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Digital Illusions Sells to EA

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the money-talks dept.

Businesses 34

A story we have reported on frequently in the last few months comes to an end as Digital Illusions accepts EA's bid for buyout. From the article at GameGossip: "Corresponding to 32.0% of outstanding capital and votes, in addition to a further acquisition of 898,264 shares and the 18.9% already held by the company, Electronic Arts now holds a total of 6,044,720 shares, a controlling interest representing 59.8% of the outstanding capital and votes in DICE."

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Tired of EA (5, Insightful)

_RiZ_ (26333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11469485)

Im so tired of EA. They may release 1 out of every 3 or 4 games in total, but its just plain sickening. I would rather have a fewer number of good games rather than a higher number of not so good games. By them buying up all the other game dev shops around, it is pretty much going to ensure that the indie developer and the small developer either get bought up and eaten by gamezilla, or are not able to compete even with a good game. bleh.

Re:Tired of EA (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470098)

The developers don't have to sell. In this instance they voted to (shareholders). If the company isn't publicly traded that is an easier task, funding becomes the difficulty.

Re:Tired of EA (2, Informative)

lastninja (237588) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470153)

It should be noted that a big minority, voted against selling. I believe close to 10% opposed the bid.

Re:Tired of EA (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470170)

well. selling out is not really a problem for the gamedevelopers :) I bet they do it happily if the wad of money is nice enough.

it's a problem for us gamers :) were the people who end up paying for EA.

Re:Tired of EA (1)

_RiZ_ (26333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470319)

Exactly my concern. It seems that a game with an original idea is a very rare commodity these days. Game franchise rehashing games and ideas is all too common these days... i mean really. How many versions of the same game does any one person need? I always thought that with all of the online abilities of games these days, the majority of recently released games could actually be a part of a map pack or small patch release at best.

I guess I am jaded.

Re:Tired of EA (1)

MadChicken (36468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470570)

...but would you buy it?

Everyone says they want creative and original games, then line up in droves to buy the next FPS and MMORPG.

How will things like Katamari Damancy really sell?
Personally , I really enjoy something that's really really different, I had great fun with "Construction Destruction" [] , Airfix Dogfighter [] and of course, the amazing Liquid War [] , but I think I'm the exception, and games of that style will never be really big.

I'd be happy to know I'm wrong, actually...

Re:Tired of EA (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471497)

welll.. gish really made splash last year.

but.. I'm not all that worried about innovative one-off idea games. they're generally based around 1 idea and made quite cheaply - as there is no cast, no directors, no gazillion artists and musicians.

anyhow.. things won't die. and quite frankly if game development stopped I'd still have games to play for 20 next years.

Re:Tired of EA (1)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471460)

I'm more worried about EA quality of games that get "pushed" into the market, rather then overal originality and novelty.

Think of The Sims 2. How HORRIBLY EA screwed it up by shipping it too early. Yes, it's been delayed a few times before launch but it was still too soon; less then a month after the game was launched the first game-crippling bugs started to hit players all over. I predict that the same will happen with Battlefield 2 ( or whatever they're gonna call it ) and whatever other high-profile game EA will publish. And even if somehow, miraculously, the game works as it should, it's a poor game 99% of the time.

EA is not an Evil Alliance for nothing...

How can this not be good? (5, Funny)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11469512)

With the great working environment, flexible hours, and employee benefits at EA how can this not be good for DICE? oh wait never mind..

Crap (1)

TychoCelchuuu (835690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11469630)

Bah. On the plus side, at least we'll get a thousand formulaic modern warfare large scale battle games. How can those ever get old?

I'm sad :(

Another day.. (1)

ayersrj (701333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11469760)

Another EA take-over / buy-out story. So are they ever going to release another version of MULE or what?

Re:Another day.. (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470775)

People have to get it straight, EA doesn't make games anymore. They only publish with their name on it. They are all management folks who don't give a fuck about whether you burn out or not.

