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Born 17 June 1966 in London. David is a British entrepreneur and video game developer. He is best known for founding Codemasters in 1986 with his brother, Richard and regularly releasing international best-selling games for over 30 years. He is now the founder and CEO of Kwalee, a new game studio developing smartphone games and applications.

Early life

David's father, Jim Darling was a contact lens pioneer, who would later go on to work with his sons at Codemasters and take on the role of Chairman at Kwalee. Before settling in the UK, the Darling family also lived in Australia and Canada


David entered the world of games at the age of 11 by programming on a Commodore Pet with his brother in their bedroom in Vancouver, Canada. After moving to the UK, the brothers duplicated their games and sold them via small advertisements in magazines, such as Popular Computing Weekly. It was not long before they were making more money than their father, who returned home to manage the new business.

In 1982, at the age of 16, David formed Galactic Software which supplied several games to publisher, Mastertronic, including The Last V8, one of many games written solely by David.

In 1986 David, his brother and his father formed Codemasters in order to be in a position to publish their own games. Initially, they ran the business from an industrial unit in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Later they moved to offices converted from a farmhouse, stables and barns in Southam, Warwickshire, just outside Leamington Spa.

In 1990 David co-developed the Game Genie modification and cheats device, initially for the Nintendo NES, but versions were also for other consoles. In 1991 the device was the fifth best selling Christmas toy in the United States.

During the nineties, Codemasters achieved notable successes. Famous franchises included Dizzy, Micro Machines, TOCA and Colin McRae Rally.

David sold his interests in Codemasters in 2007 and in 2011 founded Kwalee, a new studio focussed on developing games and applications for smartphones.

Awards and honours

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the computer games industry.

2002 UK Entrepreneur of The Year


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