The landscape of racing games has officially changed today as Electronic Arts (EA) announced that they have completed the acquisition of UK racing game developer and publisher Codemasters.
All of the aforementioned games will be added to EA’s existing racing game library which includes the Burnout series, the Real Racing series on mobile, and marquee franchise Need For Speed.
This acquisition has actually been in the works for quite a while but technically neither side had “officially” confirmed anything so we wanted to wait until it was all buttoned up.
How much did EA pay for Codemasters?
According to a statement released this morning EA purchased Codemasters at about $8.37 per share which equaled a total valuation of 1.2 billion USD. While that is a very large amount of money, it should also be noted that EA’s estimated net worth in 2020 was just over 22 billion USD. So, a 1.2 billion dollar investment isn’t much sweat off EA’s back.
As of now, neither EA or Codemasters has detailed specifically how things will work between them. However, the statement released this morning did suggest that games from Codemasters catalog will likely make their way to the EA Play game subscription service.
Specifically, that part of the statement reads that the “union will open significant growth opportunities for Codemasters franchises with access to Electronic Arts’ network of more than 430 million players and industry-leading multi-platform subscription services.”
So we think it would be reasonable to expect to see some of Codemasters games come to EA Play in the interim.
The real question now is what this acquisition will mean for Codemasters’ catalog of games going forward?
What does the EA acquisition of Codemasters mean for racing games?
The way we see it, there are three different possible scenarios that can play out.
The first is that EA takes a complete “hands-off” approach and lets Codemasters continue to do things the way they have but steps in to provide their marketing and publishing support to help Codemasters-developed games reach bigger audiences.
The second scenario is the opposite of the first and all racing games from EA and Codemasters going forward is very collaborative with EA having a strong creative and administrative influence on the next Codemasters-developed games.
The third scenario is similar to the first in which EA is relatively hands-off with future Codemasters titles but they also tap the UK studio to essentially be their designated Need For Speed development studio going forward.
That third scenario seems the most likely to us as currently EA tends to bounce their Need For Speed games to different internal studios. That strategy has had mixed results as some Need for Speed games haven’t been very impressive, though there has been recent bright spots like Need For Speed Payback and Need For Speed Heat.
How will the fans respond?
Speaking of “mixed” we expect the reaction to this news to be quite polarizing. We suspect die-hard Need For Speed fans will be happy about the possibility that future games in the franchise will have Codemasters’ expertise behind them.
However, we can also see Codemasters fans being nervous about the acquisition. Codemasters has a winning formula that fans have come to expect and love. Bringing EA into the mix could possibly ruin that formula.
There is also the fact that EA has a reputation for acquiring fan-favorite studios, only to under-utilize them and then eventually dissolve them. Though to be fair, that hasn’t happened within EA for quite some time.
It’s likely that we won’t have a clear picture of any future plans until 2022. Though there may be a chance we get a hint this summer during what we’re calling “E3 season” which is generally around June and goes into July.
In the meantime all we can do is speculate about the possibilities. What are your thoughts about EA acquiring Codemasters? Are you excited about what this could mean for EA and Codemasters racing games in the future? Or are you worried that EA may drop the ball and ruin the good thing that Codemasters had going?
Let us know what you think in the comments below or tweet to us at MotorworldHype.