One of the oldest and biggest independent developers in the UK is to be sold to Take-Two, giving them control of Dirt and the F1 licence.
The majority of the UK games industry has been owned by outside companies for decades now, with Rare a subsidiary of Microsoft, Tomb Raider publisher Eidos bought out by Square Enix, and GTA creators DMA Design acquired by Take-Two and turned into Rockstar North.
And now the same thing has happened to Codemasters, one of the country’s longest surviving developers, who have agreed on an acquisition deal with Take-Two for $994 million (£750 million).
Take-Two claims that Codemasters’ racing games will be, ‘highly complementary to our sports portfolio and enhance further our organization’s long-term growth’.
It’s unclear whether the Codemasters will remain prominent, but the way Take-Two are talking it sounds like their games might become part of the 2K sports label.
Dirt 5 was released only this month but Codemasters also owns the F1 licence, and is well known for franchises such as Grid, Toca, and, in the 16-bit era, Micro Machines.
Codemasters also recently acquired Project Cars and Fast & Furious Crossroads developer Slightly Mad Studios, which Take-Two will also now own.
Better known to its fans as Codies, the developer was established in 1986 by the Darling brothers and was initially known for budget-priced games where the developers themselves wrote the glowing review quotes on the back of the box.
Collaborating with the Oliver Twins, Codemasters also published the Dizzy games and then moved onto the Micro Machines franchise and the infamous Game Genie cheat cartridge that saw them unsuccessfully sued by Nintendo.
In the transition from the 16-bit era to the modern Codemasters began specialising in sports games such as Pete Sampras Tennis and Brian Lara Cricket, before eventually focusing almost entirely on racing games.
Major acquisitions such as this have already become a major feature of the new generation, with Microsoft having recently purchased Bethesda for $7.5 billion and hinting that they’re on the look out for Japanese companies as well.
Sony has also said that they are considering new purchases, as the games industry seems destined for a period of rapid consolidation.
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