The most surprising reveal of the Porsche press conference at this year's New York International Auto Show wasn't a new model – all the vehicles making their North American debut had previously graced the show floor at the Geneva show. Rather, it was the announcement of a six-year partnership with Microsoft developer Turn 10 Studios, known for the bestselling Forza Motorsport franchise.
The two parties are no strangers – Porsche vehicles have appeared in Forza titles since the original Forza Motorsport in 2005. However, Porsche's long-standing exclusive licensing agreement with Electronic Arts, publisher of the Need for Speed series, meant other video game publishers had to negotiate for sub-license rights. Notably, Turn 10 was unable to secure such rights in 2011 for the release of Forza Motorsport 4; the game instead incorporated similar models from Ruf Automobile, which builds its vehicles based on unmarked Porsche chassis. This was the same solution used by other developers, such as Polyphony Digital, makers of the Gran Turismo series. The exclusive licensing deal between Porsche and EA lapsed in December 2016; and hot on the heels of a tweet confirming the presence of Porsche vehicles in the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport, Wednesday's announcement of its Microsoft partnership shows that Porsche is taking its presence and representation in video games very seriously.
The Porsche Car Pack for Forza Horizon 3 is only the first collaboration arising from the agreement. Forza racers can now register for The Porsche Cup as part of Forza Racing Championship (ForzaRC) Season 3. Porsche vehicles will also be available on Forza Horizon 3 to players participating in the weekend Forzathon events throughout April.
The Porsche Car Pack, available now for Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One and Windows 10, contains the following cars:
1955 Porsche 550A Spyder
1960 Porsche 718 RS 60
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS
1995 Porsche 911 GT2
2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
2016 Porsche Cayman GT4
2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo
The Forzathon events in April, meanwhile, offer up a different set of cars:
April 14–17: Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0
April 18: Porsche 918 Spyder
April 21–24: Porsche 959
April 28–May 1: Porsche 911 Turbo 3.3
Forza RC Season 3 is kicking off this weekend with the "Forza Racing Championship 2017 New York Invitational Presented by Porsche". Viewers at home will be able to catch 18 ForzaRC Elite racers compete for $25,000 in cash prizes, as well as watch races with Porsche professional driver Matt Campbell. Forza RC Season 3 itself will culminate in a finals event with $100,000 in cash prizes – registration is now open.