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Ubisoft CEO Speaks out Against EA Move

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the ubisoft-and-the-beanstock dept.

Businesses 365

Gamespot is reporting that Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has spoken out against EA's "hostile action". From the article: "Considering the industry practice of communicating informally about such decisions, we were disappointed, to say the very least, that EA chose not to inform us of their specific plans beforehand." Further, Voodoo Extreme is reporting that a financial report may suggest the French government is going to assist Ubisoft in staying out from under EA's thumb.

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First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11219990)

No, really.

The Race (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11219991)

The heaven 500 was getting an all-star race...
for the racing departed, heroes of the track, with nerves of steel
and sitting on the pole, was a cat named Neil

Adam Petty was there with his beautiful smile
Kenny Irvan determined to finish in style.

Lee Petty was glowing with grandfatherly pride,
with Davey and Clifford both in a new ride

Fireball Roberts floated in on a cloud,
while Tony Roper waved to the heavenly crowd

Morrosso and Nemecheck, then Tim Richmond appeared
Alan Kulwicki strapped in while the racing fans cheered

The honorary started for this heavenly race,
Ralph Earnhardt was chosen, a tear on his face

But the red flag flew, it had just begun,
and every eye was open wide and looking to the son

A last minute entry was the cause of the delay
the fans were instructed to kneel and pray

The heavens turned black and the clouds turned dark
the lightening was brilliant, the thunder did bark

Then out of the rumbling for all to see
The clouds formed a number... a black number three

The heavenly fans then erupted with pride
and welcomed this star who had recently died

With a bolt of lightening Dale Earnhardt arrived
and he stood before Jesus, his spirit revived .Jesus hugged his precious child then revealed his perfect plan
"I brought you home to let you know that I'm your biggest fan!"

The intimidator was needed for this heavenly race
leaving all of earthly fans with honor and grace

Ralph Earnhardt stepped forward and embraced his son
then whispered in his ear, "let's go have some fun!"

As Ralph stood proud the green flag flew
The crown went wild and the tension grew

And just like salvation the admission was free
and every eye focused on the black number 3

When the checkered flag dropped not a dry eye remained:
It was a photo finish and Jesus explained...

There are no losers on this heavenly track
This was a welcome party for the man in black

Re:The Race (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220446)

Man that's beautiful.

If I was a hillbilly I'd have a single tear running down my cheek right now.

From the second article... (5, Informative)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220000)

Due to very irritating interstitial advertisements, here is the text of the second article:

French Government To Protect Ubisoft From EA?

December 30, 2004 - An AFX Financial report suggests that the French government may take steps to protect Ubisoft from acquisition by EA, should they decide to expand their 19.9% ownership:

The heads of the studios fear that a purchase of Ubisoft by EA would lead to the disappearance of the last decision making centre in France for the video games industry, La Tribune added.

Ubisoft said last night it is not in talks 'at present' with EA about the US company's recent purchase of a stake. 'In light of recent news spread by the press, Ubisofts board of directors reiterates that, in the absence of information from Electronic Arts regarding its intentions, the latter's acquisition of 19.9 pct of the groups capital is unsolicited and currently considered as hostile,' the company said.

Les Echos newspaper reported yesterday that Ubisoft will gather together some of its largest shareholders next week in a bid to convince them not to throw their weight behind EA.

-- Andrew Burnes

Re:From the second article... (0)

scribblej (195445) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220265)

So let me get this straight:

UbiSoft decides to sell their company to the public.

The public buys it.

The public sells it to EA.

UbiSoft doesn't like that.

So the government comes in and buys it back, for UbiSoft?

Fuuuuuck, I wish I had a deal like that. Buy my company, and then I'll let the g-men come in and buy it back for me. I profit. You lose. Why wouldn't I like it?!

Re:From the second article... (2, Informative)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220319)

No one said anything about the government buying back the company. All they have to do is allow Ubisoft to buy back its own shares from the public (which is perfectly legal), which would prevent EA from getting its hands on 50%. Simple.

Re:From the second article... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220331)

EA is evil. It represents the dying of the "old guard"; I still hate that old favorites like Bullfrog and Westwood are no more. I still can't believe it--"There is no more Bullfrog."

