Everyone seems to be super bullish on autonomous vehicles these days. Pundits and product planners alike are hailing this technology as the industry’s next big game changer, but not everyone is so optimistic.
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Gamers worldwide anxiously awaited the announcement of Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox console today – the Xbox One – and along with the announcement came footage from the newest Forza Motorsport racing game.
The SRT Viper debuted at the New York Auto Show earlier this week and has become the new, hot, and trending topic since then. As with any vehicle debut, there’s mixed emotions and opinions about it, but overall the reception on the SRT Viper is that it’s a success.
But for most automotive enthusiasts, the new SRT Viper will be an unobtainable vehicle and many will never have the opportunity to drive one. That is unless you own an Xbox 360 and a copy of Forza Motorsport 4. The 2013 SRT Viper will be hitting the virtual racing world long before it will even hit the streets of America.
It is believed that the SRT Viper will be added as a downloadable content (DLC) sometime this summer, well ahead of the Viper’s 2013 sale date. Powered by an 8.4L V10 powerplant with 640-hp and 600 lb-ft of torque, the new SRT Viper also features a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual transmission.
Watch a video of the 2013 SRT Viper in action in Forza Motorsport 4 after the break.
Forza Motorsport 4 fans have something to look forward to on Feb. 7 when the American Le Mans Series is released as new downloadable content (DLC). The pack will give gamers 10 new virtual cars including the 2011 Audi R18 TDI 24 Hours of Le Mans champion and the 1991 Mazda 787B, the last Japanese car to win the race back in 1991.
The pack costs 560 Microsoft points, which is the equivalent of $7.00, and will be free for download to those that hold the Forza Motorsport 4 Season Pass. The rest of the cars you’ll get to get your hands on include the 2011 Platinum Motorsports Bentley Continental GT, 2010 Dodge Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Challenger SRT8, 1986 Audi Sport quattro S1, 2011 Panoz #050 Abruzzi, 1992 Alfa Romeo 155 Q4, 1995 Ford Mustang Cobra R, 2011 Holden HSV GTS, and 2011 Volkswagen Polo GTI.
Watch the video showing off the upcoming ALMS Pack for Forza Motorsport 4 after the jump.
GALLERY: Forza Motorsport 4 ALMS Pack
Thrustmaster has the next best thing to being behind the wheel of a Ferrari. All you need is an Xbox 360 and a passion for racing games.
Thrustmaster’s Ferrari 458 Italia Racing Wheel is licensed by both Xbox 360 and Ferrari, and it will take your gaming experience to a whole new level. A replica wheel of the Forza Motorsport 4 hero, the Racing Wheel measures in 11″ in diameter, making it 7/10ths the size of the original, and it comes equipped with rubber texture cladding for optimal handling. Plus, its wheel-mounted sequential gearbox features two Ferrari GT-style metal paddle shifters, so you can improve your lap times consistently.
Boasting unique design with exceptional ergonomics, the developers of the Ferrari 458 Italia Racing Wheel have thought of everything. There are various action buttons and controls that are right at your fingertips, so you can customize all the relevant settings before your race starts up. Its 270° steering radius lets you make those sharp turns every time, while the pedal set offers realistic resistance and angle, so it really feels like you’re burning rubber on the track. It also comes with an Xbox guide button with an illuminated ring that indicates the player number, a super-stable V-shaped clamping system that can be attached to any table or desk and an Xbox 360 USB 2.0 full speed cable with InLine Quick Release connector.
The Ferrari 458 Italia Racing Wheel is compatible with Xbox 360 and PC, and when it hits stores this October, you can pick it up for $89.99. To find a store that sells it near you, visit the Thrustmaster website.
Now that we’ve all had some time to settle in on the disappoint that was Gran Turismo 5, virtual racers can look forward to the upcoming release of the Xbox 360 flagship driving simulator, Forza Motorsport 4. On October 11th, gamers from all around the world will be able to experience the next installment of the Forza Motorsport series, and with it comes a limited collector’s edition packed with virtual goodies, and a few actual ones too!
The limited collector’s edition of Forza Motorsport 4 will feature a Steelbook DVD case along with a VIP virtual car pack that includes a 2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, 2011 Ferrari 458 Challenge, 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, 2010 Noble M600 and 2011 RUF Rt 12 R. Those willing to pre-order Forza Motorsport 4 will get a limited quantity “Ship Bonus” car pack which consists of a 1965 Ford Mustang GT Coupe, 2011 Koenigsegg Agera, 1997 Lexus SC300, 2011 RUF RGT-8 and 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport.
That’s not all, as there will also be a 10 car add-on pack that features some of the best American muscle cars the game has to offer. The not-so-exclusive content will be custom-designed BMW cars that were part of the Forza Motorsport 4 BMW Design Challenge. Though it will come with the collector’s edition, users will be able to purchase the content from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
Think that’s it? Of course not. Non-virtual goodies will include a 96-page book titled Cars of Forza Motorsport 4 Presented by Top Gear” and features commentary accompanying the in-game Autovista experience. You’ll also get some vinyl stickers, VIP Membership status to the online community and an exclusive BMW theme available for download on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
Last but not least, Forza Motorsport 4 is really leveraging their relationship with BMW by featuring the all new M5 as the box cover car. The M5 can be downloaded as a drivable car via Xbox LIVE Marketplace (included in the collector’s edition) and gamers will be able to enjoy Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson talk about the M5 in the Autovista mode.
