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New NASCAR game coming in 2016, from a studio in stock-car racing's heartland

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

NASCAR's video game license has changed hands again, this time going to a new studio in Charlotte, N.C., home of the stock car racing series' headquarters. The studio says it is working on a new simulation for 2016.

DMi Games announced this weekend it will be making an as-yet-unnamed racing sim for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, with a release planned for 2016. DMi Games is a subsidiary of HC2 Holdings, which acquired the exclusive NASCAR license effective Jan. 1.

Eutechnyx, which had the NASCAR license since 2014, will still go forward with an update to NASCAR ‘14 that is due to release in the spring. (Though it is called NASCAR ‘15, it is not a new game, but rather a season update to last year's edition.) That will release on all three NASCAR ‘14 platforms, PlayStation 3, Windows PC and Xbox 360.

DMi also got some of the NASCAR-related assets (such as tracks and cars) that Eutechnyx used to build the four console games it made, giving it a head start on development for the 2016 game.

In a letter to racing fans posted Saturday, DMi president Ed Martin introduced himself and Tom Dusenberry, the studio's CEO. Martin is a veteran of Hasbro Interactive and EA Sports and most recently managed business for Eutechnyx' NASCAR line. Dusenberry, who considers himself a huge NASCAR fan, is the founder and former president of Hasbro Interactive.

Several developers and publishers made NASCAR games, notably EA Sports and Papyrus, from the 1990s to early 2000s until EA Sports took over console publishing on an exclusive basis in 2003. It exited with NASCAR 09 in 2008, and Eutechnyx and Activision picked up the license from there. NASCAR ‘14, which launched about a year ago, was made by Eutechnyx and published by Deep Silver.

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