I think they're the people behind the dumbification of some of my favorite franchises, such as SimCity, which took a turn toward the cartoonish with SimCity 3000 and pushed Maxis into a neverending development cycle of crappy Sims expansion packs (at least all was forgiven when Sims 2 ended up being interesting and creative).

EA is part of the evil over-commercialization of gaming that already happened to the movie industry decades ago. We're now seeing the beginnings in the game industry, where large conglomerates control the development companies, and where it's no longer a group of computer nerds who love games putting out classics (i.e., id Software) but a bunch of faceless, shit-on programmers being rushed to meet the Christmas deadline on the latest Dear Hunter game that marketing has decided has at least an 87% chance of surpassing expense costs.

Companies like Valve are fighting back with Steam. That's why, despite the sometimes valid criticisms of Steam, I recognize that it is the necessary and inevitable future, connecting gamers directly with the people making the games, not some giant, corporate middleman. Record companies, anyone?

Re:From the second article... (1)

xenicson (214967) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220383)

Why do you think that the public won't continue to support innovative games by smaller, newer companies? If you go find a bunch of fellow nerds, and build a great game, you should be able to sell it pretty easily.

Re:From the second article... (-1, Troll)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220345)

So the French government is actually standing up instead of surrendering? This really is news.

Re:From the second article... (2, Funny)

Kick the Donkey (681009) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220384)

In other news: Today, the French government announced their unconditional surrender to EA. As of 12 noon, France is now a wholly owned subsidiary of EA

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220001)

First Post Mother Fuckers!

Re:First Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220046)

Fail it.

Re:First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220496)

Nice try brother trucker!

Please play again!

penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220005)

gotcha!

Just Talk (2, Insightful)

Aleman (825040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220008)

UBI can speak out against it all they want, but what they really need to do is give their current shareholders more reasons to hold onto the stock. Maybe they should have spent more time polishing Ghost Recon 2...

Re:Just Talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220447)

UBI can speak out against it all they want, but what they really need to do is give their current shareholders more reasons to hold onto the stock. Maybe they should have spent more time polishing Ghost Recon 2...


You must be a moron i gues (its about time to throw a frag into youre hole),

UBI soft makes good quality games, Rainbox Six the best close combat game (FPS for lamers) the market.

As for the French government, wil see what they wil do. But the shareholders should be ware that UBI makes 1 class games, not seen anywere else.

Tango SIX out.

WTO? (4, Insightful)

exhilaration (587191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220014)

Isn't government interference a violation of France's WTO agreement?

Re:WTO? (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220037)

Governments can do what they want; they have the ultimate power. The WTO is no lawmaking body, it just suggest treaties to sovereign nations, each, in turn, can choose whether to follow the treaties or not.

So France can do very well it damn wants to, and so does the US, and between the two, the US is the most flagrant violator of WTO "policies".

Sort of like the way they heavily subsidize airbus (0, Flamebait)

glrotate (300695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220075)

The french recognize that they can't compete on a level field so they try to rig the game. You can't blame them for being inferior, only for being phony and claiming that they support free trade.

Re:Sort of like the way they heavily subsidize air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220116)

You are correct. Too bad it is not only the French who are phony.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2022849.stm [bbc.co.uk]

2002 is calling. It wants its news back. (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220180)

WTO launches US steel tariff probe 3 June, 2002

27 November, 2004 US vows to end banned tariff rule

Re:2002 is calling. It wants its news back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220366)

And it only took them 2 years to ban a practice that they knew was illegal to begin with - and after pressure from foreign governments.

Re:Sort of like the way they heavily subsidize air (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220127)

... And it's much different in the States?

Hahahahahahahhahahahaha

Good laugh.

Re:Sort of like the way they heavily subsidize air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220128)

And you're from the US, right? :-)
It takes one to know one, I presume.

Re:Sort of like the way they heavily subsidize air (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220140)

As opposed to EA's slave labour to remain competitive? Take your jingoism and shove it, it has no place here.

You bitch and moan about China's unfair trade practices and low labour costs, yet look the other way when EA does it?

kinda like the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220194)

Whenever another country can produce something cheaper than Americunts, they whine and bitch and moan about these foreign companies "flooding the market" because shitbags like you think it's inconceivable that anybody could possibly be more productive than Americunts!

