Indian conglomerate cracks 50% of Codemasters

Reliance Big Entertainment acquires half of Dirt publisher for undisclosed sum; racing, cricket franchises targeted.

146 Comments

In June 2007, Balderton Capital expanded its holdings in Codemasters, building upon the 40 percent stake it had previously acquired to buy out the British game company's founders. Now, the venture capital firm will be sharing control of the publisher, as Reliance Big Entertainment announced today that it has acquired a 50 percent sharehold in Codemasters. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Reliance Big is keen on Codemasters' Dirt franchise.
Reliance Big is keen on Codemasters' Dirt franchise.

Reliance Big Entertainment is the media arm of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, which is ranked among India's top three largest businesses. The entertainment company's Hollywood ventures include a partnership with Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider to form DreamWorks Studios, as well as development deals with production houses ranging from George Clooney's Smokehouse Productions to Brian Gazer and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment

Reliance Big's investment in Codemasters will fall under the entertainment company's Zapak label. The Indian gaming company is primarily known as a provider of online casual games and boasts 8 million registered users through Zapak.com. Zapak also publishes a variety of massively multiplayer online games in India, including Runescape and Crazy Kart, creates mobile wares through its Jump Games division, and owns more than 100 Internet cafes.

"We are excited to partner with Codemasters and believe its very strong technology, development, and distribution presence will complement our global gaming portfolio," said Zapak CEO Rohit Sharma in a statement. "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 perhaps best known for its racing franchises, which include Dirt, Grid, and Formula 1. Other franchises in the publisher's stable include cricket simulation The Ashes, Overlord, and Operation Flashpoint. The publisher also recently announced Bodycount from Black lead designer Stuart Black, which is due for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation during the first part of 2011.

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Avatar image for plaintomato
plaintomato

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Is this why Codemasters sucks now?

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kartik24

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Woho! thats pretty kool, Ambani's are Big money

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DriftMachine

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Codemasters has yet to make a bad game in my opinion. The same people still work there just new people have control of it.

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Sagacious_Tien

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Codemasters is consistently one of the great publishers. I enjoy a lot of their games.

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newb16

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@KrazzyDJ If Reliance Big Entertainment will let there gamers in other countries buy there games for $30.00 than I will buy there games forever. That is if they make good games or great games.

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GTA_GURU

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ha ha ...imagine the new racing games which takes place in rajasthan's desert, mumbai (bombay), delhi ,kolkata and slum's... lookin forward to it ...

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Tamjid2009

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i dont know if India can make good games...........but lets hope so!

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thenephariouson

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@RE3_UBCS, My apologies, i did not know that, i guess its simply because im not a Cricket fan, thus dont really have any interest in the game sales etc. Its simply 'Horses for Courses', 'each to their own' etc i guess. As long as this aquisition does not have any impact on the quality of future CM games (Cricket or otherwise) then i dont really have any issue with it.

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takreem95

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Yeah, just made a stupid FPS using Reality Factory with nothing making sense. It really is stupid. Or how about that 'Catch The Fruits Game I made a few months ago using Game Maker 8.0 from Yoyo games.

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Nitish_Jedi

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@ PitchBlack999 haha, no offence taken. I didn't say it was gonna be an immediate thing. But I guess studying game design and animation, then getting a job and working for a decade or so still leaves me with plenty of time to setup my own studio. Plus, I already have a few financial backers. No hurry, we'll see what happens. Already have a bunch of game designs thought up. Doesn't hurt to try. Besides, the least I'd be able to do is setup my own animation studio and not make games, or work for another studio...it's just a matter of time I'm sure.

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andrew_ribbons

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*sigh* Nothing is British any more...

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mariokart64fan

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i thought it read croquea lol -that little game you play with a ball a hammer and some u shaped things you stick in the ground hahah

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silly_z45

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they sooo bought codemasters for the cricket ip's haha. i hope they actually focus on it and finally create a special game worthy of the sport.

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coaltango

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@ aryanbrar Racist?? arey bhai mein india ka hoon. Btw im from north india too. & I have a ton of north indian friends they just wanna save not only gujjus & dont even start with the mallus

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zeebenzene

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Cricket. I immediately thought of "Life, the Universe and Everything" and Douglas Adams' books in general. and how do you buy half a company.

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quickchord

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A Cricket Sim? Seriously? Guess it's not my cup of tea!

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RE3_UBCS

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@thenephariouson : Ashes 2009 was Codmaster's top seller of the summer last year. Believe it or not. It also held its spot in the Australia game chart PS3 Top 10 for months after its releases even when it was competing along the likes of Fifa 10 and NFL 10.

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leon_trunks

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"even if the indians have money they dont have the heart to spend it. they just keep saving & saving until one day they die & the bank gets to keep all the money" lol I'm an Indian and that is so true, but I'll say it goes even deeper. Its basically Gujjus (Gujaratis) (West and South India) who do that, North Indians do like to spend all the money they have.

