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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

More Games to Feature Porsche?

John Marine | 9:11 PM | | |
With news of Electronic Arts losing their Porsche license, could it ignite interest in bringing Porsche to more games? There is a reason why we play racing/driving games- accessing cars we may never get to drive, let alone see. People who have played Gran Turismo games often complain about a lack of certain car companies. As a Gran Turismo fan, people always complained about no Ferrari, Porsche, or Lamborghini. Gran Turismo HD debuted Ferrari. Gran Turismo PSP debuted Lamborghini. Could a future Gran Turismo debut Porsche?

Porsche and Electronic Arts

I'll use this picture from one of my Facebook photo albums to set the mood here.

Porsche EA Gran Turismo
^ from: (one of my Facebook profile photo albums) - Find out about my thoughts on Porsche not extending their exclusive contract with Electronic Arts by reading this blog post!

Let's go through some talking points now.

Porsche With Electronic Arts.

Let's be honest. Electronic Arts has done absolutely nothing with the Porsche license besides "Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed." Most of their other offerings was just to exhibit Porsche in crappy illegal street racing games. So it is a breath of fresh air that Porsche did away with the exclusive license deal with EA. As I was going to post my initial draft of this topic, I thought about another game that had Porsche featured from EA- Sports Car GT. Both the PlayStation 1 and PC versions of SCGT featured Porsche.

Here is a bit of critical commentary. If you have an exclusive contract with something, it means a company sticks with you and trusts you in that no one else can deliver a better product. It is almost as if you have sponsors who sponsor your material because they trust you are a great entity to promote and respect you. EA basically have (pardon my choice of words) prostituted their Porsche license so you can play crappy games with a historic marque like Porsche. Not all EA games are crappy- mostly Need for Speed since "NFS: Underground" is what I mostly mean in regards to "crappy EA racing games." I am not going to put the NFS Shift games in the same category because I thought the Shift games were pretty good.

Basically, Electronic Arts has kept away the Porsche license from others as if EA doesn't want anyone else "ruining" the Porsche license. It is also as if Porsche feels only EA can deliver the best performance and usage of their license deal. To be honest, all EA done is just hold onto that exclusive licensing deal so that more qualified and much better games and game developers will be unable to utilize Porsche as EA has. I even hear some people say that EA has Porsche so that they don't have companies like Ferrari trying to one-up Porsche in their games. Almost as if to say "Ferrari and Lamborghini are better than Porsche, so we decide not to be included in games featuring either or both companies in order for us to avoid being decimated by these two marques."

Porsche With Other Developers.

So Electronic Arts had the whole exclusive thing going. What about other companies that tried to get their hands on Porsche? It was the Forza Motorsport series by Turn 10 that really utilized Porsche well outside of EA. I was even surprised at how well Turn 10 was able to feature Porsche even with EA's stranglehold of the Porsche license. Having been on GTPlanet since 2003, the one thing I kept seeing people complain about was how Gran Turismo and Polyphony Digital could never secure major car companies. It is as if only Ferrari, Porsche, and Lamborghini matter most. So in other words... Alfa Romeo is not a world-class manufacturer? Mercedes-Benz isn't a world-class car company? Pagani doesn't make real supercars? Heck, even GT4 had Bentley... granted it was only the 2003 Le Mans-winning prototype. Tourist Trophy had Ducati. For most people, though, they don't matter all that much. Even late in the development of Gran Turismo 4, a lot of people bolted towards Forza Motorsport 1 because they feel like Gran Turismo cares more about Kei cars and Skyline/GT-Rs than supercars from world-class manufacturers. Ruf is NOT a new car company to Gran Turismo- it debuted in Gran Turismo 2. A lot of other games have featured Ruf instead of Porsche.

