Updated: I asked NASCAR about exclusivity. You can see the query and response at the bottom of this news post.
As suspected, iRacing and Motorsport Games have announced this morning the sale of their NASCAR license to iRacing. This obviously should assist Motorsport Games financially, help Le Mans Ultimate make it to market and probably give Monster Games (now owned by iRacing, former creators of NASCAR Heat 4) the console release.
One question is whether we will see a NASCAR release on PC (the Steam icon is present in NASCAR’s coverage) that either isn’t a part of the iRacing service, or will be playable ‘offline’ against AI. Another question is on this license continuing to be exclusive and whether iRacing would still block any other developer attempting to release a NASCAR title in the same way Motorsport Games did.
Press release below.
EXCLUSIVE SIMULATION-STYLE NASCAR® VIDEO GAME LICENSE SOLD TO IRACING
MIAMI, FL – October 5, 2023 – Motorsport Games Inc. (NASDAQ: MSGM) (“Motorsport Games”), is announcing today the sale and transfer of NASCAR Team Properties’ (NTP) exclusive license for NASCAR® themed simulation-style console racing games.
The sale and transfer, approved by NTP, will see the license transfer from 704Games LLC (“704Games”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Motorsport Games, to iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations, LLC (“iRacing”) who will begin developing the next NASCAR console game.
“After careful consideration, it became apparent that it is in the best interest of Motorsport Games to concentrate our resources around alternative assets and revenue growth opportunities. We believe that this is a continued shift toward quality,” said Stephen Hood, Chief Executive Officer at Motorsport Games.
“This sale to iRacing, a preferred NASCAR partner, is expected to be beneficial to all parties. We believe it will allow us to rebalance our immediate cash needs, reduce our contractual and financial obligations and double-down on near term revenue generating releases already in advanced development” continued Hood. “We would like to thank our partners at NTP and fans of the franchise over the years and wish iRacing the best with their future plans.”
“This mutual agreement is in the best interest of all parties involved and allows for a new crown jewel in our expanding video game lineup,” said Nick Rend, Managing Director esports and gaming at NASCAR. “We thank Motorsport Games for its efforts over the years and will work diligently with iRacing to deliver a console game that’s exciting for the gaming community and allows our fans to connect with the sport in an impactful, meaningful way.”
Current NASCAR titles, including NASCAR Heat 5, which recently received the “Next-Gen Car Update” DLC, and Nintendo Switch title NASCAR Rivals will remain supported by Motorsport Games and available for the remainder of 2023 and throughout 2024.
Additionally, as part of ongoing efforts to achieve long-term financial sustainability and growth, Motorsport Games has committed to redefining its product and development strategy and will start with a comprehensive commercial review of all projects in its portfolio, which may result in additional restructuring efforts to those already implemented under the previously announced 2022 Restructuring program. This includes a detailed review of the INDYCAR game project, which is under development by the Motorsport Games Australia studio and Traxion.GG, a UK based media website and community focused on racing games and related esports.
Stephen Hood added, “We believe that the sale of the NASCAR license is a significant accelerator to a planned change of direction. With proprietary technology, industry leading talent, handpicked advisors, stronger processes, and a change of culture we expect to deliver on the promise we see throughout our company.”
About Motorsport Games:
Motorsport Games, a Motorsport Network company, is a racing game developer, publisher and esports ecosystem provider of official motorsport racing series throughout the world. Combining innovative and engaging video games with exciting esports competitions and content for racing fans and gamers, Motorsport Games strives to racing games that are authentically close to reality. The Company is the officially licensed video game developer and publisher for iconic motorsport racing series including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, INDYCAR, and the British Touring Car Championship (“BTCC”). Motorsport Games also owns the industry leading rFactor 2 and KartKraft simulation platforms. rFactor 2 also serves as the official sim racing platform of Formula E, while also powering F1 Arcade through a partnership with Kindred Concepts. Motorsport Games is also an award-winning esports partner of choice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Formula E and BTCC. Motorsport Games is building a virtual racing ecosystem where each product drives excitement, every esports event is an adventure and every race inspires.
I asked NASCAR about exclusivity:
“From a certain perspective, and as a fan first and foremost, I am concerned that it appears to be exclusive. Nobody thinks to complain about that when the product is good, but at the same time there should be no reason for exclusivity when you release a good product.
Regardless, this will be an excellent pairing and partnership.”
“Thank you for sharing your perspective. We value the feedback from our fans and understand the concerns about exclusivity. Please be assured that while we are committed to preserving the core, simulation-style essence of our game, we also remain open to flexibility and potential collaborations in the future. This is evident from our ongoing activities on platforms such as Roblox, in games like Rocket League, and with future mobile games from Hutch. Our ultimate goal is to foster growth in fan engagement, transitioning enthusiasts from casual players to dedicated core gamers.”
While I have faith that iRacing can deliver a good product, I don’t like exclusivity. However, the response to my query was soothing and does seem to indicate that NASCAR are always trying to look out for what is best for the fans. It’s worth noting that NASCAR never actually licensed to Motorsport Games at all. Motorsport Games acquired the license via 704Games.
I Interpret the response to suggest iRacing is now in-place as the core simulation product, and that this should not exclude titles like Forza, Gran Turismo, from having a NASCAR ‘experience’.