Codemasters CEO: EA Is Like Our Cinderella Shoe, a Perfect Fit; They Listen But Don’t Force Us


Codemasters joining EA in a deal worth $1.2 billion is one of three huge gaming industry deals to happen in recent months, right alongside Embracer's acquisition of Gearbox (worth up to $1.37 billion, though most of that figure is dependant on financial goals being met) and Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda (for $7.5 billion).

Now that the dust is starting to settle, Codemasters CEO Frank Sagnier appeared alongside EA CEO Andrew Wilson in an interview published on MCVUK's latest digital magazine (issue 967, May 2021), where the two executives provided an update on how the integration process between the two companies is going. Sagnier in particular was very enthusiastic in his statements.

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The good news is, it’s been way faster than I anticipated. We are in the process of integrating. And I could tell you that within just two months, it’s amazing how much we’ve integrated so quickly. And in all departments. It’s like the glove fits perfectly, like we found our Cinderella shoe, it is a perfect fit!

EA brings scale with its sales and marketing muscles, live services expertise, state of the art analytics platform, EA access, EA Play, Origin – just so much wealth that EA brings in terms of their services. We’ve had access to every single opportunity. I’m not saying that we’re going to take everything. And that’s why it’s fantastic, EA is offering all the services, but not forcing us if it doesn’t fit. So it really is the perfect world at this point. And this is why I’m so confident about how much EA can bring to Codemasters and hopefully vice versa, because they listen and we listen too.

They’ve got expertise in racing... they already have Need for Speed, Real Racing, Burnout, it’s an amazing pool of IP. So it’s not like we’ve been acquired by somebody who doesn’t understand racing, and that makes a big difference.

The part about being offered EA technology without any obligation to use it should instill hope among Codemasters fans who feared that the studio's next games would have to be made with Frostbite instead of the EGO Engine, for example.

Sagnier also went on to say that while the $1.2 billion figure could look daunting, he believes in a few years this will be looked back as a 'deal of the century' type of acquisition.

We’ve grown massively over the past few years at Codemasters. From 2014, when I joined, to our latest numbers in March, we’ve multiplied our revenue by five, and we’ve added £14m in EBITDA. We’ve achieved this by focusing on premium quality games. We’ve seen how adding talents, like we’ve done with Evolution Studio and Slightly Mad could bring us to
a new level, but EA will unlock our maximum potential and in a way that we’ve not seen before. So while we were well known for authentic racing and simulation, EA can help us on culture, lifestyle, and reaching a huge audience, in a way we couldn’t on our own.

It’s fantastic when competitors get together because we don’t have to fight each other – we’ve seen it when we acquired the Evolution team or Slightly Mad. We can strategize on how to best address our consumers, segment the various IP or areas we want to target and focus on making the best games for our consumers. Of course, there’s always going to be competition, but working together with such knowledgeable parties about racing is going to make our overall strategy way more efficient.

The first Codemasters game to be published under the Electronic Arts and more specifically EA Sports banner is F1 2021, due on July 16th on all major platforms.

Just today, the two companies announced seven iconic drivers that will be added to the game's Digital Deluxe edition: Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, David Coulthard, Felipe Massa. The cover drivers have also been confirmed to be Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, and Max Verstappen.

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