F1 2009

James Batchelor

F1 2009

Following the success of Colin McRae: Dirt 2, Codemasters continues to prove it is a world leading publisher in the racing genre with its newest release, F1 2009.

The action starts with the upcoming Wii and PSP titles in November, with a PS3 and Xbox 360 version due at
the start of the next Formula One season in the summer. Given the popularity of the motorsport, Codies is understandably confident it has a smash hit on its hands.

“Our expectations are justifiably huge – in many ways, F1 2009 is a perfect storm,” says brand manager Paul Waters. “Firstly, we’ve got the F1 licence, which is absolutely massive – especially with a British World Champion.

“Secondly, we’ve got a great game. Early feedback from both gamers and Formula One fanatics have been incredibly positive. We’re also bundling a Formula One-style race wheel peripheral with the Wii version, creating a must-have Christmas gift.

“Off-shelf, F1 2009 will also benefit from a heavyweight TV ad campaign at launch. We’ve partnered with Nintendo and are looking forward to our biggest ever UK TV campaign for a Wii title.”

As the title suggests, the game is completely officially licensed. Having acquired the Formula One rights
this year, Codemasters and developer Sumo Digital have used everything at their disposal to recreate the authentic atmosphere and thrills of F1 racing – which Waters touts as a major selling point.

“Without doubt, the game’s defining feature is the Formula One content,” he says. “We’ve got all the stars, all the cars, and all the tracks from the 2009 season. However, as much as this game is about immersing people in the sport they love, it’s also about getting them to share that passion with friends and family.

“The PSP SKU has four-player ad-hoc Wi-Fi multiplayer modes, which will no doubt make the bus journey to school more exciting and competitive. The Wii SKU has two-player splitscreen mode and has been built to fill that gap in the market for games that both fathers and sons can enjoy together.”

STEERING F1 TO MARKET
Codemasters has drawn up an extensive marketing campaign to raise public awareness of F1’s arrival. This is not only to ensure the avid gaming fans pick it up at launch, but also to entice a wider audience, taking advantage of the holiday season.

“With F1 2009 launching in mid-November, this is perfect timing to capitalise on the busy Christmas gifting season, especially for those ‘hard to buy for’ dads and lads,” says Waters.

“As the Wii format will launch as a bundle pack along with a steering wheel peripheral, this will give us a key point of difference at retail. We are actively promoting online and at store level through point of sale and Christmas catalogue inclusions.”

TV ads will run around programming aimed at three distinct audiences: fathers and sons, housewives and children, and 16 to 34-year-olds. The first TV spots will run in mid-November.

For print and online, Codemasters will be concentrating on specialist Formula One media, a demographic Waters claims has a good level of crossover with the Wii’s install base.

THE RIGHT FORMULA
The publisher is also working closely with Nintendo and Sony to promote the game through the platform holders’ official channels.

“In addition to being a pillar title for race gamers, F1 2009 has great potential amongst impulse and gift purchasers,” adds Waters.

“Given that it comes in an outsized box with the wheel, it’s certainly a title that can be recommended to the more casual gift purchasers throughout the holiday season.

“The bundle pack has been specifically designed to stand out on shelf and, when you combine that with the Formula One licence, the game quality, the race wheel and the TV spend, we’re looking at big numbers.”

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