Still no sign of a new F1 video game

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It looks as though Formula 1 fans will have to make do without an official F1 video game again in 2008.

According to Pitpass discussions between Bernie Ecclestone and Sony (previous holders of the F1 franchise) have reached a dead end. Sony previously paid $15m per year for the rights to the game.

Ecclestone’s entire approach to marketing F1 in this way is utterly hopeless and shows how badly out of touch he is with F1’s fan base. Fans have been asking for months when a new F1 game is going to appear.

Giving Sony exclusive rights to the F1 franchise guaranteed that the F1 name was shackled to an inferior product – Sony’s last F1 games in 2005 and 2006 were distinctly underwhelming with little detail or depth.

Worse, only Sony PlayStation owners could play them, locking out millions of Xbox and PC owners.

Let’s get three things straight about an F1 racing game:

First: it has to be available across platforms. What has F1 got to gain from shunning Xbox/PC/Wii owners? Nothing. So you have to question whether Sony are the right people for the job.

Second: it has to be really good – not just the F1 graphics slapped on a basic racing engine, which it was the Sony games felt like. It should be more like Gran Turismo in terms of driving feel – distinctly arcade but with more realistic leanings than, say, Colin McRae.

Third – and most importantly – it has to arrive soon. So Ecclestone, stop quibbling over the pennies and get the franchise sold. F1 is at a point of transition with many of the fans drawn to the sport by Michael Schumacher leaving – in their place will come newer, younger fans following drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. F1 has to capitalise on that.

In the meantime I’m sticking with the rFactor 1979 F1 season. Bliss.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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36 comments on “Still no sign of a new F1 video game”

  1. I don’t think there has been a decent F1 game since the great Geoff Crammond did the Grand Prix series of games (of which I duly bought all of them over the years). The problem with most console F1 games, is that they are simply too ‘arcadie’. Most F1 fans are intelligent folk who not only like the racing, but all the technical jiggery pokery too. I remember spending blooming ages changing ride heights, downforce, brake balance, fuel levels etc etc…  Come to think of it, I might nip into the loft and dig out GP4 and load it up.

  2. Buy a racing wheel for your computer and get Rfactor, there are great mods with all the difficulty you could ask for.

  3. TommyBellingham
    16th April 2008, 0:04

    Rfactor is all you need to be honest :)

  4. TommyBellingham
    16th April 2008, 0:05

    Also the F1 series was rubbish apart from the original and 97 then it just got worse and worse. rFactor is the best racing game I have ever played, can’t get enough of it :)

  5. I believe I just posted about this on another topic last week, but the greatest F1-themed game of all time, in my opinion, was Super Monaco GP for Sega Genesis. While none of the real team or driver names were used, all of those entities in the games were fashioned after real teams and drivers. The tracks were all modeled after the stops from the late 80’s/early 90’s, including Phoenix, Imola, Mexico City and many others. One thing that made it great for me was the lack of a learning curve- it was just easy and fun to drive. While I woulden’t start following the sport for many years, it built up a basic interest in me that was sparked in the most recent season. Along with Goldeneye for N64, it ranks as one of my favorite games of all time.

    I do agree that a new F1 game is needed ASAP, and that it should take on a Gran Turismo-level of realism. I don’t buy many new games, but developing a quality game is critical to building a fan base such as the one Keith describes here- i’m a perfect example of that demographic.

  6. You should try GTR2 too. There isn’t a real F1 mod, but the driving feeling of the standard package is good enough to want to play it for hours, IMHO. And the technical background as deep as you like. I also like the great rFactor, but it could be better Live for Speed…. I tried it and I found it challenging….

  7. Clearly, Bernie isn’t thinking with his head here. A game is important, not just with hardcore fans but to bring others into the sport. It’s probably the best way to learn the tracks for beginners and rabid fans. Also, he needs to offer two licenses: an exclusive license for F1 on the PC, and another for all the consoles. Ideally, the PC one would go to one of SimBin/ImageSpace/Blimey. Image Space did EA’s F1 games until 2002, and their engines/games have only gotten better since.  Not making a PC game would be a big oversight–in Asia/Middle East/even Europe somewhat, PCs are more popular.As for the console side, I imagine it would be either Sony or maybe EA. Neither company would do a particularly good job, unless Kazunori Yamauchi (of Gran Turismo) got the job, as was rumored a few days back. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sony get it again–neither of the Nintendo platforms suit themselves for F1 (although having your family be a Wiimote-equipped pit crew sounds like fun!), and I just plain don’t like the 360. PS3 has the best wheel support also–the Logitechs (especially G25) are the best. If you need a new F1 video game for your PS3 this year–get Gran Turismo 5 prologue and work your way up to the F2007. It looks amazing.

  8. Well, I don’t play an F1 game since the now ‘classic’ GP2 from Microprose, that showed the 1994 season drivers, post-Senna and Ratzenberger deathes…

    Thinking about it, the most important thing is to make a versatile game, that pleases those who simply wanna see themselves in a famous cockpit around tracks that really resemble the real ones, and those who wanna play real-race distances, with pit stop strategies, Q3 fuel loads choices, aerodynamic changes and so on…

    The good and old GP2 had many levels, and you could run with brake aids, gear shifting aids, unbreakable cars, ideal line drawings on the track, and could turn them off at any time…

    As for Sony’s monopoly, its a real shame, and I have no words to add to your post…

  9. Michael Counsell
    16th April 2008, 2:49

    The whole exclusive game idea doesn’t work for F1 games or racing simulations.  Competing companies developing games improves the games as otherwise they won’t sell.  If a company has no rival why double the budget and make a much better game when it will only improve sales by 10%.  And with no rivals there is no source of comparison and inspiration to improve the next game.

    Compared to most types of games F1 games became realistic very early on and any improvement has been incremental with no giant leaps apart from in terms of graphics.  The exclusivity set it backwards and games like F1 Challenge ’99-’02 and GP4 are still played online.  I’m not sure what more there is to get out of F1 games to make them stand out in the next-gen philosophy of games.

  10. Another huge fan of rFactor. The game’s worth every penny, and with an analog input, you can waste hours trying to get the perfect lap. It’s made by ISI, the same people who were behind the other great F1 sim – F1 Challenge 99-02. Only this time, they had full control over the game and decided to make it as moddable as possible. is one of the sites I go to everyday, just to check out new mods.

  11. To MrPippy.

    Completely agree with you on the fact that the license of the games need to be split into PC & Console… A PS3 game in India(am from India) costs a good Rs. 2k+(approximately 35 euros+). A lot of money. whereas, a good PC game could be bought of for about half or less than that.

    I know there are some mods available on the net and i have dabbled with them, as i will for now. Clearly that’s a sector(PC F1 game) that no one addressed but them. Sony for the benefit of their consoles(both PS2 & PS3), did not come out with a newer PC game. They feared erosion of market. Similarly if only one company were to get the license. They may or may not do us any good again.

  12. hey dude i dig the blog.

    re: f1 video games here’s the thing.  the ps3 game – f1 championship edition – made by a uk studio (studio liverpool i believe) is phenomenal.  trust me when i say this – if you’re an f1 fan and do video games then this game will become your obsession if you are prepared to climb the learning curve.  i completed 100% of gran turismo 4 (and 3 a-spec) way back when but those games don’t come close.  the difference is the gulf separating driving from racing.

    but anyway you’d think that i’d be sweating the next release.  for strange reasons i’m not – the game was released in 2006 (so it’s actually modeled on the 2005 season which featured 3 awesome teams and a bunch of good ones) such that it is sort of the best ‘year’ to play.  over and over again of course but the setup depth is deep enough to take years to completely shake down.

    so the reality strangely enough is that i’m content with studio liverpool’s next release .. next year.

  13. Daniel, you’re absolutely right – GP2 was the pinnacle – it’s been pretty disappointing since then. Thinking about it, on a modern computer it could run very smoothly (I remember the graphics were quite memory intensive) – any idea where I could find a copy?

  14. Why don’t we drop a few thousand emails in Bernie’s inbox saying ‘give us a game’?

    That shouldn’t be too hard in this day and age, and this wouldn’t be a bad place to start such a barrage up.

  15. I think Bernie only wants 1 F1 game (made by 1 manufacturer) to come out to maximize HIS profit.  Issuing more than 1 license for an F1 game slightly weakens his negotiating position.

    What he’s done is use the negotiating model he uses with circuit models and slap it on Sony.  It used to work for the purposes of profit (although it does not now), but it never worked for the actual purposes of gaming.

  16. gavd, his spam filter would spit it out just as quickly.

  17. Yeah it’s a good idea Gavd but Ecclestone’s not big on democracy.

  18. If it doesn’t work we’ve only wasted the effort of clicking ‘send’.
    back later gotta go to work

  19. with all the mods that are out for gtr2 etc, they dont have the same feel as the old grand prix games, doing a season with the mods etc isnt as exciting as the old games were!
    just doesnt have the same feel, those older f1 games dont work on my pc for whateva reason (it prob outdated them) and the ones on sony have an arcade feel to them!
    i agree, bring it to all platforms, same as having clips up on utube! it opens f1 up to a whole new audiance!
    also, with the new stars coming into the sport, driving as hamilton or kubica if ur in poland can bring those new fans to the sport so easily!

  20. I still play Grand Prix 3 occasionally. Good smooth graphics and difficult/realistic enough for me. rFactor isn’t an option because it doesn’t run on my computer (well, the demo doesn’t) and BATRacer just kept malfunctioning. Since I refuse to get a console, the only official F1 game more recent than GP3 is GP4. Still, I suppose that if Bernie doesn’t want the money from a market that’s grown a lot since the Sims phenomenon kicked off, that’s his lookout :(

  21. Gran Turismo Prologue for the PS3 has the Ferrari F2007 as on of the bonus cars.

    Its a start *shrugs shoulders*

  22. Get McLaren to do a conversion from their simulator. With all the time and effort they put into it, they must have enough techies available to do a conversion. Hope they don’t make a MES of it.

  23. Interesting report from Pitpass. Accepted wisdom (could be wrong though) was that EA has bought the license in early 2008 and will produce a game for next year. EA has confirmed it has signed up Lewis Hamilton so I suspect Lewis Hamilton F1 Racing 2009 will be a likely first title.

    Knowing EA games it is likely to be very arcadey in feel. Personally I don’t mind that. I spend enough time reading about F1 on the net so I don’t think my wife would let me get away playing some game for hours. A good blast around Monaco for 20 minutes is all that I want from a game.

    Agreed that we need a game though. Come on bernie

  24. I think rFactor is very good game but have couple problems

    1. If you don’t have driver wheel to the PC (Xbox/Playstation etc.) you have no real chance to have good fun.
    2. If you have a w driver wheel the game is too hard to play without the driver aids and the setup is too complicated for normal users.
    3. You have to play online to have some fun but you have no chance to be one of the best beacuse there will be always some others better players. Offline game is very bad and have no good chance to get fun.

    In Grand Prix 3 by Geoff Cramond the game was having all. Good fun for keyboards players and for players with Driver wheels.
    Not that advance setup and very easy to get good setup and win games.

    Great offline play with all tracks and very good oponnents that you was having fun to fight.

    Grand Prix 4 was good but have few problems and had been bot that good like GP3. But i think if Grand Prix 4 was having ONLINE gaming it was the best F1 game of all time.

    Grand Prix 4 + Online and we relly have best game in F1 that i’m sure. Easy but not to easy. With having fun for all family not only for hardcore players.

  25. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    16th April 2008, 14:16

    I WOULD of thought that with the rising poularity in f1 in the uk because of lewis hamilton would have made a new game a dead cert.

    the last games for ps3 was good couple of small details which annoyed me,

    main problem though was the difficulty. iv owned most of the f1 games that have come out on playstation and its always been thye same problem. you can find a level of difficulty eg on Championship edition, medium and you could take pole by 2 seconds or more with no problem, go up a level and you can barley get into q2.

  26. I would like to see a Championship Manager tyre game for F1. The football game bores me to tears (just like real football) but i could really get into managing an F1 team through season after season.

  27. Shahriar Ahsan
    16th April 2008, 18:51

    Why dont they make any game for the PC? The PC thingy should also be focused.

  28. Gabriel: I don’t know exactly where to find a copy, but I suggest you should search for old computer games ‘renting’ stores, if they still exist… that I recall, when I played, I could easily find updates of the subsequent seasons on the internet… and that was before the P2P ‘revolution’…

  29. I agree with db….F1CE on PS3 is a great game.  I got sucked in deep enough to coughed up $200 for the G25 racing wheel.  Force feedback, the wheel’s got paddle shifters, VERY realistic.  Sure, I’d love an updated game but this one is still very challenging.  My biggest gripe is no Spa Francorchamps that season — although it does have Imola which I love. 

    That said, Bernie is an idiot the way he’s handling this…does he not look at the Big Picture at all?

  30. Well, I did it. Went in the loft & eventually found GP4… Loaded it up & have to say it looks surprisingly good. One of the good things is, I’ve been able to put the detail on max for everything, something I could only dream about 5 years ago!! The random weather is one feature I don’t think has ever been improved on, bloomin’ great…

  31. the only game i could find for myself was EA F1 2002. Its my first game and its pretty decent though i am not a very good player and i learnt a lot about the car handling through the game. i hope we can have a new game as soon as possible… its been a long time playing f12002. may be they can give it to EA they make decent products…and it can they be across platforms as well..

  32. You want a realistic F1 game?

    Oh great, 1:30 races with no overtaking other than the pits.

    I hope Poliphony Digital gets the rights and include all cars in GT5.

    EA decent games?? I can’t believe somebody said this…

  33. Yes, it’s amazing that GP4 is STILL clearly the best F1 game. To be honest we wouldn’t need much more than a proper facelift with it.I still enjoy this game a lot.How about GP5 Geoff ?
    Also Race07 is pretty good…although that’s not a F1 game as well as RBR for rally fans !

    Cheers Another Flying Finn

  34. I just pray to the Lord that the next F1 game is out on all concoles because it is unfair that a very larg number of F1 fans cant play the game because they do not have Ps3’s

  35. Yh there is a new F1 game coming out in 2009 bcoz sony r no longer making the video game it is code masters i thnk tht has the rights to make it

  36. Adam – yep, details here: Codemasters 2009 F1 game

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