Formula 1 gaming fans woke up this morning to find some classic F1 titles missing from the stores.
Formula 1 games are a special kind of sports games. Usually, the sports game that gets released every year with minor tuning and yearly team changes gets a bit of hate from its community because of low effort and cosmetic changes (for example FIFA and NBA 2K).
That is not the case with the Formula 1 fanbase as the game does get changed between the years, for better or for worse. The changes are never drastic overhaul of the entire game, but do change the way driving in the rain feels, how sensitive are the curbs, how is it to drive on used tires, etc.
The drivers and circuits change every couple of years, so the ability to drive some circuits and with some teams/drivers is only available on certain editions of the game. That is why a lot of players own most titles as they get quite cheap after the new edition gets released, or tend to collect them all.
That is why this morning's news that F1 games got removed from the official stores was not taken kindly.
If you go to the Steam page of the removed games, 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 as to why, we have to look back to February of 2021, when Codemasters, the company behind the F1 titles, got bought by Electronic Arts. The fans did not welcome that with joy as the game is praised to be very realistic and hard, so not beginner-friendly like most EA titles. Plus EA has the reputation of milking their fanbases.
So a year after the buyout, EA decided to remove old Codemasters titles from the stores, and the reasons are yearly licenses that the publisher has to pay to Formula 1.
The price is obviously not the same as for the current drivers, circuits, and teams, but does cost some money. And while Codemasters paid every year to renew those licenses, Electronic Arts will not.
The news came abrupt and was not announced earlier, which is a common practice when the older game gets removed from official stores, as it opens a small window of time for people who still want to own the game to buy before it gets pulled off the stores.
However, all is not lost as there are still digital copies to be sold, plus many of the games in question have been either on ridiculously low discounts or even free, so many online resellers will still have copies of the game to sell.
Just now, you can get F1 2018 on Fanatical for 2$.