Re:Another day.. (2, Funny)

chrish (4714) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470990)

Archon 2006, coming just in time for Christmas, or else!

Re:Another day.. (1)

10537 (699839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471077)

Who needs another version? Why not play the original online [] ?

Re:Another day.. (1)

AltaMannen (568693) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471870)

"Who needs another version? Why not play the original online?"

I'd like to have the same game with more features and options and better AI and I could make it myself and I could call it 'A.S.S' to avoid using their trademark and.. no maybe I shouldn't name it that.

Ah... let the cancer grow (3, Insightful)

VoxVeritas (851496) | more than 9 years ago | (#11469821)

Does anyone at EA realize that you can be too big? Look at Walmart. Walmart can't do anything right because every group in the world is watching them. Soon EA will have everybody watching them. You get too big, you have to keep gobbling everything up just to stay alive. Long live the indies!

But.. (1)

Yufice (852313) | more than 9 years ago | (#11469884)

But i thought you went to jail for rolling double 3 times in a row...God damned monopolies.

in related news... (2, Funny)

Moustache N Tits (828608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11469927)

... EA announces an exclusive deal with the American Military Historical Society that secures reproduction rights of all of America's wars. DICE will now be the only company allowed to reproduce WWI, WWII, the Korean, Vietnam and both Iraqi wars.

Re:in related news... (0, Flamebait)

Mr.Dippy (613292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470038)

Don't forget the upcoming Iran war.

Re:in related news... (1)

Mr.Dippy (613292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471888)

I want to know how the hell is this Flame Bait? Didn't the New York Times last week say that the Pentagon is conducting intelligence on a possible invasion?

Bad news for the industry... (2, Insightful)

Jaxine (851204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470060)

The thing that makes me so upset about this is that it strangles creativity and innovation.

Small companies have to struggle to survive. So, these smaller game houses have to be creative and they have to find new/efficient ways of accomplishing their goals. The ones that survive are going to be able to produce quality games.

When the smaller companies get swallowed up by EA, it seems that they are basically told what to make. A sequel to a popular title that was, itself, a sequel. They are given better resources, but that only snuffs out innovation, but their creativity can still shine through. EA puts out many good games. And every so often they put out a great game. But overall, I feel it stagnates the market to have such a monopolistic market share.

There's only so far it should legally be allowed to go.

Re:Bad news for the industry... (1)

MegaSlicer (784608) | more than 9 years ago | (#11475184)

It's because rehashing the same old game still gives them money, so they have no incentive to make new and unique games.

If people would stop buying the same old crap that EA shovels out year after year, they might get the picture and start working on making their games better.

But I don't think that'll happen anytime soon.

Who's left (1)

Red Moose (31712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470792)

Could anyone come up with a list of other new and older (like DI) dev companies.

We could take bets on who's next. This purchase/buyout is not because of producing games remember, it's to boost stock at this time of year. If DICE make anything or not, it's almost irrelevant as EA will have sold the idea to it's own shareholders.

So this time next year, or maybe next November when the end of year reports are not looking so good, who's next to be gobbled up?

Ides of March (1)

SandSpider (60727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470882)

Beware the ides of March! And of September, for that matter. That's right, every six months will be time for EA to determine whether or not you could stand to lose a substantial portion of your workforce, since that's when budgets go into effect. My advice is to find a job outside of EA, unless you like your layoff excitement on a schedule.

Guess we can.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11470913)

.. kiss off the Battlefield series.

Too bad, too. I enjoyed them.

Goodbye DICE Canada (3, Informative)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470929)

I used to work for DICE Canada. I was an employee at Sandbox / DICE Canada for about 2.5 years (it was called Sandbox Studios before it was purchased by DICE).

Once the studio was purchased, there were a few rounds of layoffs. I was one of them. From what former co-workers have told me, it appears that any sort of game development at DICE Canada is mostly an afterthought. The Big New Games are developed in Sweeden. DICE Canada gets to pump out expansion packs and the like. To be fair, that is a huge improvement over the sort of games that were developed when it was still called Sandbox.

