List of NASCAR video games
NASCAR, the most popular motorsport in the United States, has worked with video game developers to design several video games. In 2003, EA Sports received an exclusive console license to produce NASCAR games, eliminating Papyrus and Hasbro Interactive as competitors. In May 2009, IRacing.com received a license to run NASCAR-sanctioned online racing starting in 2010. In June 2009 at the E3 Gaming Expo, NASCAR was revealed to be a part of the Gran Turismo series for the first time in Gran Turismo 5 for the PlayStation 3.
Papyrus Design Group
In 1994, Papyrus Design Group, an up-and-coming simulation racing developer (at the time) that was best known for the IndyCar Racing series, released the first installation to the NASCAR Racing Series into the video game market. The game was a huge success. This game, with its revolutionary and dynamic car physics system, changed the image of many people that thought NASCAR was "just a boring sport where you watched cars make left hand turns all day".
Over the next decade Papyrus teamed with Sierra Entertainment and continued producing games for their NASCAR Racing series. The NASCAR Racing games were universally praised for their accuracy in terms of physics and track feel, with NASCAR Cup and XFINITY (formerly Nationwide) series drivers regularly practicing for upcoming tracks using the games. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex, Jr. still use the game for training. Prior to sweeping both races at Pocono in 2006, Denny Hamlin had only seen the track in NASCAR Racing 2003 Season.
Electronic Arts, through their EA Sports banner, developed NASCAR games for the original PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Nintendo 64 under names such as NASCAR 98, NASCAR 99, NASCAR 2000 and NASCAR Road Racing. Also, a big hit for the company was NASCAR Rumble, a spin-off of the normal NASCAR racing games. The company expanded into NASCAR games for PC, Game Boy Color for their 2000 game, and the PlayStation 2 for their 2001 game, the last under the old name. For 2002, the series was renamed NASCAR Thunder, and by 2003, has simultaneously been released on GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2, PC, and the original PlayStation.
EA Sports decided to split their old "Thunder" titles into two separate racing lines; one for consoles focused on gameplay, and one for PC, which attempted to focus on technical accuracy in the spirit of the old Papyrus/Sierra lines – indeed the PC game used many former members of the Papyrus development teams (although David Kaemmer was not involved). The games were given differing names, as to not confuse the two, with the console series renamed NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup (released in 2004, a reference to the new NASCAR playoff format) and the PC series renamed NASCAR SimRacing (released in 2005). Sweeping gameplay changes meant that the "Chase for the Cup" name was dropped from the 2006 edition of the console game. Instead, the game was titled NASCAR 06: Total Team Control. The new name is derived from the new feature by which a player who has teammates in the field can actually switch to their teammates' cars and control them during a race. It was released on August 30, 2005. Released on September 6, 2006, NASCAR 07 was EA Sports' tenth game in the series. NASCAR 09 was the final game in the EA Sports NASCAR series. It is available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as PlayStation 2. The NASCAR series took a different approach in 2009, as EA introduced NASCAR Kart Racing on the Wii console. It was later announced that EA would not make a NASCAR 10, and the series is currently on hiatus because of a drop in sales and now has lost the license they had with NASCAR since 2003.
Starting in 2010, EA's license to make NASCAR games expired. Gran Turismo 5 features NASCAR in the game with cars from 2010 season and some tracks on the NASCAR schedule; 2011 season cars were added later in an update. Also, iRacing.com and NASCAR started an Online Racing Series which started in 2010 and the NASCAR Peak Antifreeze Series later that year. iRacing and NASCAR have a close partnership and by the start of the 2014 season. The simulation had every car make/model that has run in Sprint Cup from 2013 and 2014 seasons and every track that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on the simulation. Other games that came out with NASCAR licensing after 2010 included Days of Thunder: Arcade (based on Days of Thunder), which is a game sold as a Xbox Live Arcade or Playstation Network game for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
In 2010, it was confirmed that Eutechnyx will begin creating games based on NASCAR starting in 2011 with NASCAR The Game: 2011. On May 18, 2012, Eutechnyx announced that NASCAR The Game: Inside Line was released on November 6, 2012. Afterwards, Eutechnyx announced two new games: the first NASCAR licensed video game for iOS, and NASCAR The Game: 2013 for Steam. Eutechnyx switched publishers for NASCAR '14 to Deep Silver after having Activision publishing previous games of the NASCAR The Game series (2011, Inside Line & 2013). DMi games was announced to replace Eutechnyx for NASCAR '15 on January 1, 2015.
In January 2015, DMi Games, doing business as Dusenberry Martin Racing, announced that they will take over the NASCAR license and begin developing new games in 2016, as well as releasing a Eutechnyx-developed update game for the 2015 season. DMi is an American based company located in NASCAR's capital, Charlotte, North Carolina. The company is headed by former Hasbro Interactive CEO Tom Dusenberry (developers of the NASCAR Heat series) and Ed Martin, former executive at Papyrus, Hasbro, Atari, EA Sports, and most recent licensee Eutechnyx.
Other NASCAR games include Hasbro Interactive's NASCAR Heat; Papyrus' NASCAR Legends, which took players back to the 1970 season, featuring a different point system, and many different tracks. There is also a pinball game. This game was based on the NASCAR Racing 3 engine; EA Sports NASCAR Revolution (released between NASCAR 99 which came out in 1998, and NASCAR 2000, which came out in 1999); and NASCAR Rumble, an EA game incorporating some of the features of Nintendo's Mario Kart series, but with NASCAR car designs. On June 3, 2009, at Sony's Electronic Entertainment Expo conference, a trailer for the upcoming PlayStation 3 game Gran Turismo 5 featured NASCAR as one of several new licenses that will be in the game.
Games with NASCAR as a non-core element
This list includes games which have a NASCAR license but are not based specifically around it (such as racing simulators with other series/disciplines of racing worked into them, or which have mods which add NASCAR cars and/or tracks).
- Robinson, Jon (October 4, 2010). "NASCAR revs up video game return". espn.go.com. ESPN. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Martin, Ed (January 17, 2015). "An open letter to NASCAR fans from DMi". dmigames.com. DMi Games. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- HC2 Holdings, Inc. (January 15, 2015). "HC2's Subsidiary DMi, Inc. Acquires Exclusive NASCAR Gaming Rights With Multi-Year Agreement". marketwired.com. Herndon, Virginia: Marketwired. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- Makuch, Eddie (April 10, 2015). "NASCAR 15 Is Exclusive (at Retail) to GameStop". gamespot.com. GameSpot. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- "About Us". dmracing.org. Dusenberry Martin Racing, DMi Games. 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015.