Motorsport Games hasn’t paid salaries to its Russia-based development team for months. As a result, one of the employees reportedly decided to take more desperate action, threatening to leak the source code for several games online if the company continued not to pay wages.
NASCAR 21: Ignition
- One employee recently started blackmailing Motorsport Games CEO Dmitry Kozko, an anonymous source at the studio told Insider Gaming.
- This employee promised to leak the source code for four games — NASCAR 21: Ignition, NASCAR: Heat 5, Indycar, and KartKraft — if the company doesn’t pay salaries to staff by January 25.
- This follows a report that Motorsport Games hasn’t paid wages to its 30-person Russian team since October 2022.
- Some employees were offered to move to Georgia to receive their salaries, but the management wasn’t going to help them with relocation.
Who are Motorsport Games?
- Founded in 2018, Motorsport Games is a Miami-based game developer focused on making racing games for mobile, PC, and consoles.
- According to its official website, the company has an additional development and esports division in England, as well as a “first-class development operation delivering the very latest technology for our future products” in Moscow, Russia (that’s the studio that reportedly hasn’t seen their money in months).
- In January 2021, Motorsport Games went public, raising $69 million at a $510 million valuation through an IPO. However, many investors were skeptical about the company’s future, given its focus on the racing genre occupied by large franchises like Forza, Need for Speed, and Gran Turismo.
- Last June, Motorsport faced a possible delisting from the NASDAQ after its stock fell below the minimum price of $1 per share. At the moment of writing, the company’s shares are trading at $3.93 per share, with a market cap of $4.7 million.
- In November 2022, Motorsport Games faced a delisting once again after the entire board of directors resigned over a funding dispute.
Insider Gaming first reported the problems at Motorsport Games last week. In October, the management decided to move its Moscow office to Georgia, as it could no longer pay its Russian employees due to global sanctions and the war against Ukraine.
According to the report, the company not only didn’t provide developers with any compensation for the relocation, but also offered them new contracts, which were around 20% less than their previous salaries in Russia. Some people who eventually moved to Georgia with their families still struggled to receive their money.
As a result, a group of employees threatened to file a lawsuit against Motorsport Games for not paying wages and allegedly forcing them to “sign the termination of an employment contract.”