Professional racer Scott Speed has been suspended from iRacing, an online PC racing game that prides itself on realism. Speed's crime? Acting like an absolute jerk and ruining other players' experience by ramming them off of the track.
As noted by The Drive, the above scenario sounds like "just another day" in most racing games. That kind of behavior is rampant in most driving video games, including those that are supposed to be more grounded in real life like Forza and Gran Turismo. The trick here is that iRacing isn't your average racing game. It has all of the careful focus on realism offered by those games mentioned above, but it also boasts a monthly subscription, rules of conduct and actual money prizes. In other words, folks who play it are agreeing to behave themselves and respect their fellow players.
Speed, in short, is clearly incapable of that. To be clear, he's a fine driver in real life. He started his career back in 2005 in Formua 1 and has since gone on to compete in NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula E and more. It's that kind of career that got the folks at iRacing to bring him on board as an affiliated professional; the draw being that players might occasionally find themselves on the grid against some of their real-world heroes.
But while those other players are adhering to the code of conduct and respecting the time and financial investment made by other players, Speed was too busy getting frustrated and ramming other players off the road. There are many accounts online of folks providing proof of this to iRacing, which chose to basically ignore the claims.
That all changed when Speed lashed out against professional simulation racer Jake Hewlett, a streaming partner with Twitch who was broadcasting the event for all to see. The duo had an honest collision in lap two that sent Speed careening off the track. His response was to spend the rest of the race trying to return the favor. This led to those other players taking to the internet to share their own stories once again.
Apparently the collective voice got loud enough and iRacing finally hit Speed with a suspension. Since they have financial backing from entities like NASCAR and IndyCar, they probably didn't want to risk the online hate getting much louder before they acted. We've seen, in recent months, courtesy of Battlefront II and Destiny 2, what can happen if things are allowed to get too messy.
Despite the fact that everyone else was playing by the rules, Speed's response to the probation was to complain about how "this is not real life, it's a game." Sure, but it's a game those other people are investing in and hoping to earn their own winnings in, hence the rules and regulations all players are expected to adhere to. Speed, being an absolute gentleman, went so far as to challenge the manhood of anyone who complained about his actions; which is kind of funny since that kind of tact is typically exercised by the foul-mouthed children stereotypically associated with video games.
Oh, and Scott Speed's, apparently, selling his simulation racing rig following this slap on the wrist, so iRacing fans probably don't have to worry about his shenanigans returning anytime soon.