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Electronic Arts has acquired Codemasters

Codemasters acquires Project CARS developer Slightly Mad Studios

Electronic Arts announced today that it has been able to work out an agreement for them to purchase the premier UK-based racing developer Codemasters.

Codemasters began its life in 1986 as a British studio focused on something that’s very much a legacy of older gaming, cheat codes. While the company founded by two brothers worked on various racing titles, they’re most known for the former. In 1990, Codemasters developed a device called the Power Pak, later renamed the Game Genie. That’s what landed them in a pretty infamous legal battle with Nintendo over potential copyright violations.

After the 1990’s the studio moved into more niche projects and released a variety of racing titles. And that’s where they’re at today, developing titles like F1 tie-ins and Rally games. The studio got the exclusive license to the World Rally Championship series in June 2020, leading to new games coming in future releases.

This led to them being a pretty prolific name in the genre. So seeing them getting approached by Take-Two in November 2020 for a buyout offer made sense. Take-Two has been pushing sports titles as a big earner for years, and moving into racing was a solid idea. However that plan has now been shelved as EA has swooped in to snap up the deal by outbidding the original offer.

Gerhard Florin, the Chairman of Codemasters, said:

“Electronic Arts and Codemasters have a shared ambition to lead the video game racing category. The Board of Codemasters firmly believes the company would benefit from EA’s knowledge, resources and extensive global scale. We feel this union would provide an exciting and prosperous future for Codemasters. This will also allow our teams to create, launch and service bigger and better games to an extremely passionate audience.”

Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, also added:

“We believe there is a deeply compelling opportunity in bringing together Codemasters and Electronic Arts to create amazing and innovative new racing games for fans. Our industry is growing. The racing category is growing, and together we will lead in a new era of racing entertainment. We have admired Codemasters’ creative talent and high-quality games for many years. With the full leverage of EA’s technology, platform expertise, and global reach, this combination will allow us to grow our existing franchises. It will also allows us to deliver more industry-defining racing experiences to a global fan base. We are happy that both our Boards of Directors are recommending this transaction. We look forward to welcoming such an exciting and talented team to the Electronic Arts family.”

Take-Two owns Rockstar Games (GTA, Red Dead), Firaxis Games (Xcom, Civilization), 2K Sports and more, giving them a solid amount of studios to tap. EA also owns a ton of other studios in different genres, like the legendary RPG maker BioWare.

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Frankly, EA has been known to do this from time to time, and has snapped up a pretty solid addition to their racing titles lineup. They placed the legendary Criterion has been put back in control of the Burnout franchise, for example. And now that Electronic Arts and Codemasters have reached an agreement, the deal is expected to complete sometime in 2021.

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