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EA Acquires BioWare and Pandemic |

EA acquired VG Holding Corp for $775 million which owns both BioWare (Mass Effect, KOTOR) and Pandemic (Mercenaries, Battlefront, Destroy All Humans).

VG Holding bought controlling interest in BioWare and Pandemic in November, 2005 for $300 million.

IGN: EA Acquires VG Holding
New York Times, 2005: VG Holding Acquires BioWare and Pandemic

  • ehandlr

    Didn’t see this coming…sucks for Bioware imho.

  • Sporty

    Probably sucks more for Microsoft really.

  • I agree with Sporty. It sucks more for Microsoft than for any of the other parties involved. Microsoft always had Bioware as a source for exclusive western role playing games. Given EA’s desire to put everything on every platform, expect to see Mass effect ported in the future and the next in the series to be multiplatform.

  • Just means the PS3 will be getting more garbage ports from EA.

  • Darrin

    flea, why the hate for EA? Sure, plenty of their past PS3 offerings were dull and EA has given the PS3 the weakest support compared to 360 and Wii, but I associate quality with the developer and the project, rather than the publisher.

    Skate looks excellent, and the upcoming Mercs 2, Burnout, and Rock Band all look amazing (and better on the PS3). I don’t care who publishes.

  • The problem Darrin, is that the core of EA is downright trash, what they might buy may be awesome. The oldest parts of EA (for example EA sports) is simply lazy and more willing to cash in on things than to legitimately improve and innovate to deserve the price their games cost.

  • John

    The decent devs from Bioware/Pandemic will be fleeing in droves soon, if they haven’t already. EA is effectively only buying brands and names, not the people that created the brands/names, which is why we’ll just be getting more trash from EA…

  • Sporty

    I doubt you will see mass defections from this. As much as some people hate EA, most developers consider them one of the best publishers. Its other publishers and gamers that hate EA, along with developers that strive for independence.

    BioWare and Pandemic aren’t one of those, They haven’t been independent in years. Pandemic had a multi game publishing deal in place with EA for awhile now.

    The EA hate factor is kinda interesting though Darrin.

    Their are several reasons to hate EA. Like the predatory way they swallow up small companies to stifle competition. Milk they hell out of their franchises. Try to lock out other companies from competing directly instead of outdoing them on merit. Releasing incremental additions to their games, just enough to force an upgrade, but most of the time nothing too new. All similar to the way Microsoft does business on the PC side.

    There is the human factor. They work the hell out of their employees and used to get around paying overtime. The class action about overtime they lost should have help fix that, but not enough.

    There is the developer factor. Fans of some devs watched as they got snatched up and turned into an annual franchise factory.

    And finally the fanboy factors. Some Sega fans blame EA for not supporting Dreamcast, which made other developers be cautious of the platform so they didn’t have enough support. Some blame Sony for Sega’s fall also but both of those cases are just a show of ignorance. A string of incompetency from Sega before the launch created the lack of confidence that did that.

  • derrickgott007

    This still smells of Peter Moore and Microsoft. I just hope that because EA bought them that they don’t lean them even more towards Microsoft….

  • Well, Peter Moore is only head of EA Sports, so he shouldn’t have much say at all in any of this. However, the 30fps issue on PS3 EAsports games is something a little more suspicious.

  • Darrin

    Stifling Innovation? All companies try to stifle competition, swallow up small competitors, etc. That’s how capitalism works.

    Lack of innovation, boring games? Their past offerings have been dull, they focus too much on sequels, etc. So, I don’t buy those titles. But I don’t have an emotional like/dislike towards EA; they are merely a business unit. Rock Band and Burnout look innovative and fantastic, I don’t see why I should care that EA publishes.

    And the employee treatment issue: I’ve worked for bosses with some really nasty mean streaks who do far worse things then force overtime. I know how bad a bad job can be, and I have sypathy for workers in those situations. However, it’s really hard to judge those situations from the outside. It’s largely a he said/she said type of issue. Also, the ones who complain the loudest or get the most media attention usually aren’t the worst cases. I don’t think it’s the role of us as consumers to make a judgement call on that.

  • PJ

    Microsoft has the rights to 3 exclusive Mass Effect games. EA inherits the deal deal between MS/Bioware. This should “effect” Mass Effect at all.

  • Sporty

    I didn’t mention Mass Effect at all, But BioWare owns that IP that can pull out of any agreement with MS. Unless they bought the IP which we know they didn’t, or Paid in advance for development, which both parties aren’t that dumb.

    But I haven’t read the contract personally, so I’m not going to talk out of my ass about it. Just going off every other publisher/Developer deal where the publisher holds no legal rights over the IP.

    And Darrin,

    Wasn’t saying I agree with any of those reasons, Just the reasons I’ve seen used. I agree that EA seems to be improving in most areas lately. Newer IPs and taking more risk are a big start. They lost a class action about the pay so that probably is better now.

    I did leave out one other reason. It’s cool to hate EA now. A lot of people hate them and don’t have a reason just cause others hate them and they want to be as cool.

  • Sporty

    Just to add to the Mass Effect topic. EA’s conference call projected 300 million a year from these developers. They wont reach that goal with their higher profile titles being published outside of EA. So most except EA to publish all titles not announced so far. With EA in complete control of the developer and publishing duties MS is completely out of the loop.