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.