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iRacing is Working On a Career Mode: What Does it Mean for NASCAR Gaming?

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Greg Hill, the Senior Vice President and Executive Producer of iRacing, sent out a long letter to iRacing players. Most notably, he specifically mentioned that iRacing is working on a career mode.

This is notable, as iRacing is a multiplayer game that has never had a career mode. It also comes at an interesting time with the state of NASCAR gaming being in flux. What does this announcement mean for both iRacing, and NASCAR gaming as a whole.

What Does This Mean for NASCAR Gaming?

NASCAR recently teased a “Substantial announcement” to Sports Business Journal’s Hunter Cooke when it comes to NASCAR console gaming on July 20. Many theorized about what it could mean from a new developer to a new console NASCAR game.

One of the most popular theories was iRacing taking over the NASCAR console gaming license. Many fans are clambering for iRacing to take this license from the current holder, Motorsport Games.

Obviously, the natural rebuttal to that is that iRacing has never made a console NASCAR video game. iRacing is not so much a video game as it is a racing simulator, and it is hard for casual gamers to get into it for one reason or another.

However, iRacing has put themselves in the console gaming sphere recently. In 2022, iRacing acquired Monster Games, who also developed the NASCAR Heat Franchise and the classic NASCAR Dirt to Daytona.

Most recently the two partnered on World of Outlaws: Dirt Racing, which released in 2022. Monster Games developed with iRacing publishing. An update was also announced to the game that will be released on August 15th

iRacing has begun dabbling in the console gaming sphere, and developing a career mode for their simulator may just be a further step in that direction. It’s impossible to tell definitively that this is an audition for trying to help on the next console NASCAR video game, but it does make them more marketable.

What Does it Mean for iRacing?

In the immediate future, it does not mean much. There were no specifics given on the career mode, but, Hill does say in his statement that the focus will be on realism.

DJ-Yee J in the above video theorized that this could be a “NASCAR console gaming killer”. That is the most extreme of scenarios, but, it is possible to some extent. He does also theorize how this can be something that could allow iRacing to audition for the NASCAR console gaming license.

However, as it noted by the video, this career mode is far from the only thing that iRacing is currently working on. Therefore, it’s not going to be an update that’s added to the simulation in two or three weeks.

Given the fact that this will be on iRacing, a multiplayer simulator, the way this career mode can work out will be interesting. Will this be a fully-multiplayer experience where you work your way up against real life competitors online? Will this just be a basic single player mode?

With the emphasis being on realism, this has the potential breach the level of depth that the old EA Sports NASCAR career modes had or even the NASCAR Heat games. However, it’s important to remember that iRacing is not for the casual gamer.

Will the career mode be more leaned towards the casual console gaming, or will it lean towards the simulation that iRacing is? Those are the questions that need to be answered.

This announcement could be a small blip on the radar, or it could be the beginning of the changing of NASCAR console gaming as we know it. No one knows quite yet, and as that “Substantial announcement” looms, stories like this could mean a lot.

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Joshua Lipowski

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