EA Acquires Bioware and Pandemic

EA Acquires Bioware and Pandemic

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Third-party powerhouse Electronic Arts purchases Pandemic and Bioware, two of the largest private game development studios.

Electronic Arts today announced an agreement with investment fund Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp., the parent company of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position the genres of action, adventure and roleplaying games.

BioWare and Pandemic Studios have 10 combined franchises under development, including six wholly-owned games. BioWare is currently responsible for the highly anticipated Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft in November, and is also in the early stages of an MMOG. Pandemic Studios is working on open-world titles such as Mercenaries 2: World in Flames and Saboteur. Pandemic Studios and BioWare employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin; and Brisbane, Australia.

"These are two of the most respected studios in the industry and I'm glad to be working with them again. They'll make a strong contribution to our strategic growth initiatives on quality, online gaming and developing new intellectual properties.We also expect this will drive long-term value for our shareholders," said John Riccitiello, EA's Chief Executive Officer.

Pandemic Studios is led by Andrew Goldman, Josh Resnick and Greg Borrud. BioWare is jointly led by Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka. These teams will join the EA Games label run by Frank Gibeau, President of EA Games.

Josh Resnick, President and Co-founder of Pandemic Studios, said, "Pandemic Studios remains focused on attracting the best talent and creating blockbuster action games. As a worldwide publishing leader, EA represents the ideal partner to bring our titles to market as global entertainment events."

"We are truly excited by John Riccitiello's new vision for EA. This vision is consistent with BioWare's focus on crafting the highest quality story-driven games in the world. It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin," added Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of BioWare Corp.

EA will pay up to $620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp. and will distribute up to an additional $155 million in equity to certain employees of VG Holding Corp., subject to time-based or performance-based vesting criteria. EA will also assume outstanding VG Holding Corp. stock options and lend VG Holding Corp. up to $35 million through the closing of the acquisition. The process is subject to the customary closing conditions, including government regulatory approvals, but is expected to close in January 2008.

Earnings for the fiscal 2008 year will be diluted by approximately $0.30 to $0.40 due to non-recurring acquisition-related charges, stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets. Prior to the announcement, shares of EA fell $1.07 to $58.84, and are likely to drop tomorrow due to the sizable cost of the acquisition.

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The only reason I was keeping my 360 was because of Mass Effect. I guess that means that now I can get rid of that because you know EA is going to want them to do a PC and PS3 port.

I usually try to buy as few EA games as possible because usually they are the ones that bore me the most, but as long as nothing the EA management doesn't break up the dev teams in Bioware and Pandemic then EA may be able to salvage what's left of their brand. If they do then I hope anti -trust lawyers are paying attention to EA's activities.

Well, bang goes the possibility of Bioware's MMORPG being set in the Knights of the Old Republic universe.

Not necessarily. Star Wars Galaxies had two different publisher entities involved.

But I don't think that's what they're doing.

So now, just how many companies does EA own?
I'm a bit worried. Just a bit.

Arbre:
So now, just how many companies does EA own?
I'm a bit worried. Just a bit.

I think Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are all that's left.

Logan Frederick:

I think Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are all that's left.

And Ubisoft, for maybe another couple of months.

Goofonian:

Logan Frederick:

I think Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are all that's left.

And Ubisoft, for maybe another couple of months.

EA already owns stock in Ubisoft.

Midway (majority owned by Viacom) THQ and Take 2. That's it for the major publishers, but then there's Codemasters, Dreamcatcher and a slew of other, smaller publishers who are mainly just people with money to give away who know how to get boxes put on shelves.

There's plenty that EA doesn't own, but quite a lot that isn't worth much of anything to anyone.

Maybe EA will buy Themis now.

I was sad to hear this news, because I hate EA and love BioWare in equal measures. But as a friend pointed out, BioWare really hasn't done anything since the first KOTOR, and my affection is really just rooted in sweet memories of the Baldur's Gate era. And since BioWare has been firmly clamped to the teat of the Xbox for years now, all that's really changed is the possibility of them producing something truly remarkable again, which has gone from very slim to zero.

