Formula 1 goes to Codemasters after Sony unrest

Posted by Mark Raby

Southam (England) - After Sony refused to pay the licensing fees requested by the Formula 1 car racing association, England-based Codemasters has stepped up and nabbed the former Sony-exclusive license.

Codemasters has gained the global rights to the racing label, promising to bring Formula 1-branded games to consoles, PC, and handheld gaming platforms.

Formula 1 is "ambitious in expanding its reach via technology. The digital communities that computer and video gaming creates will play a key role in further growing the Formula 1 audience," said Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens.

Back in 2003, Sony paid an estimated $15 million per year for the rights to use Formula 1 exclusively in its first-party games.  That agreement lasted four years, through the end of 2007.

When the contract expired, Formula 1 demanded more money for Sony to renew its license.  Sony said it was too much and severed ties with the racing group.

The move for Codemasters to pick up the F1 rights is not surprising.  The low-cap games publisher is known for its racing titles, most notably its long-running Colin McRae series.

The publisher has already announced its first title to make use of the newly acquired license.  Fia Formula One World Championship will come out next year.