Motorsport Games may not be a familiar name, but their catalog of games may be recognizable. They are the studio behind the popular NASCAR series, including titles like NASCAR Rivals, NASCAR 21: Ignition, and NASCAR Heat 5. They also develop games such as Rfactor 2 and KartKraft, with a focus on motor racing. Their UK office is located near the Silverstone Circuit, a major motorsports venue. The NASCAR franchise is one of the most-played racing games in the world.
In 2018, Motorsport Games brought the NASCAR Heat franchise in-house and made it one of the most-played racing games in the world and a key driver of the explosive growth of our more recent esports initiatives. We have continued to evolve the existing and much loved Heat franchise whilst building the future of racing games and esports. Our experienced teams are working hard to bring new games to market based on NASCAR, Le Mans and British Touring Car properties.
Unfortunately, the Miami-based studio Motorsport Games is currently facing financial challenges despite the success of the NASCAR franchise. While NASCAR Heat 5 sold well, NASCAR 21: Ignition did not perform as well. Despite having a dedicated fan base, their focus on a niche aspect of racing games makes it harder to attract a wider player base compared to more mainstream titles like Forza Horizon. Another issue the studio is facing is the involvement of Dmitry Kozko, the CEO and Executive Chairman, and a member of the board of directors. He assumed his role as CEO in January 2020 and as Executive Chairman in December 2020.
The Problem With Motorsport Games And Dmitry Kozko
It seems the problems are financial and were brought to attention by Tom Henderson on Twitter.
So let’s look closer at what is going on at the studio. It has come to light that one employee has issued a threat to Dmitry Kozko. The threat is that they are going to leak the source code for four games online, with the games being the following
- NASCAR Heat 5
- NASCAR 21: Ignition
It also seems according to GameRant that none of the employees have been paid since October last year. So factor in we’ve had the Christmas period and in places the cost of living going up, especially in the UK. Then the reality of nearly three months with no salary paid could be worrying. So this developer has allegedly blackmailed Kozmo saying this source code will be leaked publicly online if this isn’t resolved by the 25th of January. So at the time of writing a week away. One of the games on that list, Indycar, is still in development.
Speaking with other employees not familiar with the situation, it was said that they were “not surprised” that such drastic action was being taken from someone who probably has “nothing to lose”.
The comments were made following Insider Gaming’s report last week that the entire Russian studio, consisting of 30 or so employees had not been paid since October. In addition, it was revealed that some employees were offered to relocate to Georgia (with no help from the company), in order to be paid their salaries.
So, basically, it’s all a bit of a mess at Motorsport Games. Hopefully, a peaceful solution can be found.