Re:kinda like the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220392)

Hey...what country are you from? I will gladly post how much money you owe us. Because where ever you are from, I can pretty much guarantee you owe us money.

Yes - the US is already upset over planes... (3, Interesting)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220132)

France (and the rest of the EU) are already in violating of the WTO over the massive grants they've given, and are planning to give, Airbus. The US government says it's unfair, but they too have given (and will continue to give) massive grants to Boeing. I guess that complaint has got more to do with the fact that Airbus recently moved ahead of Boeing in number of aircraft being ordered, and the US is no longer the dominant player (IMO). Oddly enough, didn't the French also give a hand out to a server manufacturer a few weeks ago to keep them in business?

Re:Yes - the US is already upset over planes... (2, Informative)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220433)

That's not... entirely... accurate. Specifically, the US government has placed purchase orders for airplanes from Boeing. This is somewhat different from the welfare that Airbus has received in the form of 'no pay back' grants with no expectation that they provide anything in return except 'jobs'.

Re:WTO? (2, Informative)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220153)

Isn't government interference a violation of France's WTO agreement?

Not if they play by the same rules as everyone else. They're looking to expand their ownership of the firm -- presumably so they have more control of the board and can reject the offer.

Re:WTO? (1)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220232)

Actually it's a violation of their agreement as part of the EU I believe.

The EU is staunchly against governments subsidizing companies, or so it claims. Since Airbus gets such heavy subsidies it's really more like every other countries point of view:

"We can subsidize our markets to protect jobs BUT HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO COMPETE WITH US!"

But since they're fighting the big bad U.S.A. and it's eeeevil corporate empires, I'm sure they'll unite. We're the assholes, and don't you forget it!

Re:WTO? (0, Flamebait)

wolf- (54587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220404)

No No, Americans are Dicks.
And most of ya'll know the rest...

Re:WTO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220411)

"We're the assholes, and don't you forget it!"

Well if the cap fits...

Re:WTO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220296)

Don't know about the WTO, but it is most certainly forbidden under membership of the EU. State aid for private business is outlawed. This wouldn't be the first time France has illegaly propped up one of their under-performing industries (Air France and privatised Electricity companies spring to mind)

Re:WTO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220321)

WTO? WTO? Wait a minute, where am I am I? Looks at url. Right, Slashdot, just where I thought I was. Isn't Slashdot fervently against the WTO? I mean, I'm not really sure but it fits the hive mind mentallity around here. I am at Slashdot right?

Duel (4, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220018)

The CEO's should decide it the old fashioned way-- controllers at dawn! UBI Soft, as the target, gets to pick the game...

Re:Duel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220215)

I hope there's a download of the video of EA's CEO getting ow3nd by Ubi's in Far Cry

Re:Duel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220250)

I hope they choose a mod of Oni, with UbiSoft playing Konoko and EA being some faceless enemy. There's something satisfying about breaking someone's neck between a pretty girl's thighs...

OK, I spent way too much time playing that game.

unexpected limelight? (0, Troll)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220036)

"With Electronic Arts the new owner of almost 20 percent of Ubisoft, you might expect that company's leader to wobble a bit in the unexpected limelight."

Being French, I expected them to surrender...

Re:unexpected limelight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220073)

HA HA HA HA, that's awesome!

Re:unexpected limelight? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220156)

-1 troll? must be some french surrender monkeys with mod points to spend..

Re:unexpected limelight? (3, Insightful)

stateofmind (756903) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220283)

Tsk, tsk. America wouldn't even be here without France. They financed America's Revolutionary War for independence and saved us at the last hour in the War of 1812.

Josh

Re:unexpected limelight? (3, Insightful)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220352)

Or in the words of Eddie Izzard:

"You know your own history, right?"

Re:unexpected limelight? (1, Insightful)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220359)

And most of Europe would be speaking German if it hadn't been for the United States.

Debt repaid. With interest. Thanks!

Re:unexpected limelight? (0, Troll)

BuhSnarf (633686) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220479)

I do love how America really, honestly believes they won the second World War.

