Racing games are one of the most popular genres on the Xbox and other consoles. Their basic concept of letting you race a digital car around a circuit allowed them to become one of the first 3D video games ever made. 

But from the early titles like Pole Position, two distinct categories of racing game have emerged. The first is the arcade-style title which sacrifices realism to focus purely on fun features. Popular titles in this genre include Mario Kart, Out Run, and Crazy Taxi. 

The second type is the racing simulator. These games are designed to be as close to real-life car racing as possible and include realistic physics and the ability to tweak the minutiae of a car’s setup. 

Increased TV, social media, and press coverage of sports like Formula 1 have helped to increase the public’s interest in these types of games. Sports betting has likely also played a role. Wagering on an F1 Grand Prix involves fans analysing details like how well the car suits the circuit to predict the outcome. In more recent years, sports betting websites have been offering no-deposit free bets to their customers, helping to create even more interest in the activity. 

Applying this expertise to racing simulators, the most astute players can recreate the conditions of a real-life race and then test their own driving skills. 

How Accurate Are Modern Simulators?

Car racing is all based on physics, so with the computing power found in modern consoles and gaming PCs, it is actually pretty easy to replicate how a car would behave in different scenarios. 

For example, a car with too much front brake bias could have a tendency to understeer, while excess rear bias could create oversteer. It is easy to tweak the values in a physics calculation and represent this in a video game.

Combining this with modern force-feedback steering wheels and other hardware, it is possible to create a gaming experience that is very close to actually sitting in a race car on a circuit. 

So much so, many professional racing drivers use simulators to practice and some “sim-racers” have even made the jump to real-world competitions. 

Can Racing Simulators Get Much Better?

There is unlikely much more that can be improved in the physics area. The most realistic games are already as accurate as they could ever be in this regard. 

And while graphics are already getting close to rivalling reality, there is still some room for improvement. 

However, perhaps the biggest step that racing simulation games could make would be to fully embrace virtual reality. Some have already begun to do this and there are mods that can be used to add VR functionality to titles like F1 2020, but more work is needed. 

Having a VR environment to race in would help to add towards the feeling that you really are strapped behind the wheel of a car as your peripheral vision will be filled with your surroundings, whizzing by while you focus on making an apex. 

As this gets added to racing games moving forward, simulators become the ultimate driving experience outside of an actual car.