Last updated on November 7th, 2023 at 12:20 pm
There’s some potentially great news for fans of the sport, as Motorsport Games sell their NASCAR license to iRacing. It covers “NASCAR themed simulation-style console games”. And that announcement was swiftly followed by iRacing revealing plans for a game in 2025, with the Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch logos accompanied by the Steam icon, suggesting it might also be available on PC.
An official SEC filing reveals iRacing have paid $5 million to acquire the license from 704Games LLC (the subsidiary of Motorsport Games which acquired an exclusive license for NASCAR games in 2015, and published the NASCAR Heat series since then in collaboration with Monster Games). While Motorsport Games increased their shares in 704Games over time, NASCAR also extended the original licensing agreement through to 2029.
iRacing has also committed to a further $500,000 in six months, and an addition $500,000 when 704Games have removed all NASCAR games and related material from stores, websites and everywhere else. So it’s the end for NASCAR ’15, the NASCAR Heat series, including mobile games etc, NASCAR Rivals, and NASCAR ’21: Ignition, but the current titles will still be available and supported by Motorsport Games through 2024.
Given the response to NASCAR ’21: Ignition, and the ongoing financial issues impacting Motorsport Games, it’s a logical move given that iRacing has longstanding ties with NASCAR on the sim side, and has successfully transitioned into console titles with World of Outlaws: Dirt Racing after acquiring Monster Games, who developed the NASCAR Heat series, along with the Tony Stewart and SRX games.
“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.”
“When we were approached with the option to acquire the license for the simulation-style NASCAR console game, which was the console game and franchise that we were dreaming about doing, it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” said iRacing President Tony Gardner. “Having the ability to build a NASCAR console game is a privilege we promise to execute with the utmost care. We look forward to working diligently with NASCAR industry stakeholders to deliver a product that provides an amazing experience for the gaming community and NASCAR fans worldwide.”
Gardner added, “With all the NASCAR game experience, console experience, resources and technology assets we already have in place, we are in a fantastic position to hit the ground running building a great NASCAR game franchise on the various platforms.”
So that’s good news for iRacing, and potentially for anyone wanting a pure NASCAR racing experience on consoles and PC which may tie in with the existing iRacing platform, but will probably be a standalone product similar to World of Dirt.
It also gives Motorsport Games a financial boost, as it has continued to lose millions, former CEO and director Dmitry Kozko has resigned, and parent company Motorsports Network was acquired by GMF Capital in June 2023 in a deal which didn’t include the gaming division. The result is more of a lifeline to see a release for the forthcoming Le Mans Ultimate, but CEO Stephen Hood did refer to a detailed review of the INDYCAR game project currently under development by Motorsport Games Australia (formerly Black Delta, developers of Kartkraft), and the media website currently owned by Motorsport Games.
Keeping the Le Mans license makes sense for Motorsport Games, who also organise the Le Mans Virtual Series, and the game is at a fairly advanced stage. But with a net loss of $8.2 million just for the second quarter of 2023, could we see the INDYCAR license also moving in the near future? And would iRacing have deep enough pockets to also pick it up, or could someone else step in? There’s also sadly no mention of the BTCC license, which has so far resulted in some DLC for rFactor 2.
Given the remaining licenses would probably achieve lower sale prices, it’ll be interesting to see what other changes Motorsport Games will make. With one less franchise, will they be redeploying existing staff on other projects and licenses as support winds down over 2024?
But overall, this is a positive move for iRacing, Motorsport Games, and hopefully for sim racers and gamers who should get a good new NASCAR game in 2025. With the combined knowledge and experience of iRacing and Monster Games, it should be worth waiting for.