The dark days of NASCAR simulations on console appear to be coming to an end. On Thursday, iRacing announced that it has secured exclusive "simulation-style game rights" to the preeminent stock-car racing series for game systems, PC, and mobile.
After several years of Motorsport Games' official NASCAR titles being stuck in purgatory or releasing extremely unpolished, this was exactly the outcome many fans had been hoping for. iRacing posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the company's first standalone NASCAR release is due to arrive in 2025 "with everything you've been asking for" on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.
A NASCAR press release makes it clear that the series' license has been fully transferred from Motorsport Games to iRacing.
"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," iRacing President Tony Gardner was quoted in the release. "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."
Buckle up! Going to be a lot of work but we are ready! https://t.co/myU73SND2B— Steve Myers (@iRacingMyers) October 5, 2023
While the announcement features the Nintendo Switch logo, a dedicated website mentions only Xbox, PlayStation, and PC in copy. This discrepancy may have something to do with the poorly-kept secret that the Nintendo Switch is reaching the end of its life, and developers are actively getting to grips with its successor's hardware, which has been rumored to launch in late 2024. Given the relative underperformance of the existing Switch's silicon, which dates back to 2017, it stands to reason that iRacing will require a little more under the hood for a serviceable racing simulation on Nintendo's hybrid platform.
In any case, this news is cause for celebration for sim racing fans, who've had little choice but to watch the licenses for several major racing series and events—from NASCAR to IndyCar, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and even the British Touring Car Championship—get snapped up by Motorsport Games, in turn prohibiting every other developer from working with those properties. It seemed iRacing had gotten a special deal with NASCAR in the form of a carve out for its PC service, but mainstream publishing rights were completely locked away by Motorsport Games, which has demonstrated an inability since its very inception to release titles either on time or in acceptable quality, or hold esports events without glaring technical issues.
Motorsport Games will be looking to use the funds from this sale to get the company back on track. It's ostensibly still got the IndyCar and Le Mans rights, and hopefully this deal will allow it to refocus efforts on those games with the resources they require.
"This sale to iRacing, a preferred NASCAR partner, is expected to be beneficial to all parties," Motorsport Games CEO Stephen Hood said in the company's own press release. "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. We would like to thank our partners at [NASCAR Team Properties] and fans of the franchise over the years and wish iRacing the best with their future plans."
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