There’s more news of job losses in the racing game industry as EA confirms redundancies at Codemasters. In a statement to IGN, it was referred to as ‘small-scale organizational changes’, and the number of staff impacted hasn’t been revealed.
The British developer was founded back in 1986, developing racing titles including the Colin McRae and Dirt series, the official F1 franchise, Grid, and securing the WRC license in 2020. They also acquired studios including Sega Racing and Slightly Mad in 2008 and 2019 respectively, along with staff from Evolution Studios following a closure by Sony.
EA bought Codemasters in 2021 for $1.2 billion, becoming part of EA Sports. Since then, the Project CARS series has been cancelled, Codemasters Cheshire was merged with Criterion to work on Need for Speed Unbound, released in December 2022, and delisted older titles including DiRT Rally and previous F1 games prior to 2022 from sale.
With Need for Speed Unbound not being hugely commercially successful, both F1 23 and EA Sports WRC have been released in 2023 with some initial issues. Despite a challenging game industry, the latest EA financial report including a total new revenue of $1.9 billion for the quarter ending September 30th, 2023, and $7,593 billion for the previous 12 months, up slightly from 2022, with a forecase between $7.3 and $77 billion for the fiscal year ending in March 2024.
A number of other racing game developers have also been impacted by cuts, including Motorsport Games, and with restructuring announced at Digital Bros (Kunos Simulazioni), Frontier Developments (F1 23) and Embracer Group (Milestone, Bugbear, Saber and Rainbow Studios). And the UK videogame industry as a whole has experienced a large number of redundancies and financial problems in 2023, meaning it’s not a great time to be looking for a new job, especially if you’ve been laid off in the run-up to Christmas.
As always, our thoughts are with those individuals impacted.
And it seems 2024 will be a particularly interesting time for sim racing and racing games. While there are new titles to look forward to (including GTRevival, Rennsport, Le Mans Ultimate etc), will it be the start of a new era where there’s a smaller number of big publishers and developers? Could it make smaller studios and indie developers less keen on acquisitions, and happier producing profitable titles on a more sustainable scale? Or is the gaming industry going to rebound and carry on with the largest firms sticking to their usual operating procedure of constantly buying up teams and titles, cutting staff and anything not doing big enough numbers, and just concentrating on their share values and profits?