Malygris:
I was sad to hear this news, because I hate EA and love BioWare in equal measures. But as a friend pointed out, BioWare really hasn't done anything since the first KOTOR, and my affection is really just rooted in sweet memories of the Baldur's Gate era. And since BioWare has been firmly clamped to the teat of the Xbox for years now, all that's really changed is the possibility of them producing something truly remarkable again, which has gone from very slim to zero.

Jade Empire.

Redfeather:
Jade Empire.

I think the context might have been "BioWare really hasn't done anything good since the first KOTOR", even if it's arguable just how good KoTOR was in the first place.

After Shadow Run the FPS.... Need For Speed RPG!!! WOUHOU!!!! That suck!!!

Arbre:
So now, just how many companies does EA own? I'm a bit worried. Just a bit.

Not that many, but only because they destroy them after acquiring them.

Yes, I'm still bitter about Bullfrog, Westwood, and Origin. Not to mention turning Maxis into "The Sims" Studio instead of the purveyor of fine sim/strategy games.

But as a friend pointed out, BioWare really hasn't done anything since the first KOTOR, and my affection is really just rooted in sweet memories of the Baldur's Gate era.

I disagree. I've found Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights (and expansions), KOTOR, and Jade Empire to all be excellent games. Jade Empire is the weakest of the three, but it's hard not to go downhill from three games that rank among the best PC RPGs ever created. Bioware isn't an exceptionally prolific developer, but everything they have done is an example of how good games are made.

For the best example, look at KOTOR2 and NWN2 compared to their Bioware-developed predecessors. Sure, neither is a bad game, but they're also not at the same standard.

Virgil:
Yes, I'm still bitter about Bullfrog, Westwood, and Origin. Not to mention turning Maxis into "The Sims" Studio instead of the purveyor of fine sim/strategy games.

Or their more recent acquisitions, DICE (Battlefield *) and Criterion (suck it Rockstar, you can't buy Renderware anymore.) Not to mention that Bioware is in freaking Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

But with all the titles EA has coming out (skate, Boogie, DeadSpace, etc.) and with a new CEO, it very well could mean that they really did try to mend their rotten ways post-ea_spouse.

So long as they don't put Mythic in charge of Bioware's Austin team.

Automatic Meat:

Redfeather:
Jade Empire.

I think the context might have been "BioWare really hasn't done anything good since the first KOTOR", even if it's arguable just how good KoTOR was in the first place.

Jade Empire is a fantastic game just as good as (if not better than) KOTOR. Unless one only likes KOTOR because they're a Star Wars fanatic...you're not going to love KOTOR and dislike Jade Empire. They even ported it (finally) to the PC.

Neverwinter Nights was a long anticipated game, and probably people held their hopes too high for it (I know I did). However, it's a worthy successor to the Baldur's Gate-esque games.

To claim they did nothing of value after KOTOR (something the OP didn't do obviously, just the person I'm quoting) isn't just indefensible, it has the appearance of gross ignorance.

As to mourning the merger...well I do. I don't think very highly of EA and their reputation is such that most people are treating this as if BioWare and Pandemic simply closed up shop. I hold out hope that some miracle will occur and BioWare will be left relatively alone with money and resources to continue to do what they do best, make really good RPG games.

I also want a pony and world peace, while I'm wishing.

I think we can expect more dross from the ea-tards now wich is wounderful, sod this i give up gaming all togeather and going to play guitar more often.

Redfeather:

To claim they did nothing of value after KOTOR (something the OP didn't do obviously, just the person I'm quoting) isn't just indefensible, it has the appearance of gross ignorance.

or just personal opinion ^__-, albeit one I disagree with.

and I agree that EA should just leave bioware to do their own thing, and throw money at them. It would be the best decision they've made in a while, since Bioware is perfectly capable of making great games as they've proven again and again, and changing anything about Bioware would be the death of a steady supply of _good_ RPGs.

J.theYellow:

So long as they don't put Mythic in charge of Bioware's Austin team.

though I don't see your problem with Mythic. If you have a problem with what they've done in the past take a look at Warhammer Online, for while they may be jumping on the MMO bandwagon, the game is looking quite impressive.

 

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