Real Racing 3 is a brilliant game crippled by EA’s greed

Real Racing 3 is a brilliant game crippled by EA’s greed

Real Racing 3

$503.22 MSRP

Buy Game

The Real Racing series has delivered enjoyable titles to mobile devices, and Real Racing 3 could have continued that tradition. With licensed cars, real tracks, the ability to drive against real people in every race as the game pulls data from your runs to populate to the games of others… it’s filled with everything you want in a racing game. It feels good to play, features impressive graphics, especially on a later-generation iPad, and it’s even free-to-play!

Yeah, that last part is where the whole thing goes to shit.

Monetization run amok

There is nothing inherently wrong with free-to-play games, with some titles handling monetization better than others. Path of Exile does free-to-play very well, as do mobile games like Hero Academy. It becomes frustrating when the game begins to arbitrarily throw roadblocks in your path simply to get you to pay. I played about 20 minutes of Real Racing 3 before the consumer-hostile monetization practices made me want to slam my iPad into the wall.

First, the game forces you to wait when you upgrade your car. The first upgrade I bought for in-game cash took two minutes to install in my car. Or I could pay gold to get the parts instantly. There is no game play reason to make upgrades take time to add to your car; this was done simply to get gold out of the player. You can always buy more gold after all. Your car will suffer from wear and tear in the course of normal racing, even if you don’t take much damage, and those repairs also take time. Because the most fun you can have in a game is paying money to end a needless wait. 

Dan Greenawalt from Turn 10, developer of the Forza titles, once explained how their games are designed to reduce as much friction as possible. The menus should be simple to navigate, they allow you to rewind races if you’d like to fix a crash in the last corner, and there are fun things to tweak, watch, interact with, or race all over the place. His goal is to create a game that keeps you glued to your seat, playing for hours and having a great time. That’s how you make a racing game. Real Racing 3 invents new ways to stop your momentum in order to get more money out of the player.

Each racing series requires you to have specific cars, and you can either grind for insane amounts of time to earn the money needed to buy them, or pay real money. It takes real time to repair your car if you’re not willing to pay gold. The values of these in-game items are absurd.

“There are 46 licensed vehicles to collect, most of which can be purchased with cash earned from completing in-game events, while others require copious amounts of gold, the game’s premium purchasable currency. For instance, the Koenigsegg Agera R costs 800 gold,” Kotaku’s review stated. “1,000 gold costs $99.99 in the in-app store. You might be able to accumulate that much through normal play, but no… you won’t.”

Once I saw how the system was set up I walked away from the game in disgust, but other writers were more than willing to dissect this turd to try out just how horrible the whole thing has become.

“To earn enough money to buy every car in Real Racing 3, what would it take? Our numbers show that it would take over 472 hours to earn enough money to buy all of the cars in the game. Or to purchase all of the cars with real money via in-app purchase, it would cost $503.22 at the current best rate,” an article in 148apps explained. That is the amount of time and resources it would take to get to 100 percent in the game. You could buy an Xbox 360 and a PS3 for the money it would take to see all that Real Racing 3 has to offer.

Your wallet won’t get out alive

The value of the in-game items, as onerous as it is, almost doesn’t bother me as much as the time investment. Mobile games are great to take out at a moment’s notice, and the idea of playing a quick race anywhere is appealing.

That convenience is a large reason why smart phone games have become such big business, so why force the gamer to wait to use the items they’ve purchased? The idea that the game is basically holding your items ransom for a set amount of time unless you give them more money is disgusting, and it goes against everything that makes mobile or racing games so much fun.

The only way to stop this bullshit is to not download the game. Don’t give them money. Show them just how much we hate this sort of behavior. A free-to-play racing game where you buy packs of cars at a time, or even a series of events, isn’t a terrible idea if the economics aren’t insane, but Real Racing 3 is pure greed.

I want to be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy my racing games without feeling like I have to insert a dollar or two every few events, and Real Racing 3 shows a frightening lack of respect for the player. It was built from the ground up to get money, and no one seemed to notice how much this killed the fun of the game.