There have been a handful of racing Porsches in other games. SimBin's GTR games featured Porsche racing models in their games. There was also a game for the PlayStation 1 called Porsche Challenge. In this game, you only raced the Porsche Boxster. Versions of "Test Drive: Le Mans" and "Le Mans 24 Hours" featured Porsche, but obviously couldn't use the Porsche namesake for copyright issues. ToCA Race Driver 2 had one series feature the Koenig C62- kind of Koenig's version of the Porsche 962C. ToCA Race Driver 3 had the Gemballa GTR 750. It was tough to try to get proper Porsche licensing in games. So many have looked to either not use the Porsche name or look for cars from companies like Ruf and Gemballa.

That Ruf Company...

Many developers feel like because they can't get Porsche, they (in the minds of some) "have to settle for Ruf." Almost as if Ruf is a substitute for the car company that has no substitute. I think this news will mean Ruf probably won't be in as many games now as long as Porsche is given a fair chance to be in games. Let this be said- Ruf is NOT a replacement. It is not a glorified placeholder for Porsche. Ruf, in their own right, makes some incredible cars. I personally love the CTR3. You can race this car in games like "The Crew" and even "Project C.A.R.S." If you ask me, I'd include Porsche AND Ruf.

Contractual Matters.

Maybe the most puzzling aspect of this entire deal is the notion of an exclusive contract anyways. Having an exclusive contract is almost like marrying someone. Especially if you are a jerk of a spouse to your significant other, you feel great knowing that you have something no one else can ever have. Porsche must have agreed to an exclusive contract because they feel EA is the only game developer that can satisfy the needs of showcasing Porsche and that no one else can do better.

We all know that isn't true. To express something completely different, there was a time when 2K Sports made their own NFL game even though EA's Madden NFL franchise was the game all NFL fans were enjoying. Some people even love ESPN NFL 2K5 over even Madden NFL 2005 around that time. Having an exclusive franchise means you get to properly use and utilize a license and all it is worth; and if anyone wants to try their own featuring of a company, they'll have to go through a litany of obstacles just to try to use that license and that company's products. Maybe EA would be better respected if they weren't trying to play "hard to get" in trying to use Porsche products. That's why when Turn 10 (the developers of the Forza Motorsport series) couldn't initially use Porsche in Forza Motorsport 4, scores of "butthurt" Forza Motorsport fans were disappointed. Even Turn 10 Creative Director Dan Greenawalt was disappointed in the initial stages of Forza Motorsport, and rightfully so. They had Porsche in FM1 through FM3 originally. Why they couldn't secure Porsche early in FM4 is beyond me. FM4 would eventually get Porsche in.

Let's mention a more relevant matter. There was a time when SEGA had the Ferrari license. At least SEGA stayed true to the Ferrari license and featured Ferrari in a nice assortment of games. Maybe one of their finest efforts was "Sega Ferrari 355 Challenge" (a game reviewed here on "John's Race Space"). They did even better when they made "OutRun 2" and "OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast." At least unlike EA, SEGA wasn't trying to be the evil empire or play "hard to get" for those who wanted to use Ferrari in their games.

Electronic Arts were probably aware other companies could better use Porsche; they just won't let them. So if you're the one most able to use and utilize a company like Porsche in this case, at least make good on your efforts. EA did only one Porsche job best- "Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed." Besides this game? Well, let's see... having Porsche mostly in illegal street racing games and in Hollywood-style racing/driving games. Is THAT how you want to exhibit Porsche- a company with many fabulous road-going cars and a legendary motorsports heritage spanning many decades? I'm sorry, EA- you haven't done too much to make Porsche enjoyable. This "you have to go through me" mentality isn't helping the racing/driving game community when you know other game companies can do a much better job of showcasing Porsche than what you've shown. I doubt people will play any EA racing game being inspired to one day own a Porsche. Even cars in Gran Turismo games got me to imagining one day seeing certain cars in person. All EA has done (in my opinion) is make it tough for more qualified and talented developers to feature Porsche since having the Porsche exclusive license. Having a contract with Porsche is one thing; having an EXCLUSIVE one is another. It is the ultimate act of selfishness to have an exclusive contract, especially if your featuring of the product is substandard compared to what other companies could potentially do if given the same contract. And if people think your product is not all that good with that gorgeous exclusive contract, all this does is hurt your reputation and make you more of a whiny prick who doesn't want to share. Therefore, I question the exclusive contract between EA and Porsche rather than any basic contract between the two.