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thenephariouson

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Although im by no means a cricket fan, it may be a great game in some peoples eyes, however it simply does'nt translate into a game very well, in short, even though there will no doubt be massive preasure on CM to now develop a Cricket game i just cant see it being a massive seller except maybe in India.

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SicklySunStorm

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@gamerkiduri - edit your posts instead of posting one time after the other... otherwise the mods will have you for it ;)

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gamerkiduri

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ps3 is the best console. cricket is the best sport.

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gamerkiduri

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i agree with koolr. they bought this company only for cricket.

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gamerkiduri

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asia is the best continent in the world

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gamerkiduri

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arent reliance the people who own mumbai indians. I can hope for a good cricket game.

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gamerkiduri

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I NEED A NEW CRICKET GAME FOR PS3 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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PitchBlack999

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@ Nitish_Jedi LOL dude...not to put u down or anything but still....is this how u think u wer gonna start ur own development studio??? With friends n some professionals?? XD LOL :P

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Nitish_Jedi

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This sounds great, but also bad for a reason(i;m an Indian). Sounds great cause we'll finally be getting a genuine game development studio having anything to do with India. But I hope they really put the effort into it and don't screw this up like we Indian's do with most of any entertainment. Another reason it sounds bad is cause I'm studying right now so I can start up a studio of my own in India with a bunch of my friends and professionals...seems like we just hit a major competition '_'

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KuRf

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@rickyimpeccable tats wat im thinking about...T20 game...going to be rock..the first licensed criket game and its not from EA...hahah...take that drm!!! Plus its good and I hope price of games will drop in the Asia and around the world And other thing I hope sooner or later they will disband all this region stuff...a free region game... Have u guys watch the april fool halo movie trailer yet....funny as hell..lol...i wonder if slum dog will become game lol!!!!! LoTR online - jai ho music in the back...

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takreem95

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Hmmm...Alright, I'm not confused now. It is human nature to hate something they don't like, like China spoiling the cell phones market, by making good for nothing phones. Now everyones thinking the same might happen if India or any similar country enters the Gaming market. Alright, future purchases:- 1- Somalia acquiring 60% of Ubisoft. 2- Bangladesh buying Infinity Ward. 3- Afghanistan acquiring the Call Of Duty franchise from Activision, acquiring BBC2, too. 4- Russia acquiring the Ghost Recon franchise from Ubisoft. 5- And last but not least, the African continent acquiring Namco Bandai to make Africanese games. Common people, I'm just trying to cheer everyone ip. I don't really mean any of the things. Everyone is getting too much busy and these days.

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rickyimpeccable

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to all the people thinking of an Indian Premier League Cricket game are forgetting that this is ADAG (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group) and the Mumbai Indians owner is Mukesh Ambani, his elder brother and they don't see eye to eye............so if anything, we'll hopefully get at least some Licensed Cricket Games from now on

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Phazevariance

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Games will cost 1300 Indian Rupees... (about $30)!

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cyberdreamer

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India announces its arrival on the world gaming scene......Reliance wants to globalize its Zapak scheme..Good luck!

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Avatar image for fps_d0minat0r
fps_d0minat0r

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if this move turns out any good, expect more money flooding in from india......vijay mallya will probably be next when he gets bored of adrian sutil frustrating lewis hamilton.

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smoman5000

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im not a fan of codemasters but it looks like they could make something useful out of this merger

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Profzhu

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can't help but laugh @DJ8WORK's comment. black market. hahahahaha. pretty big indeed

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DJ8WORK

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$20-$30 games wont sell in India..there black market is bigger than... well every thing

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GTAKing11

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DIRT3DIRT3DIRT3DIRT3!!

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DEATH775

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I hope this turns out great. Keeping my fingers crossed.

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Zerosumgame

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Asia dominance!

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SicklySunStorm

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@KrazzyDJ - totally with you there. Infact, it may be soon that India goes through a gaming renaissance... which would be great. A more modern version of the same cool homebrew scene that drove most of the UK market I remember would be very cool to see, and would work in India due to the much lower dev costs with these sorts of games.

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KrazzyDJ

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Actually, this is great news for all Indians since this could officially be India's first big step in the field of gaming. Being an Indian myself, I'd love to see games made by Indian developers and released at Indian prices !!!

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PitchBlack999

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@Philhellene Ur mentality sucks more than all of that..

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sandeep410

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The buyout is for developing games on cricket.Anyway if they actually starts making games in india you can expect games to be not more than 20$

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rsiddiqi

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bring more cricket games now....my oldest memory of codemaster is brian lara cricket. awsome game on sega :)

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Philhellene

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Indian games are the equivalent of Chinese goods - crap.

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SkidRow18

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whats with all the hate?

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SicklySunStorm

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genius move by the Indians - very well done. Their economy is coming on leaps and bounds at the moment.... the upcoming Indian GP will help that too (go Force India!)... cricket is absolutely huge out there, so they've got just the right publisher to provide their market with these types of games.

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blackwingzero

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So long as it doesn't jepordise the quailty of their games I don't think it's really that important.

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