well be FIA marketing hype—heaven knows they have enough of that garbage out there—but the concept is sound. Look at the Wikipedia article on the Nissan GT academy and you will see that this sort of program has been in place on PS platform for years and has proven to have found real-life fast guys. Really.

Anonymous Coward says:

tying this into the last post on monitoring drivers

So in the future the government and insurance companies will sit each new driver in front of an immersive driving simulator. After collecting the drivers “fingerprints” the government can then track everyone in real time whenever the person drives.

Sounds like the premise of a new dystopian movie/book. We can call it “the fast and the fingerprinted” it can be #23 in the franchise.

bwburke94 (profile) says:

Believe me, the moment that Major League Baseball teams start looking to the management of video game teams as a proving ground for hiring general managers and coaches, I’ll have a whole new career path on my hands.

“Video game” might be a misnomer in this case, they’d be looking at the text sim players. And even then, what works in Out Of The Park doesn’t always work in real life…

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually, I have to say that this is actually old news. The fact that it includes F1 is new.

For years now Nissan has been running GT Academy. In 2012, they had a person who came up from the Academy, while being sponsored by Nissan, to participate in the British GT Pro-Am. The following year, four people (again who had never participated in a race outside of the game) qualified. But these people were declared ineligible. The reason: Their course work was too good and their times were so fast that they were nearly the lap times of professional racers and would likely be the winners.

Nissan has continued to find great Gran Turismo players and sponsor them in real life races. In fact, just a couple of years ago, two people who had never raced in real life before being sponsored came in 4th place with their team at LeMans.

I have several friends who are into racing and they agree that the game provides you with the ability to learn about how things are done. There’s always going to be a learning curve once you are in the real world, but the fact that this game is producing, not just contestants, but winners speaks to what can be learned from gaming.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

On the surface, Nissan’s GT Academy looks suspiciously like just another “affirmative action” program, perhaps not unlike NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity, a driver-training program whose main objective is to push racial minorities into a traditionally lilly-white sport, and thus “diversify” it.

The driver mentioned in the Jalopnik article, Jann Mardenborough, is a Black British (about 2% of the population). Coincidence?

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