Formula 1 gaming fans woke up this morning to find classic F1 titles missing from stores.
Formula 1 games are a special type of sports games. Usually, the sports game that comes out every year with minor tweaks and yearly team changes gets a bit of hate from its community due to low effort and cosmetic changes (e.g. FIFA and NBA 2K).
This is not the case with the Formula 1 fan base as the game changes from year to year, for better or for worse. The changes are never a drastic overhaul of the whole game, but change the feel of driving in the rain, the sensitivity of the curbs, driving with worn tires, etc.
The drivers and circuits change every two years, so the ability to drive certain circuits and with certain teams/drivers is only available on certain editions of the game. That’s why a lot of gamers own most of the titles because they get pretty cheap after the new edition is released, or tend to collect them all.
This is why the news this morning which F1 games have been removed from official stores was not taken kindly.
If you go to the Steam deleted games page, you get the message:
At the request of the publisher, F1 2018 is no longer available for sale on Steam.
So to answer the question of why, we have to go back to February 2021, when Codemasters, the company behind the F1 titles, was acquired by Electronic Arts. Fans did not welcome this as the game is known to be very realistic and difficult, therefore not suitable for beginners like most EA titles. Plus, EA has a reputation for milking their fanbases.
So, one year after the takeover, EA has decided to remove old Codemasters titles from storesand the reasons are annual licenses that the publisher must contribute to Formula 1.
The price is obviously not the same as for current drivers, circuits and teams, but costs a little money. And while Codemasters paid annually to renew these licenses, Electronic Arts will not.
The news came abruptly and was not announced earlier, which is common practice when the old game is pulled from official stores, as it opens a small window of time for people who still want to own the game at buy before it is withdrawn from stores.
However, all is not lost because there are still digital copies for saleand many of the games in question were given ridiculously low discounts or even free, so many online retailers will still have copies of the game for sale.
Just now you can get F1 2018 on Fanatical for $2.