Electronic Arts completes $1.4bn deal to buy UK video games maker Playdemic


Electronic Arts has completed the $1.4bn (£1.04bn) deal to buy Playdemic, the mobile games maker known for its Golf Clash franchise, the latest British video games maker to be snapped up by the California-based giant.

For EA, the maker of titles including Battlefield and The Sims, the all-cash deal struck with Playdemic-owner AT&T’s Warner Bros Games division marks the latest move to expand its sports and mobile gaming business.

The takeover of Playdemic, founded in 2010 and based in Cheshire, follows EA’s £954m deal in December to buy Warwickshire-based Codemasters, maker of racing simulators including the Formula One series.

“We are thrilled to officially welcome the Playdemic team to Electronic Arts, adding to our growing mobile portfolio and expanding our leadership in sports,” said Andrew Wilson, EA’s chief executive. “The addition of the incredible Playdemic team not only adds to the strength of our mobile teams globally, it also continues our expansion and investment in UK-based talent.”

EA, which has a market value of $37bn, has sports franchises including Fifa and Madden NFL. The deal to buy Playdemic is the largest in the company’s history.

The Wilmslow-based Playdemic was founded by Paul Gouge and Alex Rigby – who are still with the business as head of studio and creative director respectively – in 2010, and counted the Games Workshop co-founder Ian Livingstone as a chief investor.

In 2011, Playdemic was acquired by the social gaming company RockYou, which was attracted by its early Facebook hit Gourmet Ranch, but it was sold back to its founders later the same year after the US-based company ran into financial difficulty.

Playdemic’s founders then sold the business to Warner Brothers’ TT Games subsidiary in 2017, not long after the developer launched Golf Clash, which is now one of the biggest mobile sports games in the UK and US with more than 80m downloads globally to date. The company currently employs 65 staff.

“This is an exciting day for Playdemic as we become part of the Electronic Arts family,” said Gouge. “I am proud to bring the amazing talent hitch exists at Playdemic into the EA business, to both continue to build on Golf Clash’s incredible success and to build new games, which we believe can be even more successful in entertaining and engaging audiences globally.”