With a storm potentially looming over Motorsport Games, what does it mean for all of rFactor 2‘s most beloved esports competitions?
Image credit: Studio 397
The rFactor 2 racing simulation platform has been a titan in the world of sim racing. It has been the sim of choice for multiple high level racing championships over the years.
Things looked to be on the up when Studio 397 was bought out by Motorsport Games. The studio looked to join the likes of Codemasters, Polyphony and Turn 10 by developing console racing games. They planned to release a British Touring Car game this year, and an IndyCar and Le Mans game in 2023.
As has been well documented, it would appear that at least one of these promises may end up going unfulfilled. Some BTCC content recently came to rFactor 2 and their standalone BTCC title has disappeared from the company roadmap. However, Motorsport Games CEO Dmitry Kozko recently stated that the game is still in the works.
Motorsport Games didn’t begin as a game development studio. It got off the ground by hosting major esports events, first starting out with the Le Mans Esports Series on Forza Motorsport 7. They went on to organise esports competitions for the likes of Formula E, World Rallycross, IndyCar and even the 24 hours of Le Mans Virtual. All of them bar RX utilised rFactor 2.
rFactor‘s Top Esports
When it comes to officially sanctioned championships by Studio 397 and Motorsport Games, there are a fair few. There are the Formula Pro and GT Pro Series, as well as their equivalent lower tier Challenge series. Formula E’s esports championships also use rFactor 2 as their platform, and they are going for another season.
After the move from Forza to rFactor 2, the Le Mans Esports Series became the Le Mans Virtual Series and was huge. The event was a success, and it boasted a whopping $250,000 prize pool.
These are all remarkable championships to follow, but what happens if Motorsport Games is no longer able to continue working on rFactor 2. Or, what happens if the company has to sell the title? What will happen to these series that many esports racing fans don’t want to see go.
The Likely Scenario
Let’s get this out of the way immediately. rFactor 2 as a platform is not going anywhere, as it is way too established in the sim racing scene to not get picked up by another company. If Motorsport Games were to go under, rFactor 2 would be a valuable asset to help them to settle any outstanding debts.
Speaking of money, though, that’s the main draw for a lot of these teams. As we said earlier, the Le Mans Virtual Series has a $250,000 prize pool, while Formula E: Accelerate’s is $100,000 and Formula Pro has $50,000.
It’s true that sim racing is relatively inexpensive and thus a prize pool doesn’t have to be massive to incentivise drivers and teams. But for Le Mans Virtual in particular, with the amount of competitors involved, a drop in prize money may cause issues.
It’s unclear how much of this prize pool is contributed to by Motorsport Games, and how much comes from the ACO or through the series’ sponsors. But, if MSG were to sell off Studio 397, would whoever picks it up be able to match the money that goes into that series?
Too Big to Fail?
Motorsport Games’ uncertain future may result in the standalone titles for BTCC, IndyCar and Le Mans not happening, which would be a huge shame. However, noises from the Motorsport Games camp on this front remain optimistic. Perhaps things aren’t as dire as they seem.
Nevertheless, rFactor 2 leagues whether they be officially sanctioned like LMVS and FPro or independent ones like Formula SimRacing, are unlikely to be going anywhere. Just like the platform itself.
What is your favourite rFactor 2 esports series? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!