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Take-Two is buying Codemasters

Racing game developer joins publisher of 2K Sports, Grand Theft Auto

Two muscle cars race in a screenshot from Dirt 5 Image: Codemasters
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of 2K Games, 2K Sports, and Rockstar Games titles, is buying Codemasters, the folks who make Dirt, Grid, and F1 racing games. The $994 million deal is expected to go ahead in the first quarter of 2021, Take-Two said in a news release Tuesday.

Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two, said that the acquisition of Codemasters will be “highly complementary” to Take-Two’s sports portfolio, which includes NBA 2K, NHL 2K, PGA Tour 2K, and WWE 2K. Zelnick praised the U.K.-based publisher for its “renowned history of creating some of our industry’s most beloved and commercially successful racing franchises.”

Codemasters itself has grown substantially in recent years with acquisitions of the former Evolution Studios team (MotorStorm, DriveClub) in 2016 and Slightly Mad Studios (Project CARS, Fast & Furious Crossroads) in 2019. Codemasters’ latest game, Dirt 5, was released on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on Nov. 6. The rally racing game comes to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X this week.

It’s been a busy year of consolidation for the video game industry, with Microsoft acquiring ZeniMax Media and adding Bethesda Softworks to Xbox Game Studios in September, and Sony completing its acquisition of Insomniac Games last November.