EA acquires video game developer Codemasters for $1.2bn

By William Smith
American video game publisher Electronic Arts has announced it is acquiring Southam, UK-based developer Codemasters...

American video game publisher Electronic Arts has announced it is acquiring Southam, UK-based developer Codemasters.

One of the more venerable studios still in existence, Codemasters was founded in 1986 and is best known for its multiple series of racing games, including Dirt, Grid and F1. With the Formula One series disrupted earlier in the year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the latter series was used by professional racers in a number of esports exhibition races.

The $1.2bn deal is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2021, with Codemasters’ senior management continuing with the company within EA’s organisation.

In a press release, Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts, said: “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 be positioned to 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 and deliver more industry-defining racing experiences to a global fan base.”

The move shows the large sums of money in the video game industry. In the US alone, in 2020, the industry is worth $60.4bn, and has bucked the trend of COVID-19, benefiting from its indoors nature.

EA’s offer gazumped an earlier bid by its rival Take-Two Interactive, signalling the level of interest in the studio.

“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 – both overall and specifically within the racing sector. We feel this union would provide an exciting and prosperous future for Codemasters, allowing our teams to create, launch and service bigger and better games to an extremely passionate audience,” said Gerhard Florin, the Chairman of Codemasters.

(Image: Codemasters)

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