Like most other virtual racers I eagerly awaited the release of Assetto Corsa and purchased it the day it was released. I was stunned by how polished it was as an alpha/beta/early access game and enjoyed not only the superb visuals but the crisp believable handling of the cars as I threw them around the laser scanned tracks. As each week went by I looked forward to the next batch of fortnightly content and was happy to see each new car and track was crafted as well as the last. Not even the silly bickering on the Steam forums over whose game was better could dull my enthusiasm or the banal criticism’s by the console gamers because you couldn’t ‘pimp’ your car with gaudy body-kits like Forza Motorsport or that the game didn’t already have 1000 cars like Gran Turismo. Each new announcement via their web-site or Facebook page brought more excitement – a new manufacturer license, a laser scanned Nordschleife – the future looks bright… Then it happened. The first quick and dirty conversion quite literally ripped from another game. News spread and this track suddenly became the hot topic, the ‘must have’ despite it being taken warts-and-all from a game released nearly 10 years ago. Rather than herald this new ‘mod’ it left me despairing for the racing sim community. While many virtual racers and racing simulation sites rightly shunned discussion of this ‘rip’ there were many more making asinine excuses for the author essentially taking this work without permission and grafting it into a new sim. Theft is theft no matter if you ‘get away with it’ or not or even that you give it away freely. It reminded me of rFactor and how when it was released it showed so much promise. For months we saw 3d meshes being shown by talented mod makers working their magic on new cars and tracks made from scratch. It all seemed so exciting and then conversion tools reared their ugly heads. All of a sudden sites like rFactor Central were awash with poorly ripped work from Grand Prix Legends, Geoff Crammonds Grand Prix 4 among others. Far from pushing the genre forward it felt like we were now going backwards. The same racers who argued over the radius of a hairpin in Simbin’s rendition of Macau were suddenly silent when rFactor became awash with low poly conversions of 10 year old games complete with poorly defined racing surfaces, low resolution textures and cardboard cut-out tree’s and track side objects which screamed ‘FAKE’ as you sped past them. Questionably legal content appeared and then disappeared from the net as lawyers and mod makers played cat and mouse. Is this really where we want to go with Assetto Corsa? - A step backwards porting generations old content complete with all their imperfections into a next gen simulation? There was a ‘gold rush’ in rFactor when the conversion tools appeared to be ‘the first’ to bring a popular track to rFactor, be it Spa or Brands Hatch for example so why would someone spend time carefully building a track from scratch when others are just ripping it from another game and fudging it into this new sim. Have our expectations really been lowered so far that we’d accept the grave robbing zombification of old content like this?