One of the paid subscription services that experienced sudden growth during the pandemic has been iRacing. While real-life racing leagues were on hiatus, they used the detailed and realistic sim racing service as an esports broadcasting platform, and enough new people started playing to grow its base of racers on PC from 110,000 at the beginning of 2020 to over 200,000 today.
Now iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations says it has acquired Monster Games, Inc. (MGI). That Minnesota-based studio developed the first four games under the NASCAR Heat brand and its most recent title, SRX: The Game, for play on PC and the PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
A press release announcing the purchase is careful to note, “The iRacing development team will remain 100% focused on continuing to develop the core product, iRacing.” But Monster Games’ experience making console games is clearly a part of the plans going forward, as the release also says this deal will “further the company’s ability to bring the highest quality racing games to the broader market, including the console space.”
Pumped up by its subscriber growth, iRacing also recently acquired Orontes Games, which had already developed a proprietary game engine to power the high-res graphics and advanced physics for its Drag racing game that’s available via Steam Early Access.
Rich Garcia, CEO of Monster Games, has a history with iRacing CEO Dave Kaemmer from the early days of Kaemmer’s previous company, Papyrus, working on well-regarded PC racing games. The plan is for MGI to release an unannounced title in development later this year and then develop games using the resources of all three studios.
More information on what’s next is promised “in the coming year.” Still, a quote from Kaemmer gives a strong hint about what we should expect, “We are at a point as a company that we are comfortable building out these two new teams to explore the broader racing game market to ultimately funnel serious sim racers to our flagship product iRacing on the PC. Rich and the Monster team will be an important part of that strategy as we use our code and experience to bring their games to another level.”
An iRacing port for the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X seems unlikely, based on that statement, but bringing its ultra-realistic data to racing games built for play on consoles, as well as continued tech upgrades for the flagship title, appears to be a safe bet.