(Pocket-lint) - EA has managed quite an overtake, careering past rival publisher Take-Two Interactive to confirm a purchase of British driving game experts Codemasters for £945 million, or $1.2 billion.

Its interest in the studio became public over the weekend, despite reports that Take-Two had agreed a deal of its own, and it would seem that EA's interest was not only concrete but also priced at a premium that Take-Two couldn't match.

The previous deal had been mooted at £759 or $970 million, so EA has had to up the price substantially, but it's confirmed that things are moving ahead now. 

The acquisition means that EA is suddenly looking like the apex predator in racing games - its own Need for Speed franchise is still ongoing, if diminished compared to its glory years, but Codemasters brings with it the Dirt, Grid and Formula 1 series, three of the most well-regarded and popular racing franchises out there. 

With Codemasters itself having bought the developers behind Project Cars last year, it means that EA's got its hands on a real motherlode of racing goodness. In fact, it basically leaves console exclusives Gran Turismo and Forza as the only really outstanding franchises that EA won't own. 

Whether that's good news for gamers will take far longer to become clear, as it'll be some time until the purchase is actually complete. The deal also comes hot on the heels of Microsoft's purchase of Bethesda, and leaves even fewer independent developers out there than before. 

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.
  • Source: Electronic Arts Reaches Agreement for Recommended Acquisition of Codemasters Group Holdings PLC - businesswire.com
Sections EA Games