*laughs*

Re:unexpected limelight? (1)

wolf- (54587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220378)

They didnt do it because of their love for the Americans. They did it out of their hatred of the British.

You will find the French in the background of many American conflicts, manipulating the cards to the french advantage.

French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, War between the States, (what were the two when we sent our farm boys to save their asses?), WW I, WW II, they were in Vietnam before the US came in. (we just got stuck with the bill). In recent history, we find them playing games in Iraq... And in current history, they are still playing games in Africa.

But, back to the subject at hand. Do they dare snub the WTO free trade initiatives over a video game company?

Re:unexpected limelight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220297)

Just like you expect the Red Sox to always lose?

The times, they are a chaannngggiiiinn'

You're French? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220317)

Or is your grammar construction just a little off?

Re:unexpected limelight? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220341)

I'll never forgive EA for ruining Bullfrog, Westwood, Maxis, and so on. If I see another hip-hop laden "underground racing" game, I'm gonna puke!

Re:unexpected limelight? (1)

WindFish (812433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220409)

> Being French, I expected them to surrender...

How does one say, "Your participle is dangling," in French?

as long as they still put out thier games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220049)

really if EA gets thier properties and puts out a deathrow 2 id probably quit saying EA games suck

Why complain? (3, Funny)

albn (835144) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220061)

Maybe EA and Oracle should get together and swap takeover recipes.

French Government? Totally unnecessary! (2, Funny)

Shoten (260439) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220087)

Why doesn't Ubisoft just send Sam Fisher [splintercell.com] to take care of EA for them? :)

Re:French Government? Totally unnecessary! (1)

__int64 (811345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220245)

Because Ubi knows that EA's got all the football players from Madden 2001, 2002, 2003, 20004, and 2005 backing them up.

Re:French Government? Totally unnecessary! (3, Interesting)

Lordrashmi (167121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220485)

Sam Fisher vs. Football players? My money is on Sam Fisher.

I think France sent a prety clear message... (0, Flamebait)

Cymoro (684957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220101)

France to EA: Piss off you American pig.

Re:I think France sent a prety clear message... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220142)

US to France, same 2U.

Ubisoft makes nothing but crap software and EA would be smart to just ignore them anyway.

Re:I think France sent a prety clear message... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220420)

Crap to you prehaps.

- Splinter Cell
- Myst
- Farcry
- XIII
- Rainbow Six
- Warlords
- Rayman

I own these, I can state that they are good games worth the money I paid for them. Compare that to EA.. what? "Generic Sports game 200x"

Re:I think France sent a prety clear message... (0, Flamebait)

miu (626917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220240)

France to EA: Piss off you American pig.

I bet someone in the French government is just making noise to score some easy points off the eevul Americans. This is not an essential business (like aerospace, major textiles, etc) and not worth the grief justifying their action in light of their WTO agreements.

There may be some talk talk, but no real action from the French gov.

Re:I think France sent a prety clear message... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220256)

You mean:

France to EA: Piss off you American pig.

P.S. Please don't hurt us, we'll do anything.

Article submitters and Slashdot editors, please .. (5, Insightful)

YetAnotherName (168064) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220104)

... assist the reader by saying what this hostile action is, why it's occurring, where (France?) and so forth. The summary, as it stands, seems written for people who are already in-the-know, which is a foolish assumption in the face a global internet.

Who, what, where, when, why, and how ... it's not just for journalists any more!

Re:Article submitters and Slashdot editors, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220121)

RTFA

Re:Article submitters and Slashdot editors, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220457)

Noob.

Re:Article submitters and Slashdot editors, please (1)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220158)

Even if you didn't know what was going on, it doesn't take too much brainpower to infer that EA is trying to take over Ubisoft...

Re:Article submitters and Slashdot editors, please (4, Insightful)

bperkins (12056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220239)

I agree, and I didn't have any problem understanding the submission, but the original poster is right, it is uunnecessarily confusing.

It wouldn't have taken much to clarify that the "hostile action" was the sudden purchase of 20% of Ubisoft's shares by EA.

I've often been frustrated by similar submission, so I sympathize.

