Things have gone from bad to worse at Motorsport Games. After laying off 40% of its staff and losing the BTCC game license with TOCA last week, IndyCar is terminating its agreement with Motorsport Games to make an official game of the US open-wheel series.
This comes after Motorsport Games suspended the IndyCar game’s development after laying off the Motorsport Games Australia team helming the project. Motorsport Games was set to retain the technology and assets and “resume development of the title elsewhere.” But with the license terminated, Motorsport Games’ official IndyCar game is officially dead.
IndyCar terminates agreement with Motorsport Games
An SEC filing reveals that Motorsport Games received a termination notice from IndyCar on 8 November to terminate two license agreements dated 13 July for making a dedicated IndyCar game and hosting IndyCar esports events due to the company’s “alleged failure to satisfy certain of its obligations under the IndyCar License Agreements.”
These failures include “making IndyCar racing series video gaming products available in the United States and facilitating a minimum number of IndyCar racing series esports events.”
Since Motorsport Games also owns Studio 397, the termination will likely affect rFactor 2’s licensed IndyCar content too. Motorsport Games “is evaluating the validity” of the termination according to the SEC filing.
What will happen to the IndyCar game now?
Motorsport Games losing the IndyCar license isn't surprising given the company's financial turmoil, but it's a huge blow for IndyCar fans. Although the Dallara IR-18 has appeared in other sim racing games like iRacing and rFactor 2, there hasn’t been a dedicated IndyCar game in nearly 20 years since Codemasters' IndyCar Series 2005. With IndyCar racing more popular than ever in the US, it’s a huge missed opportunity.
First announced in 2021, IndyCar game was originally set for a 2023 release before being pushed back to 2024 due to Motorsport Games’ financial troubles. Development was then suspended, with IndyCar seemingly considering its options before terminating its license.
As a result, the IndyCar game license is up for grabs by another developer. We suspect iRacing will regain the license after losing it last year to host official Indy 500 esports events, but this may not spawn a dedicated IndyCar game. EA is another possible candidate, but with Codemasters busy focusing on the official Formula 1 and WRC games, its resources are limited. Either way, it's going to be a long wait for a dedicated IndyCar game.
Losing the IndyCar game license also means Motorsport Games can’t sell it to another studio to raise cash like it did with the NASCAR game license, which was acquired by iRacing to work on a NASCAR console game due in 2025.
This leaves Le Mans Ultimate as the only game Motorsport Games has in the pipeline. To say that a lot is riding on its success is an understatement.
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