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Electronic Arts Purchases BioWare, Pandemic

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the depths-of-horror dept.

Games 232

Kotaku is reporting that EA has purchased BioWare and Pandemic Studios, having offered some $620 million in cash to the Elevation Partners group to buy up VG Holding Corp. From the press release: "'We are truly excited by John Riccitiello's new vision for EA,' said Ray Muzyka, Co-founder and CEO of BioWare Corp. '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.'"

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Let me be the first to say... (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945699)

Shit. This ain't good.

(Pardon me for being cynical, but I can't help but be afraid that a company like EA, known for mediocrity, is going to drag down Bioware, known for excellence)

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945807)

Let's hope that Bioware, like Maxis/Will Wright, can fight hard to get free reign. Pandemic, on the other hand, will just slowly fold in on itself as it become just another EA company.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (2, Insightful)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945955)

Probably. Bioware can probably keep some distance from the EA crapmachine, but Pandemic is about to go the way of Digital Illusions (Battlefied 1942 developer).

Re:Let me be the first to say... (2, Interesting)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945861)

Yea, I'm not sure what all this is supposed to mean. Are we gonna get a ton of sequels (KotOR 3? Jade Empire2?) or is EA gonna leave them alone and just give them bags of munny hoping they can make great games they can bank off of? The Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] already shows Mass Effect 2 and 3 are in developement.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

cicatrix1 (123440) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945899)

It has been known that the intent of the designers was to have several Mass Effect titles. That's not new.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (2, Insightful)

rhombic (140326) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945985)

Oh yeah, KotOR already moved away from bioware, KotOR2 was one of the most disappointing games I've ever played. But there will definitly be a Jade Empire sequel now, along with ME2 and ME3. Probably JE3, JE4, & JE2010. ME4,5,6,7,8. And they will all, individually & collectively suck. I remember from my teenage years how EA used to be a name you could rely on for a fun game. Now, they're a shambling zombie force that sucks the life out of anything they touch, and causes their newly assimilated zombie-children to spew foul darkness onto the marketplace.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (5, Insightful)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946211)

Now, they're a shambling zombie force that sucks the life out of anything they touch, and causes their newly assimilated zombie-children to spew foul darkness onto the marketplace.

I tend to think of EA more like "The Borg" - they are out to assimilate every other game company, suck the individuality out of them and turn them into themselves - lifeless automatons.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (0, Offtopic)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945973)

I second that. I shuddered when hearing thousands of SW fanboys scream out in horror as their hopes for a KOTOR III suddenly fades into nothingness....

This sums things up nicely: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20946001)

Fuck

Re:This sums things up nicely: (2, Funny)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946627)

NO shit. Actually, the first thing I said when I read the headline was:

"Fuck, Fuck, FUCK! NOOOOO! God damn it! First the NFL license then this shit."

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

CircusTent (719757) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946013)

I wonder if it is going to be another Westwood. Crap for a few years then a good product comes out finally.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947605)

I wonder if it is going to be another Westwood. Crap for a few years then a good product comes out finally.
you mean, crap for a few years then getting closed down^W^Wassimilated. what are you referring too anyway? Nox?

Re:Let me be the first to say... (4, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946073)

Agreed, it may be a money-maker, but it's not good for those who love great games and look forward to more being created in the future. Can anyone here name just one company that got better in terms of product quality and service AFTER a merger? I certainly cannot, and am not aware of any.

So, to summarize this business deal: EA= Big Daddies, Bioware = Little Sisters, and if history is any guide to how EA treats their people, bioware's programmers/artists = corpses being robbed of their mana. And where do the customers factor in? We're the fellow passengers on the airplane that crashed during the Bioshock opening scene -- literary filler which exists only because it can't be logically avoided.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

Synonymous Bosch (957964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946925)

KOTOR II was so poorly developed this can only be a good thing. And this is coming from someone who thinks EA may be one of the worst things in the gaming industry right now (especially because they're becoming so indispensable). The only real risk here is the next star wars game will be an interior design simulator using The Sims engine, set in a Galaxy far, far away...

