Skip to main content

'Driveclub' on PS4 turns drifting into a team effort

'Driveclub' on PS4 turns drifting into a team effort


Racing together, alone

Share this story

It took five tries, but I finally beat that drifting challenge. My Audi RS 5 coupe smoothly slid its way around five corners, racking up thousands of points, and my reward is a sweet new Bentley. But I'm not the only who gets the beautiful luxury sedan: every other member of my team gets one as well. Driveclub for the PlayStation 4 lets you team up with up to five other players to form a racing "club," and as your group levels up, you progress through the game together. You're no longer just drifting in a vacuum.

Since the launch of the Xbox One and PS4, video game developers have seemed intent on squeezing as much social interaction into their games as possible. The two biggest shooters of the year, Titanfall and Destiny, require an internet connection to play. Even a more typically single-player-style experience like Watch Dogs lets other players randomly "hack" into your game for a competitive one-on-one challenge. These are obvious examples, but sometimes the social interactions are much more passive. The most recent games in the Forza series, for example, including the excellent new Forza Horizon 2, feature a system that replaces AI racers with drivers that behave the same way your Xbox Live buddies do. It's a new take on multiplayer: you're not actually playing with your friends, but they're always there.

You're no longer just drifting in a vacuum

Driveclub takes a different approach to the same basic idea. Initially it feels a lot like every other racing game since the first Gran Turismo. You start out with a dinky little car — my first vehicle was a Mini Cooper — and you slowly make your way up to prettier, faster cars and more challenging events. There are standard races where you're trying to come in first, and trials where you need to beat a specific time. Driveclub even features drifting challenges that let you pretend you're in The Fast and the Furious. The game sits somewhere between a simulation and an arcade experience: the controls are forgiving and approachable, but you still get the joy of getting behind the wheel of real cars ranging from a Volkswagen Golf to a McLaren P1 (unfortunately you can't customize your rides at all, aside from giving them a new paint job).

The game's focus on passive social interaction is clear from the moment you start racing. Driveclub loves to let you know how well other racers — both friends and strangers — did on the same course, and then compare those efforts. When you pull off a sweet drift, which earns you experience points for style, a pop-up might appear showing how your score compares to another random player. The same goes for the top speed you reached on a particular straightaway, or just how cleanly you took that corner. And if your score happens to be better than your random competition, you earn a little extra experience. These events happen with no provocation from you: they're just moments that constantly remind you that other people are playing this game as well, and they provide a little extra incentive to do better.

Things go a step further with the titular club feature. This lets you form a racing team of up to six people, but the club isn't a place where you just race around with buddies. Instead, it adds a second layer of progression to the game. Everything you do in the game solo — whether it's win a race or pull off a flawless turn — builds up your experience, unlocking new content like races and cars. The club is sort of like a separate progression track: everything you do also goes towards your club level, and it's pooled together with the achievements of your teammates.

I haven't even interacted with any of my fellow club members yet

It's a bit weird, but it's also necessary, as much of the game's content can only be unlocked by leveling up your club. There are certain cars and features that can only be accessed by joining up with others. Every time I log into the game, I get a progress update on all the work everyone else did while I wasn't playing. It's pretty satisfying to get a new BMW when you aren't even online. The odd part is that I haven't even interacted with any of my fellow club members yet; instead, we're just silently working towards a single goal together by playing the game solo. It makes me wonder why we're even in a club to begin with.

This set-up, along with the ability to make and share challenges with other players, turns Driveclub from an otherwise fairly standard racing game into a surprisingly addictive experience. But it didn't really make me feel any more social. I was seeing other players everywhere; I even partnered with some strangers to form a team, but they were just names and numbers I was competing with, another obstacle on the way to that shiny new car.

Playing Driveclub is like living with the internet: you're more connected than ever before, but that doesn't mean you're not alone.

Driveclub is available on the PS4 today

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Two hours ago Striking out

Andrew WebsterTwo hours ago
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterTwo hours ago
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.

External Link
Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.

External Link
Insiders made the most money off of Helium’s “People’s Network.”

Remember Helium, which was touted by The New York Times in an article entitled “Maybe There’s a Use for Crypto After All?” Not only was the company misleading people about who used it — Salesforce and Lime weren’t using it, despite what Helium said on its site — Helium disproportionately enriched insiders, Forbes reports.