Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Unanswered Questions About iRacing’s NASCAR License, Console Gaming, and More

Article Contents

Article Contents

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts

Much rejoicing was had amongst NASCAR gamers on Thursday as iRacing announced alongside NASCAR that Motorsport Games had sold the NASCAR gaming license to iRacing. While many are excited about this, understandably so, what does this actually mean, and what questions remain unanswered following this announcement?

What Do We Know So Far?

All we know at this point is that iRacing now has the NASCAR license and that they will release a console NASCAR game in 2025. The license includes all of the drivers and tracks, and iRacing will release a game on XBOX, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Steam.

One of the more eyebrow-raising parts of the press release is that there was no mention of Monster Games, which developed the NASCAR Heat series of games. The press release specifically said that iRacing would “develop” the next NASCAR video game. Some speculated that Monster Games could return as a developer if iRacing received the license due to Monster Games being an iRacing subsidiary, but, at least for now, it seems that may not happen.

Quite frankly, we do not know much, and that only leads to more questions What are some of these unanswered questions regarding the next NASCAR console video game?

When Will the Game ACTUALLY Release?

When people see the release date of 2025, many think they could be getting a game on January 1st, 2025. However, that is incredibly unrealistic. When building a console video game from scratch, which is essentially what iRacing will have to do, it takes time to get everything right. Given the fact that the license acquisition was announced in October of 2023, it’s more realistic that a game will be released in late 2025.

In all likelihood, they will probably want a game out by Black Friday, so, maybe a bit before Thanksgiving 2025 at the latest. It’s tough to see a game releasing any earlier than early autumn 2025 given the current time frame. Then again, we’ve been surprised before, so, the game could be released earlier by some miracle, or, more likely, later.

What Does iRacing Have to Do?

iRacing really has two options to develop a console game. They can either try to port a version of iRacing into consoles and put a NASCAR-licensed skin on it to make their console game. This has some drawbacks to it.

iRacing is developed for PC, so, making the switch to console means you would have to cut corners somewhere. On top of that, iRacing was originally developed in 2008, and the graphics of the game are not up to snuff with a modern video game. Say what you will about Motorsport Games, but at least NASCAR 21 Ignition had decent graphics.

The other option is to develop their own console video game. iRacing has only worked on one console video game in its history, World of Outlaws: Dirt Racing, which just received a 2023 update. That game was generally received positively, and iRacing partnered with Monster Games on it.

If they did this, iRacing could develop a game from scratch and make sure it is totally optimized for consoles. It may take more time because of how much iRacing would have to develop from scratch, but, it may ultimately make for a more optimized end-product.

Option two may be better built for consoles. However, we do not know exactly what is going to happen yet, and there is a notable name missing.

Why No Monster Games…At Least For Now?

As we mentioned, Monster Games made no appearance in the announcement. This means that iRacing could go on to develop the game entirely on its own, but, it does not completely take away any potential involvement by Monster Games.

They could still be involved with the development of the game, but, it is understandable why NASCAR may not want Monster Games’ involvement. The NASCAR Heat games were not totally well-received when they came out. While the games developed a decent amount of depth over time, they also had significant issues with the physics and the driving model.

On top of that, Monster Games may not be super happy with how they had the development of NASCAR games taken away from them why Motorsport Games bought 704 Games in the late 2010s. NASCAR also may not want to go backward in its gaming history with Monster Games being involved in the game.

Then again, maybe Monster Games does have some involvement in the game down the line. It’s not totally out of the question, but, they are not in the initial press release. It’s possible that iRacing will announce that down the line.

What Will Happen to NASCAR 21: Ignition and NASCAR Heat 5 in the meantime?

Identical tweets were posted on both the NASCAR 21: Ignition and NASCAR Heat twitter accounts stating that the games would remain available through 2023 and 2024. Now, this can mean a lot of different things.

First off, it likely means that the online servers, for whoever is using them, will stay for both games through 2024. Considering that it is the latest gaming experiences for NASCAR fans, it would make sense to keep it up.

It might allow the game stay available on digital storefronts. Depending on the language of the selling of the license, maybe they could continue updating the games with DLC. That may not happen just because of iRacing holding the license, but, maybe NASCAR will allow that until the year that iRacing releases a game.

It’s also possible you could see developers allow for more modding as we have seen on the PC version of NASCAR Heat 5. That could happen as it allows the game to continue to have some life until the newest console NASCAR game comes out.

Regardless, this is an exciting day for NASCAR gaming, and there is reason to be optimistic. Unfortunately, we will have to wait for many questions to be answered.

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts