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EA keen to tap into F1’s “unprecedented growth in fandom”

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In the round-up: Video game giant Electronic Arts sees huge potential from its planned acquisition of Codemasters, producers of the official Formula 1 game.

What they say

EA’s acquisition is expected to be approved after Codemasters shareholders voted in favour of it.

Codemasters has published the official Formula 1 game for major platforms since 2010. EA, which owns the rights to other sports franchises, stated in their recent remarks to investors they are “incredibly excited to build a racing powerhouse with our proposed acquisition of Codemasters.”

“These are amazing teams that we know very well, and we are adding significantly to our racing portfolio to drive growth,” EA added. “F1 is one of the few truly global sports, and it is already seeing unprecedented growth in fandom, including in North America and Asia.

“We believe the combination of EA Sports and Codemasters can take the game franchise to an even greater level.”

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Comment of the day

The reverse-grid idea may have gone, but it seems F1’s Saturday sprint race plan still isn’t popular.

The main reason I don’t want it is because it ruins the tradition of Formula 1. There can only be one race per weekend, and every race is preceded by a qualifying session. Otherwise, it ruins all the statistics and history books.

If this happened in Formula E, I wouldn’t mind, because there have only been six seasons of it. But you just can’t break a 70-year-old tradition unless there is a problem with it, which there isn’t.

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  • 39 comments on “EA keen to tap into F1’s “unprecedented growth in fandom””

    1. Can’t wait for loot boxes for a chance at a mid season front wing upgrade at £5 a go in my F1 game.

      1. Lets not pretend the current game isn’t riddled with cosmetic MTX.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          5th February 2021, 11:43

          Cosmetic ones – yes. Going foward, we can almost a lot more of that. EA wouldn’t be interested if they hadn’t seen potential to stuff the game full of MTX whilst heavily limiting costs of development.

          I expect it to follow all other EA sports games and become a yearly livery/driver update with less development than you’d expect from a monthly patch.

          Luckily this game was already of no interest to me as I have limited time to get on the PC and when I do, I’d rather go on a sim but for those who do like this game, EA taking over is sadly only going to bring negatives.

      2. I hope that’s not EA’s basis for picking up the F1 francise – loot boxes are likely to be banned in the next couple of years, at least in titles not aimed exclusively at adults (the UK and EU alike are considering classifying loot boxes as a form of gambling).

        (This computer hasn’t had the stats to run a F1 game since F1 2013, so I’m not likely to find out first-hand).

    2. This years Rolex 24 at Daytona did not feature a normal qualifying session. Instead it had a 100 minute race a week before during the roar before the 24 test. There was an issue with the qualifying race I picked up on while listening to hhe IMSA radio commentary: did winning the qualifying race count as a race win or was it just a pole position? This is further complicated by IMSA bringing in points for qualifying for the championship.

      My question is has f1 stated a position on this? Lastly if this is introduced will f1 later try to add points into these sprint races or even all qualifying sessions?

    3. I’m not sure about this sprint race idea… but why not test it for one or 2 events ? Make it something special, just try it out. I wouldn’t do that at Spa or Monaco or one of the classic track, but we have plenty of uninteresting GP where having a fun format would not hurt (place ala Soshi, abu dhabi, shakir etc).

      1. And proudly presenting the unpopular idea: I would test a sprint quali race when racing two weekends in a row on the same circuit with (yes, here it comes) starting the quali race in the reverse quali order of the week before.

      2. If they are going to trial it then they should do it at a non championship race or something.

        Trailing something like this which could have an impact on the championships isn’t something I like the idea of.

      3. Why not have F2 test it?

    4. COTD: 100%.

      ”Embarrasing, very embarrassing”
      In all seriousness, though, I don’t think the matter is this drastic, LOL.

      1. @jerejj – when I saw the quote ”Embarrassing, very embarrassing”, I thought he was talking about his own career in F1, although that’s a little harsh – he did win 6 races if memory serves.

    5. I just think the whole sprint race idea for qualy kinda dilutes the significance of a grand prix (as does an absurdly long season). Too much of a good thing can definitely detract from the spectacle. Qualifying is where it’s at for appreciating how incredible Formula One cars are which gets a little lost in the obsession over overtaking.

    6. Re EA: The next F1 game will be bombed by overwhelmingly negative reviews and there will be too many microtransactions that will make no one buy the game at all. That’s my prediction.

      Re Lewis: How long has it took Mercedes? How long? Even other drivers have signed to a team in a shorter time than what Mercedes are doing right now.

      1. People will buy the game… …they just won’t buy the next installment unless they are careful.

    7. A tip to EA if they’re working on the F1 2021 game: if there are Safety Car periods during the race, actually let lapped cars overtake just like they do in actual Formula 1, otherwise it just ruins races automatically!

    8. petebaldwin (@)
      5th February 2021, 11:46

      I’ve seen it suggested that Lewis and Mercedes taking so long to announce the deal is a press exercise but I don’t see how that can work now… Mercedes obviously want Lewis and Lewis obviously wants to drive for Mercedes so the only logical reason for delaying the announcement is a massive battle over money – during a pandemic when many are bring laid off and massively struggling to make ends meet.

    9. I’ve been watching F1 since the early 90’s and I think the current qualifying format is the best its ever been. It’s so odd that something that is working so well is often talked about like it needs fixing. Seems like a cheap solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

      1. My view is the exact opposite.

        3 sets qually tyres and spare cars.

        The slow boil much better

        1. Jon, I hear you.

          60 mins, 12 laps. That was fun, it was about pure speed and there was no question about managing tires. I know, I know, everyone would wait until the last minute to run and that meant it was boring and we can never go back there. But still, those last minutes made up for it. I can still see Damon and Michael bouncing off curbs, all elbows and arms, in a flat out fight for pole.

          I think this makes me seem old. Jon, you may be suffering a similar fate :)

          1. Only last 10minutes matters now.

            As you merc , Red bull are going to be q3. Only advantage is thats ideal for high lights. So don’t have pay sky to watch it live

          2. I could quite happily see 30 minutes for 12 laps if the format needs compressing…

    10. Dear EA. I doubt anyone from you will read this but I think my views are the same as most of gamers. F1 2001 was your last game which you produced. It has been 20 since that and many things have changed but for the sake of the modern F1 games please let the guys at the codemasters do what they do best. Single player content. You can totally focus on that other side. Online. We don’t care if you will add lootboxes etc. to there but be sensible and don’t mess up the career mode. We know you have the money and the resources but use them right.

      1. Hopefully they bring their expertise over from other studios to help with the cut scenes in the F1 games which are really stale. The FIFA story thing was actually quite well done visually. There’s a lot of scope for a genuine career mode with a story that unfurls as you play that could be cool and engaging.

    11. Is all this just a case of Liberty wanting to put their own spin on things, make their presence feel noticed, so they can point at F1 and go ‘Look! Look what we did! We took this product, we fundamentally changed it and it’s definitely better now. Look at our not-at-all misleading or disingenuous fan polls.’? It’s like when a new manager comes into a firm and changes things for the sake of it, even though by-and-large things were working fine, just to put their stamp on it and make themselves appear valuable.

      Or is it a case of ‘more racing equals more money’ because I don’t know about everyone else but if we end up at 25 races a season, each with a quali race, there’s no way I’m going to watch all that (and in fact I’ll probably end up watching fewer hours than I do now because it’ll be easier to justify it as being to much). As for the casual fans, will it really make a difference? If your not massively interested in the first place why bother watching a whole other race that doesn’t really count for anything?

      1. @tomd11 Liberty and Brawn have already made their presence noticed by re-organizing F1 by addressing all the major issues F1 had from the BE era. We’re about to see that truly come to fruition with the new gen cars next year. I don’t think this is about more races equals more money, because they will still just be using an hour to qualify that we’re aware, so it is not like they are trying to duplicate Sundays on Saturdays. I envision short sprint races of 5 to 10 cars at a time, while they shuffle out the trailing cars and end up with a final 5 car 12 lap sprint for pole, as one potential example. So I don’t envision “a whole other race that doesn’t really count for anything” but rather short sprint races of handfuls of cars going full out until there is a final sprint race at the end of the hour. It is still qualifying even if they were to use sprint races. But I wouldn’t be doing 20 car sprint races that’s for sure. And I would still contain it all within an hour. And of course it counts for something…the running order for the start of the race as usual.

      2. @tomd11 More racing does equal more money for Liberty – to a point. This is because there are more circuit fees, the more races at unique venues occur (double-headers are not so good for Liberty, but are better in its view than risking a loss of the bread-and-butter TV contracts)? Note that Liberty does not directly see any given viewer’s hours of watching paid footage – all they know is the number of subscriptions F1 TV gets and the amount of money third-party broadcasters hand over. Broadcasters don’t tend to reduce expenditure in the face of lesser demand – they either continue to bid what is necessary, or stop paying altogether.

        1. I think all Liberty wants to do is ensure they have the best product they can produce which would then translate to more excitement and buzz which would translate to more audience, sponsors, and health and growth for the sport and new teams therefore wanting to join. Like with all businesses it is about improving and growing and yes of course making more money and employing people and perhaps even having some fun along the way. There is nothing wrong with that as it is what all businesses try to do all the time.

    12. The whole concept of reverse grids or changing the format ‘ruining the statistics and history books’ as per the COTD really confuses me as there’s drivers and teams that reguarly used to finish in 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th and those statistics and same history books will say they ended their career without a point. For some that could have been the difference between survival in the sport or being remembered as a no point wonder, but that was changed – and now those drivers and teams would have registered points. ‘Ruins the statistics and history books’ – dude, they’re already ruined.

      Like, the point I’m making is the rules HAVE changed. Implying F1 has been this stoic monolith that’s never changed and never should do is ridiculous because it literally has and if it doesn’t it will end. I’ve alone seen three, maybe four different qualifying formats! Just because something has been done in a way doesn’t mean it can’t be done in another. Stop being so terrified of change.

      1. Yes, the points system has ruined that aspect of the history books, and I felt the need to entirely rewrite them by finding out how many points every driver would have if the current points system had always been kept. I don’t mind some changes, such as different qualifying formats, but having two Grands Prix per race weekend is a step too far, in my opinion.

        1. @f1frog But I think you are making some assumptions, not that I blame you, as it is not like we know exactly what they would have in mind. But here’s what I would do and it certainly wouldn’t be as you are suggesting which is that Saturday would contain the equivalent of another race.

          For me quali would still be an hour long session, but I would break the cars into groups of something like 5 to 10 cars, and I would use 3 or 4 short sprint races to then pare them down to let’s say a 5 car final 12 lap sprint race to determine pole, the other 15 spots having already been determined in the previous sprints. So think kind of in terms of the sessions they have now, except that instead of spending so much of the hour watching drivers sitting in their cars in their garages waiting to come out and do their predictable runs, then go back and wait to do another run etc etc, the way I am suggesting it would still just be an hour of qualifying, broken into sessions, but at least the hour would be filled with action as opposed to the real action only happening in the last few minutes as is currently the case.

          They certainly aren’t saying the current system is broken, but they are just (thankfully imho) at least asking the questions as to whether or not there might be something more exciting, and frankly I think there may well be. That said if they do nothing I’m fine with that too, but I can’t say I am enthralled by the current format other than for the few minutes at the end.

          1. To be honest I’m just advocating for the idea of trying things. We’ve literally had a qualifying format that lasted two weekends and ditched it because it was awful – like if an idea doesn’t work or is resoundly unpopular we don’t need to keep it. The sport as it was in the 50’s, 80’s and now aren’t even the same.

            What I find difficult to see is people outright decrying or aggressively shouting down even TRYING any potential or new concept in the name of history or tradition, especially with something that’s evolved and changed and thrives upon it as much as F1. Stagnation and predictability is arguably the death of both sport and entertainment.

            1. @rocketpanda Agreed and the thing is that is why I sound like a broken record sometimes about being careful to really hear what Liberty and Brawn are saying and not just assume that if they speak of a change it automatically must mean something nefarious. My goodness the major, and vital changes they’ve instilled, with all the teams agreement, is huge for us lucky fans, so, and like we have a choice, I’m behind them and confident they can all progress F1 very nicely thank you very much, given what they’ve already tackled. Was it so great before 2022? The best it could be? I’m sure ready for a change and I can’t imagine what another entity might have done better in addressing everything, and that said even having little or no knowledge at this point of what the cars even look like let alone will race like together in anger. I’m so grateful for their effort and energy. Things like even putting together a season last year at all. We’re so lucky.

