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Codemasters acquires Slightly Mad Studios

Leo Natan

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Project CARS Franchise Added to Codemasters’ Stellar Portfolio Including DiRT®, GRID® and Official Formula 1® Series

Codemasters® today announced it has agreed to acquire racing simulation specialists, Slightly Mad Studios. The agreement cements Codemasters’ position as a world-leading games developer and publisher of racing videogames and expands its portfolio to include the award-winning Project CARS, together with an unannounced Hollywood blockbuster title. Frank Sagnier will remain CEO of Codemasters Group plc which now includes Slightly Mad Studios and Ian Bell will retain his position of Founder and CEO of Slightly Mad Studios. Codemasters now employs c.700 people globally with offices including London, Birmingham, Southam and Runcorn.

Both companies share a rich history of creating AAA racing games. Codemasters has been a UK leader for over 30 years and is the creator of the critically acclaimed intellectual properties including DiRT®, GRID® and the BAFTA-winning official FORMULA 1® Series. Slightly Mad Studios has been established for 10 years and is the proud developer and owner of the Project CARS franchise which has generated both critical and commercial success. Slightly Mad Studios has also delivered high-quality racing simulations alongside its own IP including two Need for Speed titles on behalf of Electronic Arts.

“We are delighted to bring such an incredible racing game developer to the Codemasters family, and this unequivocally establishes us as a global powerhouse in the development of racing titles,” said Frank Sagnier, Chief Executive Officer at Codemasters. “We share the same passion and vision and our new partnership will accelerate our growth. With more streaming services coming to market and the next generation of games consoles due in 2020, this is the perfect time for Codemasters to take its next step.”

“Our combined racing games portfolio is the envy of the industry and this new partnership will enable us to learn from each other, share resources and take advantage of emerging platforms and technology,” said Ian Bell, Founder and Chief Executive at Slightly Mad Studios. “My team is excited to be joining Codemasters and we can’t wait to forge a relationship based on creativity, passion and the desire to create new racing experiences that excite and delight our communities.”


That's terrible! Can't wait for CM to give them some silly arcade stool sample project, let it fail miserably and then close them down! 😂

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Codemasters has acquired Project CARS developer Slightly Mad Studios for a $30 million upfront fee.

The acquisition will bring Slightly Mad's racing expertise into the Codemasters organisation, which is also a well established specialist in the genre. The entirety of Slightly Mad's 150-person team will make the transition as part of the deal.

The UK publisher will pay $30 million (£23.3 million) upfront -- $25 million in cash, and $5 million in stock -- but an earnout clause based on Slightly Mad's EBITDA over a three-year period that could take the value higher.

A spokesperson briefed GamesIndustry.biz that the maximum earnout is $166 million (£128.9 million), but the financial analyst Liberum expects the actual amount to be approximately £52.6 million ($67.9 million).

“Codemasters' acquisition of SMS will create a global leader in the racing genre," said Codemasters CEO Frank Sagnier. "Their focus on AAA quality and the passion that they put into everything they create mirrors our own. Both companies have a number of world renowned, successful franchises along with exciting product development pipelines, supported by leading IP and some of the best talent in the gaming industry.

"The enlarged Codemasters will have greater scale and reach, diversified, predictable revenue streams and the opportunity to bring outstanding entertainment to a far wider audience. We welcome Ian and his team to the Codemasters family and can't wait to start working together to create the future generation of racing franchises.”

Codemasters has been making racing games virtually since its inception in 1986, while the London-based Slightly Mad Studios was founded in 2009. However, in its ten years in business, Slightly Mad has established itself as one of the industry's leading racing developers, with the critically acclaimed titles Project CARS in 2015 and Project CARS 2 in 2017.

Codemasters also noted that Slightly Mad has three projects in development: a new mobile game, Project CARS Go; a game based on "a Hollywood blockbuster movie franchise," which is rumoured to be based on the Fast & Furious series; and a third title based on Slightly Mad's own IP.

The $5 million in stock will be payable to Slightly Mad Studios when it launches the game based on a blockbuster movie franchise in the next financial year.

Codemasters will raise £20 million to help finance the deal through a new share placing, at a price of £2.10 per share. However, it expects its earnings per share to rise 30% as a result of the acquisition in the first full year of ownership.


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Good evening everyone,

didnt Ian say Pcars 3 is coming out on the ps5 ,

what we do know is Pcars 2 is our go to game for sim racing and no other studio has managed to get close to that game in almost 3 years,

f12019 was truly a masterpiece on dayone release, then with each update game got so bad for wheel users that only cars that feel ffb is classic cars and multiplayer cars,

and yet game called f12019.

i don't believe it will be any different,. In actual fact worse,

only way it could have worked was Ian bell taking complete charge of codemasters,

then we would have seen every racing sim a true mavel,

thanks Ian for the almost 5 years of bliss from racing Pcars1 and PCARS 2,. 

