It's official: EA now has a much larger stake in the racing game world. The publisher has completed its $1.2 billion acquisition of Codemasters soon after shareholders approved the deal and just a few months after Take-Two's failed attempt. The purchase puts the likes of Dirt and Formula 1 under the same umbrella as Need for Speed and Real Racing, of course, but the two companies characterize it as more than just expanding EA's motorsport catalog.
Codemasters will get access not just to EA's player base, but "deep data" and other tools to help grow titles that include realistic racers like Project CARS. This potentially helps all of its franchises grow, not just those that dovetail with EA's penchant toward arcade-style racers. And EA doesn't just get a wider selection of games — it also gets a potential rescuer if a given racing franchise flounders (ahem, Need for Speed) and needs a fresh approach.
Whether or not it works out as hoped is less than clear. Codemasters does fill a gap in EA's lineup, but there is a concern the newly acquired team could be pressured to conform to EA's business models, such as its like-clockwork annual sports game releases. There's no denying that EA has a less-than-stellar history with acquisitions, for that matter. Studios like BioWare, Visceral Games and Origin Systems have either struggled or shut down under EA's tenure, with critics arguing that they gradually lost the talent and focus that made them special. There are success stories like Respawn, though, so there is some hope that Codemasters can thrive under EA's wing.