Forza Motorsport 4 is shaping up to become one of the greatest, if not the greatest, driving simulator game ever. Whether or not you believe Gran Turismo still holds that title is up to you, but we’re hoping that Forza lives up to the hype, unlike its Sony-exclusive competitor.
Microsoft is enjoying a new generation of success with the release of its Kinect add-on for the Xbox 360, but true gamers aren’t fooled by all the motion-sensing gimmickry. The thought of enjoying Forza 4 while waving your hands and arms aimlessly in the air pretending to drive a car is a little discerning, to say the least. So we’re more than a little grateful to see that Microsoft will be releasing a new Wireless Speed Wheel for those that still want to hold something in their hands while they virtually drive.
Forza 4 isn’t too far behind and it looks like the release of this wheel will be synced in time for those passionate virtual racers. Interestingly enough, this wheel isn’t your standard circular steering wheel, but rather a U-shaped device that Microsoft found to be a compromise between a comfortable controller and a steering wheel. Even better is its affordable price tag at $59.99, set to release on September 26th.
The Wireless Speed Wheel does feature motion sensors for accurate steering, trigger buttons for acceleration and braking, your standard Xbox 360 buttons for game interactivity (though the shoulder buttons are noticeably missing, but shouldn’t impact driving games) and Rumble feedback. So for those that have been cringing at the price tag of Logitech’s offerings, this may be your best bet to get an affordable, real-world driving experience. Just don’t be that guy magically driving in Forza 4 with nothing in your hands…please, don’t be that guy.
GALLERY: Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel
While the entire world is still holding their breath for an actual release of Gran Turismo 5, Microsoft’s Xbox 360′s motorsports entrant is still kicking strong. One of the coolest features in Forza Motorsport 3 is the ability to create graphics for your vehicles, pixel-by-pixel or however you can if you’re talented enough. We wouldn’t say we’re not talented, we just don’t have the patience to figure out better ways to do our own graphics like some other people. But Dr. Westies is extremely talented and this isn’t his first toy for the Xbox Live players.
So for those interested in tuning the Lexus SC430 drift car look-a-like, search “DRW” or “Miki 2010″ in the Forza Motorsport 3 storefront to grab it. Dr. Westies is quick to share that the graphics package incorporates 994 layers per side of the car. That’s a whole lot of time and patience we would never have to develop our own. But hey, we’ll definitely be adding one to our collection and hopefully Dr. Westies “gets bored” more often.
GALLERY: Dr. Westies’ Forza Motorsport 3 Ryuji Miki Lexus SC430 Drift Car
Okay, so we know that not everyone is a video game junkie, so we’ll take some time to explain what’s been going on in the wonderful world of technology. Microsoft’s XBOX 360 console has entered the realm of controller-less gaming, where your body’s movements and actions will dictate what goes on in the game, essentially taking what the Nintendo Wii has offered to the public and adding another dimension to it. Through its Kinect (formerly known as Project Natal) interface, the XBOX 360 will be able to monitor your closest movements, actions and mimic them on the television.
So while just the idea that we have this technology at our disposal is amazing, implementing it for our favorite driving game simulator is overly enticing. Recently Turn 10 did a nice demo where they invited out several industry personnel to see the Kinect experience. By simply putting your hands out in the 10 and 2 position, you will be able to control your vehicle in the ever popular video game series without the need of having an actual steering wheel. We’re a little lost on how you control braking and accelerating though.
The concept is great and we look forward to XBOX 360′s Kinect to see just how it’ll revolutionize gaming, but something tells us (being hardcore car enthusiasts) we’d still prefer the actual touch and feel of a nice steering wheel, especially with the force feedback many of them provide. It may be tons of fun for casual gamers to simulate the driving experience without the actual need of additional hardware, but for now we’ll stick to what we’re used to. But hey, let’s not discredit the technology and where Forza Motorsport is heading into the future. The combination of an actual steering wheel and pedal assembly with the idea of being able to simply move your head to change your view or look around you is entertaining in its own right.
Check out the official press release after the jump.
Last year Audi of America teamed up with Xbox and Turn 10 for their first AXF-24 Challenge which featured a Forza Motorsport 3 racing experience at the Audi Forum New York City. They make another return this year for a four-hour segment during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It’s a great partnership between two very different brands, giving virtual racers an opportunity to compete while the live race is going on. The qualifying competition is ongoing on Xbox LIVE where racers compete for the fastest lap times on the Circuit de la Sarthe, the track which the 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place. Each racer must compete in the Audi Sport Team Joest R15 TDI in order to qualify.
The fastest three drivers are then invited to attend the event on June 12th where they will race live for four hours during the live event. The top virtual racer nets themselves a one-day Audi R8 sports car experience package in Sonoma, CA.
The event is also open to the public to anyone near the Audi Forum New York City. There will be a live feed of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, playable Forza Motorsport 3 kiosks, catered food, open bar (we’re not promoting driving drunk, even virtually!) and prizes and souvenirs at the door. Make sure to check the official press release for an RSVP email. We’re sure it’s limited.
Official press release available after the break.