Re:Let me be the first to say... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20947017)

BioWare didn't develop KOTOR II. Obsidian did.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (3, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947407)

I liked KOTOR 2, but regardless, Obsidian developed KOTOR 2, not Bioware. Don't blame (or credit) Bioware for anything in KOTOR 2 except the engine.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

Synonymous Bosch (957964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947581)

I stand justifiably corrected... The original KOTOR was a winner in my books.... but, I guess, what have they done for me lately? ;)

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20948067)

Mass Effect [youtube.com] and Dragon Age at the moment.

It was fun while it lasted, for some reason all the good studios seem to get bought up or go bankrupt. The end result is usually the same in both cases.

Re:Let me be the first to say... (1)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947919)

Not poorly developed, just rushed severely for time. Look to the publisher for the problems with KotORII. 6 more months and everything would have been fine with it.

Thanks for the Game Property (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945709)

It will enable us to further the careers of the passionate, creative and hard working teams at BioWare Edmonton and BioWare Austin.'"

Yes. When they consolidate there will be several people passionate about eating and paying their bills who will be looking afield to continue their careers.

Anybody at Bioware-Austin (4, Funny)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945721)

Still have your Resistance is Futile shirt? :D

Subject Field. (0)

TriezGamer (861238) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945731)

I think this is likely to be a disaster, unless EA learns to keep their fingers out of the pie.

Re:Subject Field. (1)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945795)

Well, they seem to be shaking things up a bit over there and getting away from the "Mega-conglomerate" mode of thinking, and letting smaller teams work on their own. Hopefully they'll continue down that road and do the smart thing. That being, "leave Bioshock the fuck alone to do their, only now with more money!"

Re:Subject Field. (3, Funny)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945897)

I think you meant Bioshock.

I mean Bioware.

Re:Subject Field. (1)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946777)

Well, that's what I get for typing fast while on the phone I guess. ;)

Yes, I meant to say Bioware.

Re:Subject Field. (0)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945901)

Ummm... BioWare (KOTOR) didn't do Bioshock. 2K Games did.

Yeah, like that will happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20945823)

Yeah, like that will happen

Re:Subject Field. (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945841)

Hopefully Will Wright and the Sims will have taught EA that, sometimes, you just need to STFU and let groups with an awesome track record continue what they're doing. If Bioware gets gimped because of EA, slashdot should start a boycott of EA products. Seriously, if the Slashdot crowd led the way, others might follow and put just enough pressure on EA to get them to stick to their sports games while real companies innovate and expand the gaming market.

Re:Subject Field. (1)

darthfracas (1144839) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946059)

Seriously, if the Slashdot crowd led the way, others might follow and put just enough pressure on EA to get them to stick to their sports games while real companies innovate and expand the gaming market. i'm probably the only one who's been boycotting since ea got the exclusive license to make nfl games when sega's nfl 2k5 was the best game that year. in regards to "innovate and expand", how many new, original IP's has EA come up with in the last few years? i can think of SSX and Black. that's about it.

Re:Subject Field. (2, Informative)

Doug-W (165055) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946841)

Depends on what you mean by the last few years. Going from 2000, the year that SSX came out, the original IP that has been published by EA has been:
Alice, Kessen, Nox, X Squad, Black & White, Cel Damage, Undying, Majestic, Motor City Online, Sub Command, Earth and Beyond, Freedom Force, Freekstyle, Pirates: The Legend of Black Kat, Ghosthunter, Loaded, Armies of Exigo, The Urbz, and Knights of Honor. That doesn't count licensed IP that was unique for the same time period. (Harry Potter, Batman, Battle for Middle Earth etc...)

Re:Subject Field. (1)

Rasit (967850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946843)

Hopefully Will Wright and the Sims will have taught EA that, sometimes, you just need to STFU and let groups with an awesome track record continue what they're doing.

Ehh, Maxis is the only company that surpasses EA when I comes to milking franchises.

How many Sims are we up to now? about 14 expansions for the first and about 6 for nr 2

EA probably bought Maxis so they could learn from the true master of shameless money milking.

