Racers back at pole position

The losing streak for racing games is definitely over, with Test Drive Unlimited 2 on top this week.

Early last year a number of high-profile racers failed to meet sales expectations, including Activision’s Blur.

But a string of No.1s have seen the racing genre get back on track. Codemasters’ F1 2010 reached No.1 in September last year and this was followed by EA’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit in November, which remained in the Top Ten for 13 weeks.

GT5 topped the charts at the end of November, and last week Atari and Namco Bandai saw Test Drive Unlimited 2 drive straight to the top of the Chart-Track Top 40.

Lee Kirton, marketing director of Namco Bandai Partners – the publisher which handled Test Drive Unlimited 2’s European release – said: The driving genre is crowded, and that’s why titles like F1, Hot Pursuit and Test Drive stand out. They offer something unique compared to the run of the mill racer.”

Codemasters’ brand director for Dirt and Grid Guy Pearce told MCV: Assumptions made about the decline in the appeal of the racing genre were false.

The racing audience has matured, grown and tastes have evolved. It’s a more complex genre to operate in, but equally, if you can stay relevant the opportunities are plentiful.”

Best of all, there’s a number of new racers out next month, such as Ridge Racer 3D for 3DS and EA’s Shift 2 Unleashed for Xbox 360, PC and PS3.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was an immensely successful game,” added EA’s marketing director Dan Holman. Games in any genre need to offer great gameplay and above all, constantly innovate. By taking those ingredients our racing games have a bright future.”

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