And let's not forget the brilliance of jack spade

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11 minutes ago, FlashStealth said:

i hope will happen the contrary… maybe the little team of grid with some help or some right new peoples inside from sms will re-gain the lost knowhow… 

I personally don't see it,

codemasters have the best people already,

theyve proved this with dirty rally 1.0 and even better dirt rally 2.0 ,

so they've proved they can make great sim games,

,codemasters is about money, not about the little man in the street,

nothing has changed with f12019 , dayone release was excellent, then they ignored everyone on here ,

and kept going with bad patches,,

i don't look at things negative or positive or half empty,, I look at things in the cold light of day .

no way will I buy the season pass for grid, as all that extra stuff should have been in game on release,

,have a great Friday,

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Liked PC2 but got frustrated with the netcode, we would argue over being taken out at a corner in a multiplayer race but thanks to being able to save replays we found that there was too big a difference in what each player saw.  Great selection of cars and tracks and they worked hard and fast to fix car handling issues and bugs at the start.

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That's see,

i hope I am proved wrong,  but I've been proved right over last 5 years, 

Its tough being right 99% of the time 😂😂😂😂😂,

,please codemasters don't buy Big Ben studios as they are even better at producing high quality sim games ,

you get to a certain age and seen it all many times before, and worn the T Shirt,  

but if you've paid £30 million for slightly mad studios,. Then paying me back £65 Senna vs Prost f12019 and £50 grid 2019 is a small price to pay , again did say this 3 months ago,  

nathan gave the game away few weeks ago about SMS being taken over ,

, like I say why would you pay £30 million to have SMS help you to make racing games better,

a fact that's been proven by codemasters that they are more than capable of doing it themselves and saving themselves £30 million, and stopped doing more bad patches on f12019 , 

the game itself was fine on dayone release, 

its your sense of direction in particular with patches that needs to be addressed, wasting precious time and money going down blind alleys , 

thats where I am very good,  I hate wasting time and money, so a few minutes or hours saves a lot of blind alleys ,

worse still on the console you can't pick what game updates you want ,so for ,it would have been more prudent to revert back to certain patches say 1.03 😅

ian is a very good salesman .

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Oh joy.

a) Project Cars 3 will be released with 8 circuits, 43 season pass tokens and 500 cosmetics a month ranging from 99p-£2.49 each

b) Codemasters will sanction SMS to make a lawn mower race/battle game, scratch their heads as to why it flopped and promptly sack the lot of them.

Whichever one it happens to be this is a bad, bad day for sim racers.

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I didn't like the pcars games, as controller support was terrible. But does this mean there is a chance for a new Motorstorm or Driveclub game? Also isn't it quite strange to reacquire some of the ex onrush developers that left to sms?   

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4 hours ago, lastbreath said:

Is EGO engine with x-shaped trees and 3 meters LOD better?

While I share your sentiment, trees in EGO engine are not cardboards. Even going back to DiRT 1. Something broke in the transition to the current generation EGO, so they lost some of their shading, but still look far better than, say, Forza or PCars trees. The problem in Grid is that the lighting was extra terrible, and the aggressive LOD just killed.

But just so you know, it's not an easy switch to fix, so the "team" is "looking at what can be done" never. 😂😂😂

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I don't know how I feel about this. PCARS 2 was great despite some glaring issues. Seemed to me that SMS was doing well. Why sell something you started from scratch with community feedback ? I could be wrong about them doing well. Expectations for something great to come from this acquisition are low following GRID. I suggest we all sit back and wait to see what becomes of this. I for one will not waste time hoping something special happens. Diversify your games rotation and if they manage to pull something off Im there.

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I really don't know what is all your Problem.... Codemasters make good games, Okay the new Grid has a lot of issues, but I think they will fix the slow AI and make them faster and add an option to choose the track lenght and career Mode and also fix the Multiplayer, They have wrote and said they will fix this and I know they will do it. @ChrisGrovesMCM 🙂

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23 minutes ago, Katzenkralle91 said:

the new Grid has a lot of issues

Yes it really is #LikeNoOther Grid game but sadly not in a good way... 😄


Btw: Nice innuendo on the Dirt Rally 2 Content and DLC/Pass nonsens xD




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18 hours ago, Leo Natan said:

trees in EGO engine are not cardboards

OK. it could be bad LOD, But what's this?


This tree is right in front of you among other normal trees. Who modelled it? Chinese or indian outsource? How the hell it ended up in the game? Where is quality control? Who can explain this nonsense? Chris, maybe?

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How i dream of  Pcars 3:

All tracks  from pcars 2 to be there adding some more, also the dynamic weather /daytime, to keep  text chat and spectator mode and all mp features and options like custom lobbies list, up to 32 cars,  rules ect, and move to DX12 about graphic engine... 

To make it more as NFS shift (this is already confirmed) that you can buy upgrades (both visuals and performance),  including drift mode and why not some off road tracks (ok cm know how to do this well) not official rx as pcars 2 had but some fictional ones in beautiful locations  like gt series had..

Just Cm to help SMS  a bit with handling / physics  to make it smoother on gamepad and voila we have a great racing game! 

Do i ask a lot Codemasters? 

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  • PJTierney changed the title to Codemasters acquires Slightly Mad Studios


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