Codemasters' board of directors has voted in favor of Electronic Arts' (EA) purchase of the racing game studio following 63 of Codemasters' 76 shareholders also approving EA's takeover bid. Now with the board of approval sealed, the acquisition can be formalized in a court hearing this coming February 16, 2021.
EA was not the first gaming conglomerate looking to buy Codemasters. The racing game studio was previously close to being bought out by Take-Two for the price of a billion dollars. EA came into the picture with a higher offer of $1.2 billion, outbidding Take-Two. EA was left alone to follow through with the acquisition.
Brief History of EA Acquisitions
Origin may be known as the official EA launcher on the PC platform today, but Origin was one of the first studios acquired by EA. Origin Systems was a game developer based in Austin, Texas, and is best known for some of the PC's most beloved games like the Ultima and Wing Commander series.
EA acquired Origin in 1992 and its games suffered a long agonizing death. Take for example the Ultima series. Back then, it looked like Ultima would never die, but sure enough it did. When EA took more interest in Ultima, Origin included unnecessary elements into the series like platforming.
Ultima, known for its compelling narrative, cut the plot in order to catch deadlines as stockholders began to pressure the studio. Ultima VIII: Pagan got released in an unfinished state with features and characteristics not resembling Ultima. Origin wanted the influx of new players, but in turn, lost its rabid fanbase.
In 1995, EA bought Bullfrog, the creators of the God-game genre. Bullfrog founder Pete Molyneux left after a messy corporate encroachment by EA. By 2001, Bullfrog was integrated into EA UK dissolving its existence in the process. This led to an exodus of talents which established Media Molecule, creators of PlayStation's mascot game LittleBigPlanet. Then also came Maxis, while The Sims is still one of the best selling franchises, it had soured fans with its obscene pricing with The Sims 4. The SimCity series is also effectively dead.
What Is The Future With Codemasters?
Some of the industry observers are confused with EA's acquisition of Codemasters. EA already has a racing game developer in its stable: Criterion Games, makers of Burnout, which EA also acquired in 2004. Criterion Games is now back and developing Need For Speed. There is no overlap between Codemasters' roster (Dirt series, Grid, F1 series) and Criterion as the former creates sim racers while the latter makes arcade racers. EA seems to integrate its bought studios when they do not perform well commercially and that is the challenge for Codemasters.