If I were beta testing it, I prolly wouldn't volunteer the fact.. but the NDA couldn't legally obligate you to lie. It would be a conflict in law, and therefore an NDA worth diddly, legally. So it's down to just saying nothing at all.
I would imagine the NDA prohibits any beta tester from divulging specfic information about iRacing, and it's system, also, it would probably prohibit those under it from divulging that they are indeed beta testing it.
The either/or construction of that argument is a veil, illusion parading as common sense. But, while there is also the option of getting what you want for the right price (as well as many other options), ultimately you are right to say that people will pay whatever they believe it is worth. Because value is all about belief.
Hence, the marketing for this product has emphasised the amount of time, the amount of labour put into to it. They want you to understand it as a premium product worth a premium price. A free demo would open that intricately constructed image to the subjectivity of the user. So a free demo is not available. It stinks of control, and I know for sure that if we pay the price now, it simply sets a price for future incarnations and has the knock-on effect of reducing diversity (look at the housing market in the UK for lessons on how belief pushes prices way beyond any practical value)
Am i being cynical? Possibly. I don't know. But I do know that as a casual sim racer there is no value for me in this kind of structure. $20 for setting up my controls and doing a few laps to a) find out how well my computer copes graphically and b) find my braking points on an unfamiliar circuit. No thanks...
As said before: I don't buy a game without having a proper FREE demo to test before.
Apart from that, with wheel you have the problem that usually cheap wheels last around 4 month till the fall apart. But you can buy buggy software on all price ranges.
About the price thingy: I would have no problem if iRacing was 100€ (if they cut the subscription) and actually (still to be proven) worth the buy. But with the subscription comes the problem you pay every time, it's like renting it, and you can't predict where iRacing is heading to after 6 month... (worst case)
$100 seems to be that magical price - anything over $100 is viewed as unreasonable and I think that's the problem with PC games. The Logitech G25 and iRacing are both targeting the sim market - yet one is hardware the other is software. I have no idea which one cost more to develop, but I know which one has more value to me.
How many people would spend more than $100 to buy iRacing?
How many people wouldn't mind paying $12/month?
The bet the second option is much more attractive to most people even if they absolutely loathe the idea of renting a game.
I would agree to pay $40-$50 for the "engine" (and all subsequent patches, naturally) and $10 or so per car/track (again, that includes all future updates, if there are any). For about $100 I would have months worth of gameplay (Formula Mazda + Laguna Seca + Watkins Glen + 2 random cars/tracks). But they would have to be mine forever, none of that subscription business.
EDIT: actually, if I found out the cars and tracks were THAT good, I could probably pay $20-25 for them. But I would like to own content.
I'd happily pay $100+ for it if i actually got to own a bit of software. Something i could use offline, and use online how i wanted too, not having every aspect of my sim racing fun controlled by the developers.
I like serious racing and well organised competition some of the time, that's why i love racing in the GPC netKar pro league, but you need a bit of light relief to balance it out. That seems to be missing with iRacing from what i read in ASS.
Having just read the ASS article and realising there wont even be provision for private leagues to begin with, I'm even less impressed.
Other sims will appear in the future with equally decent physics and without the gimmick of laser scanned tracks, which is where all the money is going.
I'm all for fairly accurate tracks, don't get me wrong, but that level of detail isn't worth the price you have to pay for it. Especially when you don't even get to own it.
I drive mostly offline in LFS, a habit I've found hard to break. But being forced to go online with iRacing would probably force a different kind of mentality for me, and that would probably be worth getting used to.
Similarly, for LFS, I would much prefer if each track had its own set time of day and weather conditions which was upheld across the board. I know some people don't want that (due to only being able to race at certain times of the day)- but I like the idea as it just cements things a bit more in reality.
Whether i'd pay for iRacing will depend mostly on what other people are saying about it, and then I'd really need to weigh it up. That's how you buy most things in the world- it's common to test demo software before you buy yet not all software allows you to do that. Admittedly, iRacing is very expensive. I'm not looking forward to telling my girlfriend about it when it comes out.
That's the problem. If they're charging ~$125 to rent the game for a year, I'd imagine they would charge even more to "own" the game either to cover their costs or because they're an evil money grubbing company.
As I said before, $100 seems reasonable but anything more than $100 and no one except moose is going to buy it.
I have to say, if it was a 100% finished/polished SIM that i was very happy with, didn't look like a cartoon, had no bugs, had as much or more content than the Gran Turismo series, and had no stupid rFactor-like diluted mod scene, then i would happily pay hundreds of pounds to own it tbh.
Perhaps i would even consider venturing into the four figure bracket...