Electronic Arts have completed their acquisition of UK racing game specialist Codemasters, folding the Formula 1, DIRT, WRC, GRID and Project CARS racing game series into EA’s portfolio alongside the likes of Need for Speed, Real Racing and (if we’re lucky) Burnout. The deal saw EA pay $1.2 billion to buy Codemasters, outbidding Take Two in the process.
— Electronic Arts (@EA) February 18, 2021
Speaking of the deal, Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts said, “This is the beginning of an exciting new era for racing games and content as we bring together the talented teams at Electronic Arts and Codemasters. […] Our teams will be a global powerhouse in racing entertainment, with amazing games for players on every platform, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Codemasters CEO Frank Sagnier called it “a landmark in Codemasters’ history, and an exciting day for our employees and players.”
I’m not entirely sure Frank’s got his finger on the pulse with that one. Sure, he is expected to scoop up £20.5 million personally and other execs will share around £10 million in pay outs, EA are now in charge of the company’s future. They previously stated that they will conduct a year-long review of the company to see how they and Codemasters “can work most effectively and efficiently together.” They say this won’t lead to a “material” number of redundancies, but make no guarantees. Given the number of studios and overlapping racing game brands that Codemasters own, there’s a real fear that some parts of the company will suffer.
And there’s also concerns for fans of Codemasters’ racing games that they will have to shift focus to meet EA’s particular goals and ambitions with regard to monetisation. With the F1 and upcoming WRC license, we could see some kind of Ultimate Team mode adapted for these real world motorsports and the addition of microtransactions in a more pervasive fashion. Gamers will certainly view such changes with trepidation, though the real impact is unlikely to be felt for a few years.
This is just one of a few big money moves that EA are making as they look to broaden their portfolio and reach. EA also announced the acquisition of Glu Mobile, the developer behind such mobile game hits as Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, for $2.4 billion – two Codemasters, in other words.
Source: press release