Now on to address the elephant in the room as far as Gran Turismo is concerned...

Will Gran Turismo FINALLY Feature Porsche?

So with Porsche doing away with extending the exclusive license with Electronic Arts, will that open the door for Polyphony Digital to finally include Porsche? Will all the "butthurt" Gran Turismo fans finally get to see and race Porsche models? Will the whining end? Let me be the one to say... that dream may finally come true. The future is a bit bright you can have Ferrari and Lamborghini, and now Porsche as well.

How Can Polyphony Digital Utilize Porsche?

Polyphony Digital is NOT going to disappoint unless they decide to only feature so few Porsche models. The first order of business would be to include many of the modern Porsches. You know this will include featuring machines like the entry-level Porsche- the Cayman. You then go ahead and offer as many generations of the 911 Carerra as you can. The 924 and 928 are fine Porsche models as well. I surely wouldn't mind having the Porsche 911 GT2 of the 2000s. The two Porsches I would love to see most are the Porsche 911 GT1 and one of the most gorgeous cars of the 2000s- the Carerra GT.

Now on to two curious models- the Cayenne and the Panamera. Do you include these as well? I actually wouldn't mind racing or tuning a Cayenne, or even the new Macan in the Gran Turismo realm. That leaves the Panamera now. People either love or loathe the Panamera. The former describes my thoughts on the Panamera. People will complain about the Panamera being ugly. I actually think it is handsome. Almost as if to say people will hate the Panamera, but they'll buy a Cayenne easily. So I would even want to buy and tune a Panamera to race any doggone well I so choose in a Gran Turismo.

I especially would want to see the 917 and the 962 on the racing front. You can take your pick of any Porsche 962 models. The Porsche 962 won Le Mans even the year I was born (1983). Perhaps my favorite 962 was the Coca-Cola Porsche 962. It also would be great to see the 1998 Porsche 911 GT1 that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright. Don't forget the dime-a-dozen (or seemingly) 911 RSRs. To be in line with Gran Turismo 6 having Base Model race cars, it would be cool to see base versions of the 911 RSR and the Porsche Cup cars. It also wouldn't hurt having the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP. Unlike Ferrari and Lamborghini, Porsche even has some off-road racing experience. So imagine seeing the Porsche 959 (another important car to include) in both its road-going form as well as the 959 that raced the Paris-Dakar Rally in the 1980s. When I mentioned off-road racing, I am not counting or disregarding the Ferrari-powered Lancia Stratos that dominated rally in its time. I personally love the 550A Spyder the most. Unfortunately, it is forever linked in the death of James Dean.

No matter what you think about the Gran Turismo series, one thing it does best if offer material outside of what most mainstream types know of. We've seen rare and underrated automobiles featured in games. I would be fully surprised if a Gran Turismo game featured some kind of rare Porsche outside of what most Porsche lovers would see in a game. Only one I can really think of would be one of the rare road-going versions of the Porsche 962C.

Porsche in Gran Turismo can be an excellent opportunity to expand the GT lineup. And to some others, it would be something a long time coming. PD can only hurt themselves trying to make good of Porsche in their game. It remains to be seen how PD plays the Porsche card.