Re:Subject Field. (2, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946971)

The Sims came out after the buyout by EA [wikipedia.org] and the expansion packs were all done by other teams inside of Maxis courtesy of EA (sorry, no reference). If you think about it, the base games show the same style as earlier maxis games while the expansions stink of EA's sequel/expansion-style franchise milking.

Re:Subject Field. (1, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946793)

I think this is likely to be a disaster, unless EA learns to keep their fingers out of the pie.
About as likely as Michael Jackson keeping his fingers out of little boys.

NOT pleased at all (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945787)

swger, kotor player, bioware admirer. im not pleased. and im feeling less positive towards ea as of now.

Re:NOT pleased at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20947833)

I mostly just think of this as: If Bioware wasn't already pretty linux unfriendly (having only done NWN Linux because they'd promised it up until release of the actual game, something which many people purchased opening week expecting a linux client to be just around the corner), this just cements that.

Why? (1)

UbuntuniX (1126607) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945809)

Can't EA stop destroying good games and companies?

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946093)

Good games make their bad games look worse.

No (2, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946097)

Because whilst there are good games companies out there, there are games companies producing better games than EA can.

If EA can destroy everything better than it, then the standard is lower and EA games become the most attractive thing out there.

Re:Why? (1)

cstdenis (1118589) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946999)

No.

No. No No No No No. (1, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945811)

Please tell me this is some kind of joke. Maybe way back when EA actually produced quality games and wasn't busy drinking douch sauce, but now?

This news hurts my soul.

Re:No. No No No No No. (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946647)

When was this?

I honestly don't remember such a time.

Westwood made good games.
Maxis made good games.

EA never made good games. They purchased companies that did, and the quality improved for a year or two until their creativity burned out too....

Re:No. No No No No No. (5, Informative)

great throwdini (118430) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946791)

EA never made good games. They purchased companies that did, and the quality improved for a year or two until their creativity burned out too.

Back in 80s, EA attracted a number of top game developers and was (to many) synonymous with interesting, solid gameplay. MULE and Archon are two clear standouts published by EA, but a complete list of hits both big and small from "back in the days" is pretty lengthy (Bard's Tale, Mail Order Monsters, the various Construction Set games, Starflight, Seven Cities of Gold, etc.)

EA itself may not have "made" these games, but its distribution strategy and relationship with developers back then did a lot to get good games in the hands of eager players.

EA Games... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20945829)

<whisper>

Purchase Everything

</whisper>

Re:EA Games... (1)

belgar (254293) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947381)

With no mod points, I can only say, L.M.F.A.O. Seriously.

At least Mass Effect is pretty much finished (1)

rhombic (140326) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945867)

My prediction: it'll be kinda like "Brainwashed"-- George Harrison's posthumously released album, great work, sad knowing that nothing more will be forthcoming. Farewell Jade Empire & Mass Effect sequels, you're going the way of NFL Gameday or Mythic. Ah well.

Re:At least Mass Effect is pretty much finished (1)

absoluteflatness (913952) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946243)

Farewell Jade Empire & Mass Effect sequels, you're going the way of NFL Gameday or Mythic. Ah well.

I wouldn't say that's true. If anything, EA loves a sequel. With all the crap they churn out, EA probably wasn't looking to acquire BioWare's programming and game design talents, but their brand names and IP. I would say that some sequels are in the cards. As to whether they'll be any good, who knows? Even EA scores some hits every once in a while.

Re:At least Mass Effect is pretty much finished (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20947729)

I think Mass Effect was designed as a trilogy and was to be published my Microsoft. I guess MS owns the rights to the sequels so someone other than Bioware will make the sequels - if they happen at all.

Re:At least Mass Effect is pretty much finished (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#20948007)

They will produce the sequels. You will buy them, compulsively, because you remembered the original title so fondly. It will be similar to the original, and you will ask yourself, "why aren't they making innovative games?" Game companies that make innovative games will go out of business, or get gobbled up by EA. Who will produce the sequels...

