Why All New Cars Should Be Tested by Amateurs, Like Games

There's always a lot we can learn by looking at companies at the top of their game – Tesla, Apple, Facebook and so on. I'm honestly bewildered right now at the size an scope of the gaming industry, which probably has more money than Hollywood right now. Heck, give it a decade and it might even replace Hollywood altogether, as I'll take an immersive experience over a badly scripted Michael Bay movie every time.
Hugely successful games like The Last of Us, Destiny or FIFA 15 have seemingly nothing in common with automobiles. But I think Nissan or Renault can learn a thing or two from the people at Electronic Arts and Blizzard.

You see, car companies try their best to keep their next models under wraps. They wrap them in vinyl and then covered them in black tarps just to make sure nothing can be seen. On the other hand, gaming companies are very open about when their next hit is coming out and what it will be like. This creates hype and allows the games to form an informed impression.

Most big game studios also release thousands of beta key, if not tens of thousands, about a year before launch. Bloggers and people who are generally worthy can then find bugs or suggest changes. Remember, these are the same folks who have played every RPG or every shooter made in a decade.

There are people like that in the car world as well, not professional journalists, but still eager to get behind the wheel of everything made by the Germans, Americans or Japanese.

Maybe if they'd shown it two a 1,000 potential buyers, Pontiac would never have built the disgusting-looking Aztek. Maybe if Alfa Romeo had let some Porsche owners drive their 4C, they would have learned that the steering is a little vague.

There are literally dozens of new cars coming out with disgusting flaws, much worse than is acceptable – vague steering, rattly gearboxes or brakes that suddenly bite. You get the idea…

My point is not a new one. Ford released no less than six 2011 F-150s with 2015 aluminum beds for real miners to use in tough conditions for years. And let's not forget that most EVs were developed after prototypes like the MIINI E were distributed to the public. Luxury companies like Ferrari or Bentley also use focus groups to finalize designs.

However, testing cars is much more dangerous than testing games. One mistake on a computer and you might lose a $100 graphics card. Do something stupid in a car and you're dead. That's why test prototypes come with big, red buttons to kill the engine if they ever catch fire. It's also why test drivers wear helmets and some of them have been known to lose their lives on the job.

I could just be crazy, driven to madness by the wobbly gearstick on a car we recently tested. That's why I want to know if you guys think cars should, like games, be tested by amateurs.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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