Another racing series will be looking for a new home, as following the loss of the rights for BTCC, now IndyCar also terminate their Motorsport Games license. Not forgetting the sale of the NASCAR license to iRacing.
As reported in a new SEC filing, the notice is similar to the one filed by the BTCC rights holders, BARC (TOCA) Ltd, and reveals:
INDYCAR LLC stated that its decision to terminate the INDYCAR License Agreements was due to the Company’s alleged failure to satisfy certain of its obligations under the INDYCAR License Agreements, including making INDYCAR racing series video gaming products available in the United States and
facilitating a minimum number of INDYCAR racing series esports events, in each case, as specified in the applicable INDYCAR License Agreement.
Given that the planned Indycar game was confirmed as suspended, and the team working on it (Motorsport Games Australia) were part of the 40% of staff recently laid off, it’s not really a surprise that IndyCar have also decided to cut their losses. With the termination of the BTCC license, Motorsport Games need to pay approximately $800,000 to BARC for outstanding royalties and other sums, but in this case “The Company is evaluating the validity of INDYCAR LLC’s notice of termination, including demands for certain payments under the INDYCAR License Agreements, as well as the Company’s options under the INDYCAR License Agreements.“
This may also impact rFactor 2, given that the sim features an official version of the Dallara IR-18 IndyCar (alongside iRacing). Which would be ironic, given the uproar after iRacing was forced to end officially-sanctioned events such as the Indy 500 due to Motorsport Games having an exclusive license. If the loss of the BTCC and IndyCar licenses impact both the touring car DLC and the Dallara in rFactor 2, it wipes out a significant part of the content released over the last 18 months or so.
And given the constantly precarious financial situation of Motorsport Games, you’d imagine they’d have much preferred to sell those licenses to recoup any money they could, rather than having them taken away with the need to make payments. It feels like a lot of the future of the company now rests entirely on Le Mans Ultimate, which has recently been delayed until February 2024.
It’s also interesting as a large part of Motorsport Games activity in the past has been organising eSports events. Without NASCAR and IndyCar, that leaves just the Le Mans Virtual Series. And in terms of games, with the KartKraft developers gone, it seems unlikely that title will continue. So Motorsport Games will only have rFactor 2 and Le Mans Virtual once their ongoing support of the previous NASCAR titles ends at the end of 2024.
So in essence, Motorsport Games has spent an enormous amount of time and money to go from publishing the NASCAR franchise with one development studio (704 Games), to now potentially focusing on the World Endurance franchise and rFactor 2 with two development studios (Studio 397 and potentially any 704 Games staff after they finish supporting the NASCAR titles).