Electronic Arts may have a lock on most officially-licensed sports game development, but Codemasters has announced it has secured the rights to Formula One, the most prestigious racing series in the world.
The rights to Formula One game development had previously been held by Sony, according to a GameDaily report, but lapsed when the company refused to meet the racing body's terms for contract renewal. Earlier reports had suggested that EA and Ubisoft had also been in the running to secure a new contract with the F1 licensing authority.
"Formula One is ambitious in expanding its reach with more circuits planned beyond recent additions in the Middle East and China," said Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens. "It is also ambitious in expanding its reach via technology. The digital communities that computer and videogaming creates will play a key role in further growing the Formula One audience and connecting them globally."
"As a world leading creator of driving games, this alliance with Formula One is the jewel in Codemasters' racing crown and creates an undisputed segment champion," he continued. "Formula One has gone with the best, the segment leader. It has gone to the home of the EGO Engine for quality; it has gone to the company that can host Formula One Online, to the company that is streaking away from the pack."
"Codemasters' success and recent innovations in the racing game space makes the company more than appropriately tuned for the challenge," added Chris Deering, chairman of Codemasters. "The combination of Formula One's new momentum of expansion and Codemasters' contemporary technology and past experience is the breaking of a new dawn for the sport, on the track and on the HD game screen."
The company said it plans to launch a series of official FIA Formula One World Championship games for all major consoles, handhelds and the PC, with the first title expected in 2009.