EA : King Midas :: Shit : Gold (1)

holmedog (1130941) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945875)

EA is to king midas as shit is to...

Game over! (5, Funny)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945895)

Game over man, GAME OVER!

It's not the first of april (5, Insightful)

eddy (18759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945913)

And this joke isn't funny even if it were.

Another one bites the dust... (1)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945947)

And another one's gone. And another one's gone. Another one bites the dust.
So much for KOTOR. Bioware/Pandemic, jumping on board the sinking Titanic when all the Sports Games have already taken the life rafts, and are circling while laughing and pointing fingers, is not too smart.

Re:Another one bites the dust... (3, Funny)

Conception (212279) | more than 6 years ago | (#20945993)

I'm sure they are feeling none too smart... them and their HALF A BILLION DOLLARS.

Re:Another one bites the dust... (1)

0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946161)

Hmmm... your comment points to an odd epiphany at which I just arrived...

that of "Duh!" ;)

Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20946009)

I can't wait for Neverwinter Nights '08! Then '09! Then '10....

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20946715)

And Mass Effect for Ps3, Ps2, Wii, GC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PC, Mobile, Atari...

Carry The Torch? (2, Interesting)

Reapy (688651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946089)

Who is going to pick up carrying the torch for delivering high quality RPG games?

RIP Bioware...

Reapy

Re:Carry The Torch? (2, Insightful)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946247)

Bethesda has been carrying it for quite a while now.

Re:Carry The Torch? (4, Funny)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946355)

Shut up you fool! EA is listening.

Re:Carry The Torch? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946591)

Hey, Bethesda can afford to hire Patrick Stewart for voiceovers. I don't think they'll be caving to EA anytime soon.

Re:Carry The Torch? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946779)

No offense to Patrick Stewart, I love the guy, but he is willing to lend his voice to almost anything. He's in American Dad, for example. He did the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He did Bambi II. He did Demon Stone, which was actually pretty good now that I think about it...

What a perfectly flawed premise (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946897)

"Bethesda can afford to hire Patrick Stewart for voiceovers. I don't think they'll be caving to EA"

NOT a good example. Westwood studios made lands of lore where patrick stewart did voice work as king richard. Guess who bought and killed westwood?

Re:What a perfectly flawed premise (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947329)

Bah. I thought hiring him would be expensive enough that having the money to bring him in would mean that EA hasn't a hope in hell.

Still, Bethesda seems to be large enough to stand up to EA. Hell, Bethesda once sued EA.

Re:What a perfectly flawed premise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20947999)

Bethesda is owned by VU aren't they?

Regardless I know they're owned by another big media conglomerate, so if they think the short term profitability of selling Bethesda outweighs the longterm profits, they'd do it in an instant.

I wish all you guys would stop thinking of your favorite developers as independent companies, because unless they're Indie brands they almost down to a man aren't. The only big company examples I can think of off the top of my head are id and Epic, and both of them are more due to engine/storyline licensing capabilities than actual games. I guess Valve too, although I thought they were under someone else's umbrella.

Re:Carry The Torch? (2)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947185)

Who is going to pick up carrying the torch for delivering high quality RPG games?
How about... Mistwalker? Square Enix? Namco Bandai? Sega? Nintendo?

Re:Carry The Torch? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20947619)

What part of "high quality" do you not understand?

Terrible news... (4, Insightful)

vorpal22 (114901) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946115)

I, for one, have never seen anything *good* come of an EA acquisition. Anyone remember the Ultima games? EA bought Origin Systems, and the series promptly went from the brilliance of Ultimas III through VII Part 2 to the flops and incredible series ending disappointments that were Ultima VIII and IX. Both were buggy, lacking in plot, and virtually unplayable. It was terrible to have such a wonderful, complex continuing story terminate with a muffled whimper.

Re:Terrible news... (1)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947217)

Ultima? Hell, anybody remember all of Origin?

They gave us Ultima, Wing Commander, Crusader and System Shock. Then came Ultima Online and EA canned anything that wasn't a MMO game, then they started a Privateer Online canned that, and simply let UO fizzle out.