Re:Article submitters and Slashdot editors, please (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220164)

Eh.. you don't get what a hostile acquisition is? It's not terribly complex, basically EA went under the table and acquired 20% of a competing shop's stock. Generally they will let them know what's going on before hand. The fact that they were hush about it is an indicication that they are attempting to acquire a 50.1% or greater stake in the company, thus gaining a controlling majority and initiating a "hostile takeover".

There's a bunch of nuances involved with the whole thing, but thats the "for dummies" version.

Naturally this is concerning to the precarious French government as they would lose their primary stake in the game industry to a US company.

Re:Article submitters and Slashdot editors, please (1)

YetAnotherName (168064) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220285)

Eh.. you don't get what a hostile acquisition is...

The word "acquisition" doesn't even appear once in the summary. Thanks for the "for dummies" version; too bad that wasn't what was originally submitted!

Re:Article submitters and Slashdot editors, please (2, Interesting)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220335)

Just for clarification, you don't have to have a 50.1% or even a 50% stake to claim a takeover. Typically, anything in the 40% or greater range will give you controlling interest, as there usually isn't any one controlling interest with more.

There are quite a few companies out there who are run by a 30%(ish) controlling interest.

EA is evil like MS is (1)

PhreakMac (622082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220135)

Go France!!!!!

EA must die!!

it's a shame... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220138)

that linux. co. can't buy a % of MS stock....

actually - why would they want too?

now what if in turn - MS bought stock in RedHat of some other distro?

Re:it's a shame... (1)

PhreakMac (622082) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220179)

It helped Apple when they were in a shitstorm.

Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (-1, Troll)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220147)

Other than Wine or Women (Even then most of the Wine and Women are borderline foul)

I mean, hey maybe they'll throw in Citeron or Puegot, or how abour Renault....bwaaahhhh,

Sorry something about french and engineering in the same concept just eludes me.

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220203)

That's Citroen and Peugeot, you patriotic fool.

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (1)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220249)

Not a big fan of the Splinter Cell games?

Those are Ubisoft.

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220367)

Hell, damn near everything interesting these days is either Sierra (Half Life 2, Evil Genius) or Ubisoft (Splinter Cell, Settlers, Prince of Persia, Myst). I can't remember the last good EA game I played since they borged Bullfrog.

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220275)

Rolls-Royce, Audi and Mercedes all depend on French engineering. The suspension used in Rolls-Royces and top-of-the-range Audis and Mercs is a licence-built knockoff of the Citroen oleopneumatic system.

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (0, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220463)

Also, Nissan is now in bed with Renault [renault.com] . Yes, it's true, the best japanese automaker :) is in bed with the french.

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (1)

Cymoro (684957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220277)

I'm sorry, but I don't buy wine with hairy armpits.

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (1)

miu (626917) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220340)

Other than Wine or Women

FreedomWine and FreedomWomen? Sounds like the 60s all over again.

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (3, Funny)

remmelt (837671) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220407)

As opposed to USA's Microsoft Windows and extremely obese women? ;-)

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (1)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220430)

Sorry something about french and engineering in the same concept just eludes me.
Think [visit-new-york-city.com] again [americanparknetwork.com] .

Re:Who would want to buy ANYTHING french ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220443)

Well, Ubisoft produced Beyond Good and Evil, which is excellent. On the other hand, they produced Pool of Radiance 2.

I see it now! (2, Funny)

Vvornth (828734) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220155)

...the similarities... the Borg and EA!

Indeed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220213)

Borg football 3047 was a huge hit after they acquired all competing developers.

Stars (1)

drakethegreat (832715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220214)

It seems that EA can't stay out of the news these days but most of it isn't pleasant news either. It will be interesting to see what EA does and where its going in the near future.

Re:Stars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220247)

Didn't hurt microsoft any.

It's the same strategy, different industry. It will be interesting to see what develops because the gaming industry isn't anywhere near being a niche market. A large part of microsofts dominance can be attributed to the fact that they were (arguably) on top of the heap when the home pc market blew up.

Gaming is already thriving just about everywhere. This kind of aggressive activity could strike off one hell of a backlash among the massive gaming community. When microsoft was doing this sort of thing way back when, it was under the radar as no one really cared about computers.

Re:Stars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220410)

You could not be more correct on that statement. With the recent NFL exclusive rights deal and reported attempts at doing the same with the NBA the sports gaming community is already forming small pockets of "Anti-EA" groups.

