The last few days have been a rollercoaster ride for Motorsports Games. On Friday 3 November, they announced a staff reduction of 40% that included teams in the UK and Australia.
This resulted in the closing down of Traxion.GG as well as TOCA withdrawing the exclusive BTCC license from Motorsport Games. This also came after the sale of the NASCAR license to iRacing, and while Le Mans Ultimate now has a firm release date, Motorsport Games has suspended development of the IndyCar game.
While it's heartbreaking that many passionate racers have lost their jobs in the implosion of Motorsport Games, there is also an opportunity for an unlikely hero to emerge.
A new beginning
IndyCar is having a renaissance right now, with 2022 being its most-watched season since 2016, only for that audience to grow again in 2023.
The series picked up 1.4 million viewers per race on NBC in the USA and has a growing British audience thanks to Romain Grosjean, Callum Ilott, and Scott McLaughlin adding a global flavour to the championship.
As a result, it is arguably the second-biggest racing series in the world behind Formula 1. Which is why the suspended status of the IndyCar game is such a blow.
The game could be stuck in limbo for years, missing this boom period and leaving the growing sim racing community without a way to fall in love with it. Which is where EA comes in.
The single-seater experts
EA is one of the most hated game developers around, just ask any FC 24 or Madden player about them. But they also happen to own Codemasters, the studio that has developed the Formula 1 game for more than a decade.
Under Codemasters' watch, the F1 game has grown into one of the most complete racing titles around. While the physics don't match iRacing or ACC, in terms of accessibility, single-player depth, and pure pick-up-and-play pleasure no racing game competes with F1.
Having built this single-seater track-racer series to the heights it has, Codemasters would seem to have the basis of a great IndyCar title at their disposal.
While the series are different in many ways, they share a lot of similarities too. They both have downforce-laden single-seat cars that need to balance tyre wear and pitstop strategy to succeed.
As Codemasters looks set to abandon the Ego Engine for F1 24, their expertise could easily be used to create a world-class IndyCar title if EA is willing to grab the license from Motorsport Games.
Will EA push for IndyCar?
It's been nearly 20 years since we had a standalone IndyCar title. IndyCar Series 2005, released in June 2004 and developed by Codemasters, was pretty well received.
Since then, the cars have been available in iRacing and Forza Motorsport in varying degrees, but it has let the series fade to a younger generation more used to racing F1 or GT3 cars.
EA bought Codemasters in 2020 to add F1 to its portfolio, but it also added one of the best mass-appeal racing developers around. Now they have the chance to be the good guys for once and bring a true IndyCar game to the world.
While some just want IndyCar to be folded into iRacing, that won't put the series back in the public consciousness. It won't let 10-year-olds with a PlayStation discover the series.
IndyCar needs its own video game, and EA can make it happen sooner than anyone else. Someone just needs to pick up the phone.
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