EA has officially completed its $ 1.2 billion acquisition of Codemasters and assured IGN that it will treat the company’s studios as an “independent group” making their own games. EA indicated that it may be interested in reinstating the Formula 1 license to its EA Sports brand.
In a press release, EA clarified that Codemasters franchises such as Formula 1, Dirt and Project CARS will remain alongside current racing games from EA. Speaking to IGN, Matt Bilby, Executive Vice President of Strategic Growth at EA, explained that Codemasters (including Slightly Mad, which bought it in 2019) will remain somewhat independent after the purchase.
“For the foreseeable future, we will treat Codemasters as an independent group, giving them all the support they need to launch their favorite games and explore all opportunities to grow with them,” Bilby explains. “We are very excited about what the future holds for them, and while they will remain independent, we will be there to boost their growth prospects through the strength of EA’s distribution.”
Bilbey explained his motives for the purchase by saying that EA sees more room for growth in racing games and with the acquisition by EA “could provide fans with more regular core racing experiences.” Formula 1 appears to be of particular interest, with Bilbey describing it as “one of the few global sports with strong fan base growth in North America and Asia and continued growth in Europe.”
Speaking of Formula 1, IGN also asked if there are any plans to bring in the license (which Codemasters has owned since 2009) under the EA Sports banner. EA Sports received an F1 license last in 2000-2003. Bilby made no promises, but he did show some interest:
“We are very proud of the values and reach of the EA Sports brand,” said Bilby. “Codemasters have very similar values and a good history of quality. We see an opportunity to collaborate on the Codemasters Formula 1 brand and EA Sports as a compelling proposition to reach more racing fans around the world.”
EA has had a tumultuous history with studios focused on racing games in recent years, with EA Black Box along with two Ghost Games studios shutting down over the past decade. We asked Bilbey what message the company is carrying to those pessimists about the move:
“We really like the racing genre and I know many of your readers are,” Bilby explains, “so they’ll definitely understand why we’ve loved Codemasters for so long. Our goal is to build on the success that Codemasters has achieved and make sure we help create a bright, exciting and exciting future for racing fans, backed by great games that are being put in the hands of more players than ever before.
“Codemasters joins one of the industry’s strongest creative partnerships alongside DICE, Respawn, Bioware, Criterion EA Sports and many more, and the combined knowledge and experience of this group will pave an important path in innovation for everyone. We look forward to providing Codemasters with every level of support to achieve success. Together, knowing that we have a strong future ahead. “