The (ex)employee blogs seem to be forming more groups of the same crowd.

EA insisting on using a variant of their own xbox live service is having the same effect as mentioned above.

Now this, the 19% purchase of Ubisoft. It will all add up. I am interested to see what kind of backlash will be unleashed from the gaming community and whether it will have an impact or not.

EA isn't about games (5, Insightful)

Reapman (740286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220244)

iana EA Employee, but it seems to me that EA Stopped being about games a long time ago... it's your typical board of directors type shop it seems to me now, who so happen to see videogames as a method of getting rich. I'm sure the people working on "the floor" care very much about their products, but I get the impression that at the top they will dop whatever they can to get the highest Return on Investment, not "make the best game possible"... I don't get the impression that they have any idea how to make the best use of the franchises they have other then sports and Sims, and even that is questionable. K done ranting, back to work for me

Exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220284)

Which is why they're interested in acquiring a shop that already knows how to leverage genres other then sports and sims. Why learn it when you can buy someone who already knows?

Companies do that all the time. They recognize they don't have the expertise and experience in a given field, so they buy-out someone who does.

Re:EA isn't about games (1)

spac3manspiff (839454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220373)

I think you hit the nail on the head. Ever since they cared more about money than the quality of the game, the games progressivly got worse. However the quality of the game doesnt mean anything anymore because they know stupid parent is going to buy the game.

But who can blame them?

All EA had to do for sports games was simply append the current year to the game title and people would buy it.

Re:EA isn't about games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220435)

I hate to burst that pretty bubble of yours, but EVERY COMPANY IS LOOKING TO GET RICH. Even your precious video game companies. I challenge you to find any company in the entertainment industry who cares more about product quality than they do profits. Why care about product quality when millions of people will buy crap anyway?

First on the ball!!! (4, Informative)

rathehun (818491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220260)

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot speaks his mind on the EA deal
With Electronic Arts the new owner of almost 20 percent of Ubisoft, you might expect that company's leader to wobble a bit in the unexpected limelight. Yves Guillemot does anything but.

Just five days before Christmas, with many game industry staffers already on vacation, Electronic Arts dropped an explosive bit of news on the wires. In a short press release, it acknowledged having purchased an estimated $85-$100 million worth of Ubisoft shares.

The move--a surprise to the vast majority of industry observers--gave it a 19.9 percent ownership position in one of its most daunting competitors. Wedbush Morgan senior analyst Michael Pachter told GameSpot, "I think EA is interested in Ubisoft's development talent and in its Gameloft investment [in wireless games]."

But is that all? "I don't know if EA wants to take them out," Pachter said, "but given that Ubi has a pretty strong set of licenses and great development--with a more Euro-centric sales profile--it's a combination that makes sense from EA's perspective."

Pachter clearly assesed the stock acquisition as something less benign than how EA had earlier portrayed it. "EA is not in the business of making passive investments in public companies," Pachter concluded.

Regardless of its motives, the builders of famous franchises that include Madden and Medal of Honor now own a block of Ubisoft shares second in size only to the chunk owned by the company's founders, one of whom is its CEO and president, Yves Guillemot.

We spoke to Guillemot shortly after the transaction was announced.

GameSpot: Yves, to most observers, EA and Ubisoft are arch rivals who compete for market share, mind share, shelf space, and talent. It's hard to believe the two parties can work toward common goals. Assuming all regulatory issues are cleared, your board of directors will have to acknowledge EA's wishes as they might other shareholder's. How do you expect this marriage to get on?

Yves Guillemot: Although EA and Ubisoft are both leading game publishers, I wouldn't say we are arch rivals. All players in the industry compete for market share, shelf space, and talent, but as the past few months have shown, the market is growing, and the more outstanding titles that hit the shelves, the more the market grows. So getting great games out there is a common goal that all publishers share.

GS: So how do you read the move by Electronic Arts?

YG: I have stated on the record that I view this action on the part of EA as hostile.

GS: Do you see malevolence at its core?

YG: Until we have further information we cannot say what EA's goals might be.

GS: How does having EA as a shareholder affect the issue of disclosure, specifically company strategy?

