The upcoming new entry in the Trackmania franchise – infuriatingly called simply “Trackmania” – has been revealed to be a free game that will also come with two tiers of paid subscriptions.

Starter (the free tier), Standard and Club Access have all been detailed below:

  • “Starter Access: Free for players to race solo or multiplayer on quarterly renewed official campaigns, including 25 tracks, allowing players to earn medals and record scores in the regional rankings. Players will be able to enjoy other player’s creations on the Arcade Channel, try various editors (tracks, replays and skins) and map review servers. The weekly Nations League is also available for casual competitions.
  • Standard Access: In addition to the free content, Standard Access expands the content available with player creations, including the ‘Track of the Day’ selection, and full access to replay, track editors and map review servers. Additionally, players can participate in daily competitions and keep every ‘Track of the Day’ and ‘Official’ campaign track. One year of standard access is available for $9.99 [~R174].
  • Club Access: Including the above, Club Access allows players to join their favorite clubs to access exclusive content and activities such as skin customization, special campaigns, online rooms, training tracks and competitions. They can also create their own club to share their creations and organize events. Players can participate in the Open Grand League, organized by Ubisoft Nadeo, and try to qualify for the Trackmania Grand League. One year of the Club Access is available for $29.99 [~R520] or three years for $59.99. [~R1 041]”

Reading the feedback from the community so far and the general consensus seems to be that this model is a bit unnecessary at best and a cash grab at worst.

Ubisoft Nadeo Managing Director, Florent Castelnerac, explains in an announcement that this business model allows newcomers to get a taste of the game for free while locking away the advanced stuff for more experienced players who will actually use it.

While we see the logic here we can’t help but feel like a standard single purchase game with a free demo would have accomplished the same thing without high investment players needing to continue paying for access in perpetuity.

Trackmania launches on 1st July on the Epic Games Store and Uplay. The fact that the game isn’t on Steam is yet another point of contention.

We’ll have to wait for July to see if players are willing to pay for this game, and if the subscription model is justified with developer support in the future after that.