The Forza Horizon 4 Super Wheelspin controversy is unfortunate, but isn't a reason to stop playing

Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Forza Horizon 4

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Forza Horizon 4 is one of Microsoft's most successful games in recent years, with millions of players around the world across both Xbox One and PC, as well as through the increasingly popular Xbox Game Pass program. It's fair to say a ton of people love this game. I'm one of them.

But you can never please all of the people all of the time, and this past weekend brought the controversy. And brought it hard. A bunch of players got, admittedly, quite a lot of free stuff. A lot of players did not. And a number of those players are angry. In some cases, way more angry than a video game should make anyone.

What actually happened

Early on in the weekend, during the middle of the night U.S. time, somebody inside Playground Games pushed out 200 free Super Wheelspins to every player who could log in to the game and check their messages. Since I'm in the UK, the same time zone as Playground, I was one of those fortunate enough to catch it and spent about half an hour rolling through while writing a post about the good news.

At first many assumed it was a glitch or an error, but a tweet from the Forza Horizon Twitter account suggested it wasn't. It actively told players to go and check their messages.

All's good. A ton of free stuff for everyone!

And then it stopped, sometime during the morning in the U.S. as what certainly didn't seem to be a mistake, actually turned out to be one.

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Did someone go rogue? Misunderstand what should have happened? Maybe 200 should have been 20? Whatever it was, it stopped, and it created a PR issue for the team within the community.

Those who got the stuff were lucky and there's no suggestion that anything they've redeemed will be taken away. Some of those who didn't manage to redeem the Super Wheelspins took it in their stride, acknowledging that mistakes happen and they're not really losing anything. Then there are those, and I'll admit there's quite a few, who seem to be really p*ssed and are going to stop playing the game apparently.

Is it really worth getting angry about?

Forza Horizon 4

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Here are a few of the (anonymized) comments that you can find if you scroll through social media and reddit from those who aren't too pleased with how this all happened:

"How is it an error when you tweeted about it? Do the right thing and either revoke everything people got from the wheel spins or give everyone 200 spins....that simple.""This is truly unfair, more than half of the game saw the news about the in game message and ran to play FH4, to see that there is no actual surprise and that the other half of the community now have multiple hypercars and 40 million dollars or more. Give the 200 spins to everyone""And now give it to every player or remove the stuff from the guys who got the spins, just to be fair"

Should those players be even a little upset? Sure. It's human nature. If you see someone else getting something for free that you can't get yourself you're going to be envious, and in this case, rightly so. Is it worth yelling at the developers about on social media and uninstalling (or threatening to) the game? No.

For one, this is one of those times when "it's just a video game" needs to be understood. Especially in the current global crisis, getting as mad as some people seem to have been getting over this isn't healthy. This isn't ruining the game, it isn't going to make the auction house a mess (more than it already is) and yeah, while your buddies might now have a few million more credits and some extra sweet cars you don't have, is that really making your own enjoyment of the game any less?

Forza Horizon 4

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Should Playground Games address this in some way, though? Absolutely. Even if I disagree with a number of the reactions, there's clearly unrest in the community and it's in their interest to at least try and rebuild that relationship. I'm not a developer, so I don't know the practicalities involved, but just saying "give everyone else 200" or "take back the stuff everyone got" isn't terribly likely.

It's in Playground's interest to address the community unrest.

For one, the latter is as unfair as those claiming they've been unfairly treated. It isn't the fault of any player who redeemed those spins based on what looked like official information from the studio. And with over 12 million players, how likely is it that they'll be able to (quickly) identify who claimed them and who didn't and push out the reward selectively to everyone else?

What should or will they do? I have no idea, and nothing short of 200 free Super Wheelspins will ever make the most vocal complainants happy. Nor do I even know if it's possible to selectively reward these players, but something has to be better than nothing and an unhappy portion of the community.

Keep playing if you enjoy the game

Forza Horizon 4

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

I claimed the 200 Super Wheelspins. Am I now suddenly a god tier player? No. I actually added about 12 new vehicles to my garage, most of which I'll never drive, and through the credit rewards and selling duplicates I made about 33 million credits to go on top of the 50 million credits I already had that I wasn't spending.

Forza Horizon 4 isn't the type of game where "the best cars" really exists. Thanks to tuning and the wide range of race types on offer, there is no "one size fits all" best car. And after more than 250 hours in the game, those 200 Super Wheelspins made a negligible difference to how I'll be playing from here on out. And I wager the same can be said of a lot of the longer term players.