YG: In terms of the company's confidential strategy, that information is not provided to any of our shareholders. This has always been our policy, and we have consistently shown ourselves worthy of the confidence of our shareholders.

GS: Are there remaining shares of the company that are vulnerable to acquisition by Electronic Arts, and if so, is Ubisoft management considering options if EA were to become a majority shareholder?

YG: Ubisoft is a publicly traded company, with 22.8 percent of its voting rights held by the company's founders. Of the remaining capital publicly held, 13 percent of voting rights are in the hands of financial institutions and 44.5 percent are in the hands of small shareholders. The management is studying all its options under several different scenarios.

GS: Given this twist in the company's timeline, what does the future hold for Ubisoft?

YG: For the immediate future, we are still looking forward to a record-breaking fourth quarter, with the release of several titles which you [in the press] also seem to be eagerly anticipating.

GS: What about the long-term outlook?

YG: When looking at the longer-term, our only concern is the risk that we may not be allowed to fully realize our vocation of being creators of high quality games. Our goal is to create the best games available, and our teams are motivated and love what they do because they see that this is the key to their success. Our philosophy has been to change the terms of success in this industry, so that a successful game is one that is innovative and creative.

GS: Is that philosophy at risk?

YG: We hope that recent events will not affect Ubisoft's capacity to be creative and that we'll continue to make outstanding games, or for that matter, that the industry as a whole will not find itself in a situation where the quality of games is no longer a factor of success.

GS: Your company's mission statement is supported by six core values, one is to "play fair." Do you feel that EA has played fair in this stock acquisition?

YG: Considering the industry practice of communicating informally about such decisions, we were disappointed, to say the very least, that EA chose not to inform us of their specific plans beforehand.

GS: Yves, Ubisoft was founded by you and four of your brothers back in 1986. Now, with a competitor owning the second largest block of voting shares, what do you say to those who say this could be the beginning of the end for Ubisoft?

YG: I would strongly disagree. A minority stake in the company--even if it is held by a competitor--remains just that, a minority stake. I think Ubisoft will continue to surprise those who are watching us, and time will tell what the future holds.

GS: Yves, thank you very much.

By Curt Feldman -- GameSpot
POSTED: 12/29/04 09:48 PM PST

The solution is obvious. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220272)

Sam Fisher will infiltrate Electronic Arts headquarters under the cover of darkness. After gathering intelligence related to the hostile takeover, he will go to the roof for extraction. Alarms or civilian deaths will result in mission failure.

Cry me a fucking river. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220288)

Any public company can be bought out. Don't want to be bought out? Stay private. All's fair in love and war and business is the biggest war in the world.

mod down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220327)

an explanation about France... (4, Interesting)

St. Arbirix (218306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220371)

Here's what I hear has been happening in France... Every now and then some non-French company wants to buy a French company. The French government immediately steps in and makes a second French company buy the first French company the foreign company was interested in thereby creating a much larger French company which is no longer small enough for the foreign company to buy. When a German pharmaceutical company (Germany has some of the largest in the world) wanted to buy a French one the French government got a separate French pharmaceutical company to buy it instead. The intended effect of all these forced mergers seems to be to get France back into competition with other countries.

If you don't believe me look into the history of France Telecom [wikipedia.org] which purchased Wanadoo, Orange, and Equant (the last two were previously foreign owned but operated in France). The thing about the purchases of these is that France Telecom now owes a billion euros back to the government for illegal subsidies.

Another classic example of Little Man's Syndrome is Vivendi Universal.

EA going downhill anyway (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 9 years ago | (#11220460)

I've been a fan of the Madden football games for years.. I played the first one on my AT in CGA. Lately, there hasn't been much change to the games other than frilly add-ons like EA online. With their now exclusive contract with the NFL and this, I can easily say good riddance to a monopolistic company that doesn't seem to care anymore about making great games.

On the flip side, if Ubisoft is going to leave themselves open to a takeover, who are they to complain when it actually happens? I think this is underhanded by EA, but it's perfectly legal. Ubisoft may whine, but has no leg to stand on with regards to a formal complaint.

Première poste..baiser, le visse (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11220467)

J'ai tenté la première poste mais j'ai renoncé.
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