In an unexpected move it seems that Electronic Arts (EA) is now in pole position to buy the developers of the Official Formula One game amongst other racing titles, Codemasters.
As we reported last month it was Take Two Interactive who had agreed a $970 million sale of the Warwickshire based company. However, over the weekend it was reported that the gaming juggernaut had agreed an offer in the ballpark of $1.2 billion for the gaming studios.
EA have got history with Formula One stretching back to 1988 when they released ‘Ferrari Formula One’, but most long-time fans of F1 games may remember their spell creating the then well received F1 2000, 2001 and 2002 games, with the popular F1 Career Challenge which was created to simulate the 1999-2002 seasons when EA held the official license for the sport.
Yet when modern gamers hear the name EA they often shudder in fear. The gaming giant has now created one of the most powerful and money spinning franchises in gaming history with its FIFA and Madden (NFL) franchises, with FIFA making roughly £2.8 million a day with online purchases.
While Take Two Interactive and 2K Sports are as predatory with their paid-for downloadable content (DLC). EA has become mainstream news with its ‘loot boxes’ and whether that constitutes gambling and the practice being banned in some European countries.
However Codemasters Chairman said about the impending sale
“We will benefit from EA’s knowledge, resources and extensive global scale – both overall and specifically within the racing sector”.
If the sale does go through what does it mean for gamers?
Well, EA does have a pedigree for creating huge sports titles. It currently holds the official license for five mainstream sports, so adding a sixth and creating a racing game was firmly on their radar.
Fans may be disappointed to not see 2K Sports get a chance to use their sensational graphics capabilities to beautifully re-create the current Formula One landscape, but EA Sports has been catching up with its art style in recent years and with Formula One’s popularity expanding due to Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ it makes sense for EA to want to build on the hype.
The biggest fear will be micro-transactions, these in-game purchases have been the bane of anger for many gamers and it will likely be a big conversation if the sale is agreed.
The deal is expected to be completed by March 2021 meaning we could see EA Sports Formula One 2021 in time for their usual summer release window.