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For many years now, almost two decades, Electronic Arts and Porsche have had an exclusive relationship where only EA could feature the car makers' cars in games. Well, things could be changing soon that would allow more Porsche cars to appear in more video games.
According to Polygon, they picked up a translation from GT Planet of an interview that Speed Maniacs conducted with Kunos Simulazioni, the developers behind the hyper-realistic racing simulator Assetto Corsa. The game greatly rivaled the likes of Project CARS in many ways, but one of the most significant additions to Assetto Corsa was the Porsche. Well, in the interview, it was revealed that the exclusive license between Electronic Arts and Porsche expires in 2016.
The article notes that both EA and Porsche parted ways on amicable terms and that this has freed up the Porsche license so that other games can now utilize the high-end cars.
Supposedly, the deal was originally struck during development of Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed, which came out back in 2000 for the PSX and PC. But even before the release of Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed, the license was already off the table for games like Gran Turismo, which came out a couple of years beforehand and were stuck with the RUF license for vehicles similar to the Porsche but weren't the Porsche.
According to the Polygon article, RUF uses unmarked Porsche chassis and parts but aren't quite the same. Apparently, it's mentioned in the article that this circumstance with RUF vehicles being featured in all the major games softly rustled the jimmies of the Porsche brand managers, and so that could have played into their decision to eventually vacate the exclusivity license.
Throughout the years, Sony and Microsoft tried getting Porsche into their games but to no avail. The issue involving Porsche being exclusive to Electronic Arts -- and by proxy the Need for Speed brand -- meant that games like Forza Motorsport were bereft of the Porsche brand. Turn 10 Studios had mentioned at one point they really tried hard to get Porsche in the newer Forza Motorsport games but the exclusivity deal between Electronic Arts and the car manufacturer made it difficult.
As pointed out by Polygon, if Porsche decides not to renew any exclusivity deals with a single publisher, it could mean that we could see their cars appearing in all manner of racing games coming out in the near future.
The biggest target on the list is Gran Turismo: Sport, the VR-themed racing game for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro and the PlayStation VR. Finally being able to advertise the addition of one of the most celebrated and respected sports car brands to the game would be a huge boon to the marketing appeal, especially if Polyphony Digital and Sony decided to make something of a big deal out of it. Racing games live and die based on three factors: physics, graphics and car roster.
With Porsche being back on the market and prowling for a proper suitor, it will be interesting to see if Sony or Microsoft will attempt another exclusivity deal similar to Electronic Arts, or if they'll try to stay competitive by only licensing the car brand when necessary and keeping it open for others to use as well.