EA is hoping that its planned acquisition of British racing game maker Codemasters will enable it to start releasing a new racing game every year, on par with its other EA Sports franchises.
In a slide deck accompanying the publisher’s Q3 financial results today, EA highlighted the motivations behind its pending acquisition, including the desire to increase its presence in racing, with EA CEO Andrew Wilson describing the sport as “one of the few truly global sports” during the company’s earnings call.
EA’s presentation further outlined Codemasters’ IP line-up, which includes owned IP Dirt, Dirt Rally, Grid, Project Cars, and upcoming mobile franchise Project Cars Go, as well as licensed IP F1 and upcoming licensed games for World Rally Championship beginning in 2023.
These would be added to EA’s owned racing franchises Need for Speed and Burnout Paradise, as well as Real Racing — which hasn’t had a new game launch since Real Racing 3 in 2013.
Later in the earnings call, COO Blake Jorgensen praised the viability of F1 racing in particular as a global franchise currently gaining further traction in the US, suggesting that EA hopes to become the go-to publisher for racing games more broadly, saying the genre is “one of the best growth opportunities there is.”
“On top of the fact that the Dirt Franchise, the Grid franchise, all of their franchises are incredible games, but none of them are actually taking advantage of a large publishing organization and the marketing muscle that we are able to deliver. And we think that has growth to it. Not to mention, the talent that can continue to help our Need for Speed business or our Real Racing business could be very powerful. So we know it is not a FIFA-sized business, but we know there is an incredible opportunity to own essentially all the driving business there is.”
Wilson added that EA also sees an opportunity with Codemasters’ titles to incorporate further live service elements, saying that “F1 plus live service plus our marketing muscle is a profound opportunity.”
This comes alongside a further statement from Wilson during the earnings call, stating EA’s intent to expand EA Sports into different types of sports, with more announcements planned “in the weeks and months ahead.” Wilson added that this includes “at least one new experience” launching next fiscal year — which begins April 2021.
EA announced its intent to acquire Codemasters earlier this month for an approximate price of $1.2 billion, which was initially in contest with a $1 billion offer from Take-Two Interactive before the latter retracted its offer. The acquisition is expected to complete in Q1 of 2021, or between April and June of this year, and is currently pending a shareholder vote from Codemasters.
Codemasters launched Dirt 5 in November of last year as a launch title for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Our review called it “a complete about-face” for the franchise, and an “unabashed, arcade-inspired racing experience.”
Rebekah Valentine is a reporter for IGN.