If you enjoy the game why wouldn't you keep playing?

If you're a new player, then yes, those 200 Super Wheelspins would have been really helpful and I do hope there's something that can be sent your way as some kind of apology. But free stuff is never what made this game fun to play. It's nearly two years old and I still have a great time every time I fire it up.

If you enjoy Forza Horizon 4, whether you got the free spins or not, then keep playing it. If this has soured you to the point you're going to uninstall and stop playing, I'd say you probably didn't enjoy playing it that much in the first place. This isn't the first game to have a polarizing issue, and it won't be the last. But whatever you're playing, try to enjoy it.

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Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at

  • Of course not! Who are these crybabies that are getting fussed like this about a videogame?? Jesus christ, open a window and take a look at the real world, get your priorities sorted!
  • Some of the response to this whole thing is, well, astonishing. I do feel like they should address it in some way. But it's also no reason to throw your toys out of the pram and rage uninstall the game.
  • Hypocritical comment seeing as writing it you were getting perturbed. Obviously people are upset..? Do you struggle with empathy? Video game or not wouldn't you be annoyed putting hours and weeks into something someone else just gets for free on a whim with no hard work whatsoever. Why don't you stick to worrying about your garden. Edit - I only made this account to comment on this post. I like how the author is sitting there clicking through the spins he got while saying " I don't understand why everyone's so mad?" As he's claiming them.
  • The biggest issue with this is Playground's approach to the whole rewards system. It was obvious from the get-go that the wheelspin system had IAP baked right into it and at some point (probably after Battlefront 2) Microsoft told them to pull IAP from the game. What we were left with was an annoying randomised reward system for actual gameplay. What they should have done is looked at every unlockable car and outfit in the game and added a sentence to the description telling players how to obtain it, "Reach level 10 in Drag Races" for example. There are a few items dotted around that unlock upon reaching certain points in the game (notably the fetching racing green barbour-esque jacket you get for completing the 'British Racing Green' story arc) but this should have been rolled out to the whole system. I am sick of grinding wheelspins in the hope the game *might* give me the outfit that I want. Its not gamebreaking but it is annoying, especially as they have had time to fix it post-launch! If I had one real complaint it would be asking PG why all the white guy avatars all have blonde hair? is it too much to ask for a brown or black option? And why are their no ginger avatars at all?!
  • I'm pretty sure that IAPs were never on the cards for Wheelspins. The car packs and VIP pass were the IAPs.
  • The mistake was making it public. The 200 Wheelspins were meant for someone, just not the general public. They made the same mistake with "Owens McLaren". The subject of both are whitewashed over, they're banned subjects on their discord server and they refuse to acknowledge them further. I'm not bothered at all because i have more credits and cars in the game than i can use, but others reactions are justified if PG are favouring others unexplainably. The Lego expansion was a bigger disaster for the game than this.
  • You say disaster I say the best Forza expansion since, well, Hot Wheels.
  • Media bias can be a terrible thing.
  • You're funny. You know what they say about opinions...
  • Opinions are like a**sholes, everybody's got one!
  • I wonder if we can truly call it an opinion, when people are out to promote a product because of bias for a company?
    We've have seen Ybarra once he left XB. Or quite simply this:
  • For me, I think it is moderator's fault, especially the support team which is usually outsourcing from other companies. Even though, I enter the game late and the mistaken giveaway was gone, but I didn't mad at all, since I have a ton of money and my garage is full. I know the point that you are trying to say, and I agreed that moderators is bad. However, mistakes can be made, and you should not take this too seriously. P.S. I like Lego DLC more than could.
  • Yup someone obviously made a mistake, it looks like the message should potentially have been 20 not 200. Crossed wires happen. People going way too far over it though. And as I say, if you're going to uninstall the game over this nonsense then you weren't really enjoying it in the first place.
  • I could honestly careless... but I don't play FH4 competitively either.
  • 200 pairs of gold sequinned leggings
  • Ah yes, only in Horizon 4 does your wardrobe fill faster than your garage.
  • Over 90,000 people dead due to a botched nationwide response to a deadly virus and people are whining about a video game? What a bunch of entitled little asshats.
  • Oh sorry didn't realise that humans could multi task. Why don't you worry about heart disease. It kills 5x as many a year. Kk.