EA Is Buying Racing Dev Codemasters For $1.2 Billion

Illustration for article titled EA Is Buying Racing Dev Codemasters For $1.2 Billion
Screenshot: EA / Codemasters / Kotaku

Despite a nearly $1 billion bid from Take-Two Interactive last month, Electronic Arts has announced an agreement to purchase English racing game developer Codemasters for $1.2 billion. The purchase will put popular racing series Dirt, Dirt Rally, Grid, F1, Project Cars, Burnout, and Need for Speed under one world-encompassing roof.


Since its founding in 1986 by brothers Richard and David Darling, Codemasters has been steadily producing a large portion of the world’s racing video games. EA started pumping out Need for Speed games in 1994 and added Burnout developer Criterion Games to its stable of studios in 2004. Today’s acquisition, expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2021, gives EA so many racing games. Not Gran Turismo or Forza, but so many.

Comparatively, Take-Two Interactive does relatively few racing games. It does own Rockstar, makers of Midnight Club, but it’s been over a decade since we’ve heard anything about that series. Oh, you know what would have been neat? If Take-Two bought Codemasters and rebooted Midnight Club. If only the publisher had scraped up that extra 200 million.

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I dislike EA but I don’t see this really mattering much. Racing games are a dying breed and have more status now as a niche similar to flight simulator games. They’re not nearly as popular as they once were. (That’s not to say they’re unpopular but they were once more popular than FPS and were system sellers)

Of course you can argue that’s because of EA and their horribly handling of key IPs, but Microsoft and Sony also let the genre diminish greatly.

Codemasters hasn’t made a genuinely good and ambitious racer in years. This is definitely no big loss. In fact, it’s probably a good thing in the end regardless of what EA does since Codemasters has been beating them at it for years already.