Final Thoughts

I think it is great news that Porsche decided not to extend its exclusive licensing deal with Electronic Arts simply because EA hasn't done anything truly tremendous with their license. To put it as an analogy, Porsche's exclusive contract deal with EA is like a woman remaining married with some man just to avoid being taken by any more handsome, more respectful man- knowing they are out there who would lovingly want to be with her. This divorce (so to speak) of Porsche and EA gives easier access and life to other developers to put forth more quality racing game products utilizing one of the world's most legendary car companies and racing programs. Maybe those other developers would be better served to offer as many of Porsche's fine cars in their games. EA thinks it is helping themselves by featuring Porsche as an exclusive company; but really, they have done very little impressive to make good of Porsche. EA has done better with the Madden NFL games as opposed their utilization of Porsche in their racing/driving games. If you're going to have an exclusive license and not do much good with it, maybe it's time for some other developer(s) to make good of the license. I'm sorry if I offend fans of the Need for Speed series (especially NFS Underground and later), but this is really long overdue. Gran Turismo fans can even feel happy knowing the series they thought cared more about Skylines and Lancers than real sports cars may have hope of seeing Porsche enter the Gran Turismo series at long last.

I am a good bit biased discussing Porsche in the respect of the Gran Turismo series, but this could be a boon for various other racing games and driving games to feature Porsche proper including the aforementioned Gran Turismo series. You don't have to deal with EA any longer if you want to have Porsche proper in your racing/driving game now that the exclusive contract is no more. It's sad for EA, but life goes on. You can still be the "evil empire" many see you as. Let other developers do a better... and maybe MUCH better job of featuring Porsche. EA's exclusive deal with Porsche is almost like people in social media who are friends with certain individuals just to say they are friends with those individuals. You know- they only want to mooch on feeling privileged to be a friend of yours but don't want to show it with honest and sincere comments and posts. Basically, people just trying to jocking your swagger and get a free ride. I wouldn't be surprised to see certain other game makers make better quality material using Porsche than EA almost entirely have done. All I can say is that this is quite a game changer. And perhaps... a game changer coming not a moment too soon.

Cross-Promotion/Other Reading.

Here were previous thoughts of mine regarding Porsche in Gran Turismo and if it would ever happen:

Porsche in Gran Turismo? (John's Race Space)
^ These were old thoughts of mine about Gran Turismo featuring Porsche.

Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed (John's Race Space)
^ This is my blog review of "Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed."

That's all for this blog post!

Those are my thoughts, at least, on the whole matter of Porsche and EA no longer having an exclusive contract deal. What do YOU think about all of this? Remember to Subscribe and Follow my blog(s) in some capacity if you want more of my content available to you when the latest items become available. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Brad P said...

Hi John, I have been a Sim-Racer for a few years now I've read your blog here on Porsche in Sim racing and I was not able to find mention of Assetto Corsa, Kunos hold license for both Ferrari and Porsche the third Porsche pack DLC is available in the coming weeks around the 24th I think. It is also available on console but has been developed by 505games for Kunos. Please take a look at it, on PC apart from iRacing I would struggle to say whether I prefer Assetto Corsa or Rfactor2 it is definately one of the better sims. Project Cars and it's successor I fear are what I might refer to as "Simcade" but I know some would draw and quarter me for saying that.

Hi-v Fandom said...

> This "you have to go through me" mentality isn't helping the racing/driving game community when you know other game companies can do a much better job of showcasing Porsche than what you've shown

Definitely a well-said word!

Speaking of EA and Porsche here, I guess you made a great point which relates me very much. I haven't played many of more recent installments of NFS, but I do play Real Racing 3, another game which also features Porsche. Sure it's good to see EA featuring them, but then again Porsche wanted to have its products reach not only EA's audience, but also other racing and sim-racing ones. Porsche has a strong motorsport DNA which should work well with racing sim titles.

I wrote about that on my recent article <a href=">here</a> (apologizes if it's a mish-mash of thoughts, I'll try to think about coding the sections on my future posts). Here, I do think that Porsche Unleashed is the best Porsche-exclusive game ever done by EA, and sadly recent NFS titles didn't have the same kick (Real Racing 3 on the other hand is really good when it comes to showcasing more recent Porsche cars).

All said, I'm looking forward for more developers to include Porsche in their games.

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