              Frankly the more I think of it the more I think they deserve to play a bit with this entity they are picking up by the bootstraps, that they own, and we should oblige them by giving 2 or 3 experiments a fair and objective evaluation. Whatever the consensus from within F1 and without, let that guide the future for if we mostly all want it one way or another that makes for a majority of satisfied customers either way. And they progress from there.

              I truly wouldn’t mind seeing 3 Qs of sprint racing of groupings of cars full out on low fuel and new tires for an hour, and thus an hour of action, than much of the hour now spent watching drivers sitting in their cars in their garages, and a few minutes of excitement at the end.

              Just one other thought which I mentioned elsewhere is that I even wonder if the new gen cars might be better suited to short sprint qualis as the drivers will be less handcuffed in dirty air, so maybe the sessions would be fairer in sussing out whose fastest, than with the current cars.

              I think I’m realizing I like this type of concept now, particularly at least the experiment part, and then re-evaluate from there, because it is now without the highly debatable reverse grid component.

    13. Ricciardo coming to McLaren for a seat fitting put a smile on my face. Even Seidl came down. Good filming despite the tight shots to not reveal much of the car. Can’t wait to see their performance.

      1. I got the impression there wasn’t much car around the cockpit. But it was very interesting to watch Ricciardo interact with the team working around him. I thought his feedback was very good but as he’s very polite at this stage, they’ll need to listen carefully to get to the optimum solutions in good time.

    14. 2020 was a dark year, and EA’s buyout of Codemasters was the sting in its tail.

      Via this deal, EA are also buying the makers of Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios, as the latter would bought by Codemasters in 2019. A tragic irony is that Slightly Mad Studios was formed by a group of developers who had broken away from EA because they were sick of working for them on the Need for Speed Shift series. So they’re now back together. Slightly Mad must be gutted.

      1. Nah, I reckon they’d be slightly mad…

    15. I own a Codemasters 2019 F1 game, got it as a gift when it was on sale for few bucks. It is not horrible, but far far not worth its full price. I set the dificulty higher and the only thing that happened was, that they all launch like rocketships in acceleration, while in the turns they are still slow as snails, as they were before. The second thing is, how flawed the career intro scenario is. You are told to let Weber pass in F2 and when you do he thanks you for it. Well i intentonally restarted the game and stayed infront of him – surprise surprise, he thanked me for letting him trough….Not to mention those “interviews” after races where you intentionally get 3 crappy answers to chose from, where you offend someone if you want it or not…Tyres are still not making cars jump up when they touch, and debris on track has no weight and it doesnt damage your car when you drive into it (Ubisoft game in year 2000 was capable of that)…and ofcourse indestructable rear wing…Then there are retirements. You lose control right away when you crash, or when something fails…i want to park my car with dignity, or limp back into the pits. Pitstops are not manual either (what EA game had almost 20 years ago)…many times i get screwed over by a safety car, because driver infront of me doesnt want to accelerate and we trail the pack half of the track distance behind. Once i overtook them all with safety car, got almost a lap advantage and got only drive trough penalty…And ofcourse AI. It is far better than the one in 2018 (which was utterly dumb), but still you get rammed off track if you get in the way of a driver behind which gets into his Saturn rocket mode… This game is nice to drive – you get plenty of satisfaction in that, but it all falls down when you enter into the competition…And the best thing of them all: Mid season rule change, where you lose everything you worked your ass off for, and your teammate is no help at all…Far too much work required and it just is not worth the pain…i only do the first track aclimatisation, while those tyre management and ERS are a mission impossible for me – but in the race i miracleously manage to drive the required race distnace before my stop, or even further… There should be more companies getting the licenses for an F1 game, maybe better games would be made. Codemasters F1 games are like a set of Pirelli tyres. You never know what you will get, because they try to be entertaining without a competition to force them to be good.

    16. Somewhere in the Slightly More Mad to Fricking Infuriated range I imagine.

    17. Ea’s codies deal was a bargain. I’m sure f1 have tried to sell the f1 rights for more than that figure. Certainly EA will have to fork a tad more to keep up with the f1 demand.
      Speaking about the games themselves, it is not like the games were not already heading to micro transactions. F1 is growing on the younger demographics therefore the games are going to be catered to kids.

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