By Joe Rich
Is the Hobby of RC Cars Dying Out
The emphatic answer to the question is the hobby of RC Cars dying out is a big no. With the cost to suit most budgets and the choice of models growing the hobby of RC cars is not dying out.
Remote-controlled (RC) car racing has been popular for decades. Car enthusiasts who don’t have the time, knowledge, or money to work on full-scale vehicles can get largely the same experience with the much smaller RC car.
There is concern, however, that the hobby may be dying out. Hobbico, one of the largest hobby companies in the United States, filed bankruptcy in 2018. It left the hobby with a lot of question marks and eyes towards the future.
But is the hobby dying out?
Major Tracks Closing
One of the biggest concerns is the closing of popular tracks around the country. Racing around one’s backyard is one thing; racing on professionally crafted tracks is another. Hobbyists need a place to flock to test out their cars and see how they stack up against the competition.
Major tracks have closed across the country, limiting the destinations for RC enthusiasts. With fewer and fewer places to go, there has been an unsurprising lack of interest and growth in the hobby in recent years. With more and more tracks closing, it means less interest in the hobby.
Major Stores Closing
Most enthusiasts get their start by visiting a hobby store. Being able to peruse the different offerings — not just those of the RC variety — is how most get going. They see all of the options, want to create their own kit, and it’s off to the races (quite literally, in some cases).
Major hobby stores such as Hobby People and Global Hobby Distributors have closed their doors. Having a place where hobbyists can walk into, get their supplies, and interact with others within the hobby is how these things tend to thrive.
Without major stores available, there are limited opportunities for potential new hobbyists to develop. And as a result, the hobby’s growth has suffered along the way.
RC Driver Shuts Down
Though the Internet has changed things for the magazine industry as well, the cancellation of RC Driver magazine is a big blow to the hobby. Maplegate Media shut it down back in 2017; it was one of the longest-running magazines on the hobby.
Though it still exists as a website, it has a different feel to it. The magazine’s closure is just another instance of the times changing and the hobby suffering for it.
Is the Hobby Dying?
Dying is a strong word. There are still plenty of avenues — forums for instance — for enthusiasts to interact with one another. But a lot has changed in the RC racing world. Established names have gone the way of the dinosaur and evolution needs to take hold.
The biggest struggle right now is how to bring in new enthusiasts. The older group will only continue to get older. If they don’t pass that love down to people they know and there are fewer shops to visit to help spark that love, how does the hobby continue?
Right now, that is the biggest challenge plaguing the hobby going forward.