Now that DICE is pretty much owned by EA, the Canadian studio in London Ontario is pretty much redundant. It was initially setup so that DICE would have a foothold in North America, making it easier to interact with North American publishers. EA has better facilities in Vancouver. I can see nothing preventing EA from folding the London Ontario studio and relocating everyone to Vancouver or just laying off those who dont want to move.


Re:Goodbye DICE Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471404)

To be fair, that is a huge improvement over the sort of games that were developed when it was still called Sandbox.

It's clear that before the DICE bought in, Sandox was brining in lots of business. Which is in huge contrast to its current position of mooching off DICE side projects.

Re:Goodbye DICE Canada (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 9 years ago | (#11472005)

Obviously, you did not work at Sandbox.

Sandbox was basically churning out quickie games. Working on an expansion for a game that is successful is a hell of alot better, morale wise, then working on Diva Starz and Barbie on the game boy.


Re:Goodbye DICE Canada (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 9 years ago | (#11474600)

Its just like when EA closed Westwood Studios in las vegas and moved everyone who was happy to move over to EALA.
If it was possible for EA to fit everyone into a single office and give everyone a single PC and still make the craptastic same-old same-old games they are doing, the would probobly do it.

Re:Goodbye DICE Canada (1)

sulphuric (853425) | more than 9 years ago | (#11478455)

Hi Mr. V. You're still putting "END COMMUNICATION" at the end of all your messages?

I worked at DICE Canada from the time they purchased the place until shortly after the Xbox launch. Considering how disrespectful DICE's management was to their Canadian employees, and the general cluelessness of DICE's top-level managers, I'm very happy I departed when I did.

Sandbox had a very talented Xbox/PS2 tech team in place when it was purchased. I'm still amazed at the tech and tools we where able to create from scratch in such a short period of time. DICE lost most of their key Canadian developers right after the Xbox launch, mere months after they purchased the studio.

They never even bothered to determine who was actually responsible for what on the team. They basically gave two guys at Sandbox huge benefits packages (in order to keep them around for a while as they thought these guys where the only key employees) and treated everyone else as expendable human resources to be worked all hours of the day until they dropped.

I heard DICE had to abandon the codebase around a year or so later. The few remaining devs couldn't understand or maintain it. They did manage to create several internal Xbox demos before the brain drain became critical, but they never could get the gameplay down right so the demos went nowhere.

Command: (1)

Vvornth (828734) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471259)

The Borg collective expands. ASSIMILATE.

Let me just repeat this thing once again... (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 9 years ago | (#11472053)

"Dost thou have any idea of the number of dead people and creatures there are? I thought not. The dead of the ages are mine [] to summon and control. The graves [] of beloved [] ancestors [] will spew forth their contents into an army. A special treat for the living, mine undead monsters will be. Imagine a skeletal dragon that cannot be killed. Consider a cabal of everliving mages eternally enthralled to me. And the most beautiful part of my plot is that, as the living die in these battles, and they will die, they will swell the ranks of the undead host. I will rule supreme -- a world of the dead!"

- Horance, in Ultima VII: The Black Gate

Indie Markets (2, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11472131)

Maybe Indie markets should get together and make an association to help sell games and fight EA. An example of how this helps, IGA, Independent Grocers of Association gives supermarkets around the world have the same buying power as Walmart. They need the same buying power to compete against the larger chains. They can buy the same products and get better discounts with the associations help.

If your business is being ran out, or bought out by a larger corporation, maybe its time to form some association so you can stay independent and maintain your business presence.

It will be interesting to see how mergers and buyouts change the world in the next 10 years, and how smaller companies react.

Grr (1)

TheBot (806046) | more than 9 years ago | (#11475865)

Where are your balls DICE? Did they get cut off by EA? I bet they did! Now we can choose from the following games, "WWII:Secret Holy War" "Vietnam:Conflict-Resolution" "Need for Speed:Antartica Underground Street Racer Collection"
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