RIP Origin, Bioware you're next. =/

A look back at Garriott (1)

mecenday (1080691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20948081)

I loved Ultima too... And though I have no love for EA, you can't put all of the blame on them for the series' awful ending.

Garriott was a wonderful designer for his time, but he didn't seem to be able to evolve with it. Though most of the blame for Ultima 9 probably falls with EA and its pushing for a premature release... with U8 EA had just acquired Origin, and it was released as a mostly-matured product. Garriott himself came up with the cornball world, the action aspects, and the mock-jrpg style story.

I don't know if he just lost his inspiration, or if he didn't want to produce good games for the corporation he sold his company to. Either way it seems like he's the one who crashed and burned Origin. I'm left wondering if maybe he was just never able to scale with the amount of production it takes to produce a modern game, i.e.: When he started he was able to write, design, and produce whole games independently... maybe he never gained a knack for working with a large production team?

I mean... look at Tabula Rasa. How long had it been in development? First it was gonna be some sort of PhantasyStar looking silliness, then it's an FPS-Massive? WTH? And then it's finally released and though I haven't played it, most reviews seem to say it falls flat.

There's hope for Bioware (3, Interesting)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946179)

EA gives Maxis quite a bit of free rein, and they're loath to kill off that golden goose. I should hope Bioware gets the same treatment.

Pandemic on the other hand is basically borg-fodder.

Re:There's hope for Bioware (3, Informative)

crossmr (957846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946335)

EA is doing everything they can to kill of The Sims. They've absorbed Maxis entirely at this point, you won't find the Maxis name on anything anymore. They recently just changed from Safedisc to securom on the series which has caused uncountable problems, and to sweeten it they've got a moderator on a rampage banning and screaming at anyone who dares defile the securom name, or even claim they're having a problem because of it. That despite the fact that they set up a forum specifically to talk about securom.

Re:There's hope for Bioware (1)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946533)

...you won't find the Maxis name on anything anymore.
Does Spore count?

Re:There's hope for Bioware (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947061)

its a mystery why the logo is still on that site when its been sanitized from everything The Sims (maybe that has something to do with it). EA is possibly hoping to cash in on the name one last time. You can bet if Spore doesn't turn in to the instant geek orgasm they're expecting, you'll never see the name again.

You think? (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946635)

I mean, they're cranking out The Sims expansions like clockwork.

Re:You think? (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947033)

Yes, but that doesn't mean they're doing a good job of managing it. The bugs have been ridiculous, the community is a mess, and they make one boneheaded decision after another with them.

Re:There's hope for Bioware (3, Insightful)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946463)

No, EA gives *Will Wright* a lot of free reign, because he's Will fscking Wright, and you can bet he'd be able to jump ship and land on his feet somewhere else if EA ever held him back. As for the rest of Maxis, they've been swallowed up by the EA hive collective, and are now drones in charge of cranking ever more irrelevant sequels, ports and expansion packs to The Sims.

Re:There's hope for Bioware (2, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946483)

Maxis no longer exists. The studio was folded into EA years ago. Look no further than SimCity Societies to see how far the SimCity series has fallen. The Sims, revolutionary way back when, is a pathetic cash cow at this point.

EA: We Ruin Games (5, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946323)

Some of EA's finer moments:

Imagine SimCity, only take out the simulation elements, dumb it down, give it a lame 3d engine, and hire the mediocre studio behind the failure that is Caesar IV to design it. That's exactly what EA is doing with SimCity Societies. One of the most venerable PC game series of all time is reduced to the uninspired, inoffensive, mildly-likable crap that EA specializes in. If Maxis were still around, I doubt we'd be seeing this.

Then there's the Westwood. EA dissolved the studio and released C&C: Generals. It had no live action cut scenes, no creative and silly weapons, and no enigmatic bald men bent on world domination. It was a generic RTS featuring the USA, China, and some Arab quasi-nationstate fighting across desert landscapes dotted with mosques - the same setting used by every Clancy knockoff.

