Codemasters is one of the largest video game developers in the United Kingdom. Codemasters announced that Reliance Big Entertainment (RBEL), will acquire 50% shareholding in the company. Balderton Capital is the company’s other investor, having first invested in Codemasters back in 2005.
RBEL’s gaming division, called Zapak Digital Entertainment, will be in charge of the Codemasters investment. Zapak is the largest gaming company in India, with interests in both casual gaming and massively multiplayer online games, as well as publishing and distributing games world-wide.
Rohit Sharma, CEO of Zapak, said: “We are excited to partner with Codemasters and believe that its very strong technology, development and distribution presence will complement our global gaming portfolio. Additionally, Zapak’s global strength in mobile gaming will enhance Codemasters’ ability to fully leverage its attractive franchises such as its racing and cricket games.”
Codemasters is the parent of many a famous game franchise, like the TOCA Race Driver/GRID, Formula 1 and Colin McRae Rally/DiRT racing games, the Overlord series, and military sims like Operation Flashpoint. The company sees annual revenues in excess of $150 million.
Rod Cousens, chief executive of Codemasters, said: “The opportunities arising from this partnership are truly exciting. This is great news for our development and publishing teams. Reliance and Zapak have immense resources and will help us realize the full potential of our game coding and online excellence across so many platforms, and especially in the world’s fastest growing markets. The future of Codemasters has never looked brighter – it’s a whole new game.”
With India centered Zapak taking charge of literally half of the company, it makes one wonder if and how this will effect the future development of Codemaster titles from a cultural standpoint. Gaming in Asia is quite a different beast than gaming in the west, as Zapak itself is testament to. Aside from having eight million registered gamers online, Zapak owns a massive chain of gaming cafe’s, called the “Zapak GamePlex”, of which there are over a hundred in over 40 cities throughout India. Perhaps we can expect to see a boom in casual, internet-cafe-friendly and mobile-friendly games in the near future?