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Cousens: Competitors shouldn't have dismissed F1 license

Publishers "knocking on Bernie Ecclestone's door, trying to take the license away from us"; browser F1 game in the works

Codemasters' CEO Rod Cousens has said he believes the company doesn't get enough credit when it produces a hit such as F1 2010 - a licence that rival publishers initially dismissed but are now circling Formula One Management in a bid to snatch the rights to.

Speaking in a interview published today, Cousens said that rumours of the company's health still dog the business, despite a significant financial investment from Reliance, which now owns 50 per cent of the publisher.

"Where it's particularly galling is where you come off of the back of a 2 million-seller that's F1 2010 that any other software house in the world, regardless of size, would like to have in their portfolio... a number of whom had that opportunity and dismissed it," said Cousens.

"And that's just in the first month as well - and we all know that as a sport, Formula One's roots are within Europe and Asia, and yet the largest single market in the world is the US. So that 2 million units has been achieved largely without the United States... and if you translated that up on a pro rata basis that's the equivalent of a 4 million-seller.

"I challenge anyone that wouldn't want that. I'm sure they're all knocking on Bernie Ecclestone's door, trying to take the license away from us."

As well as an annual update in 2011, Cousens also revealed that the company is working on a browser-based F1 game as it looks to expand to new markets. And the publisher's 20-year track record of making driving games is more significant to making the F1 license work than the amount of money a publisher could throw at it.

"What we don't do as an industry is give enough credit, and it's very easy to knock. We're not complacent as a company, but we're difficult to beat in racing - and someone should give us credit for that.

"In the same way that I believe Electronic Arts with FIFA have done a tremendous job - that's come about because they've got 20-plus years invested in development; it's come about with Codemasters and racing because we've got 20-plus years of development. It's not the last two years that we've put into F1 2010 - the game has had the benefit of the expertise, the technology, the DNA that is Codemasters in racing.

"For someone to think they can simply come along and try and entice that away with a cheque is unrealistic," he added.

Acknowledging there were some issues with the initial release of the game, Cousens pointed to other new racing titles released this year from the likes of Activision and Disney that haven't hit similar highs.

"We believe we've got racing - now, if I'm some of my competition and I've looked at the performance of Blur and Split/Second, I'd rather have my problems," he said.

The full interview with Cousens, in which he talks about the health of the company, developing the Operation Flashpoint franchise and more, can be read here.

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.