(Just because you build a city doesn't make it SimCity. Likewise, just because you command a modern army doesn't make it C&C.)

And let's not forget the Battlefield series. DICE revolutionized online FPS gaming with BF1942. To this day, it's still one of my favorite games. Battlefield 2, however, is a system hog that could teach Vista a thing or two. Post-release support is abysmal and the game is still riddled with bugs. BF2142 is for all purposes a half-assed futuristic mod based on the same crummy BF2 engine...and it features in-game ads.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I've been playing PC games ever since SimCity 2000 in 1993 and have witnessed EA steadily bastardize so many PC games I know and love. They make boatloads of cash from their exploitation games (Madden, The Sims) and then buy out respectable studios. Am I cynical for thinking that BioWare and Pandemic will go to shit? Based on my experience with EA, it's only a matter of time.

Re:EA: We Ruin Games (3, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946611)

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. I've been playing PC games ever since SimCity 2000 in 1993 and have witnessed EA steadily bastardize so many PC games I know and love. They make boatloads of cash from their exploitation games (Madden, The Sims) and then buy out respectable studios. Am I cynical for thinking that BioWare and Pandemic will go to shit? Based on my experience with EA, it's only a matter of time.
I think that their success in part parallels the rise of the non-geek gamer. I have NEVER owned a football game for any system I've owned. I think the last one I even rented was for the Sega Master System since I was trying to find a game my stepdad might be interested in. I'm sure a lot of geek gamers feel the same way. Well, it doesn't matter: sports games are huge sellers. Someone is buying them. When geeks were all about Doom, Myst was by far the top-seller of all time. Some geeks like it and many disliked it. The important part was that a whole lot of non-geeks really liked it. Barbie and Monopoly games sell more than traditional geek games.

With gaming going so mainstream, there are a lot of people now who accessorize with games rather than geek out over them. Consider the breakdown between music geeks and mainstream -- music geeks will get all into their favorite band, go obsessive over it, and geek out -- non-geeks who don't really care will just buy what their friends listen to so they can fit in. As far as the industry is concerned, a happy geek pays just as much for a CD as a mallrat so they're pleased.

The point I'm getting at, there are people who buy the latest football games because that's what their friends play. There are also people who just get whatever the flavor of the month game is popular and only play it superficially. Then they sell it back to the store and move on. Also, don't discount the parent factor. Here's a Harry Potter game, I'm getting it for the kid. Do I care what the reviews say about it? It's Harry fucking Potter, maybe this will shut the brat up.

Back in the day, it was marginally harder to push out a crappy game because the market was smaller and a lot geekier and thus harder to satisfy. With gaming going more mainstream, the acceptable quality threshold is lower. The same thing goes for movies. I tend to be picky as hell and bag on most of them. Most people I see them with tend to be happy so long as the film doesn't break. "There were lots of lights and fast, shiny objects. I enjoyed myself." My dissatisfied ticket made the studio just as much money as the other guy's genially uninformed ticket. Studio 1, Me 0.

My only hope is that the talent within the company accepted the buy-out offer with the intent of jumping ship to form a new development studio and continue to make good games. Cuz God knows, Bioware is already history.

Re:EA: We Ruin Games (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946693)

As much as I hate EA, C&C3 is actually not so bad, and Kane is back!

But among the newer games (i.e. not counting classics like Fallout and Planescape: Torment), the game I love the most is Neverwinter Nights 2. And I feel EA is going to ruin the Neverwinter Nights series.

Re:EA: We Ruin Games (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946965)

I wish I could play the new CnC but unfortunately it doesnt work out of the box on win2k. Westwood wouldn't try so hard to offend people by pulling shit like that. I can only assume its like generals was and steer VERY far clear of it.

Re:EA: We Ruin Games (1)

jmac1492 (1036880) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947617)

I'm a long time C&C fan. (By which I mean, I hated Generals too.) But C&C 3 is a real C&C game. If you liked the real C&C games, you'll like C&C 3. And as far as Windows 2000, well, it came out seven years ago. C&C 3 supports XP and Vista. How often does a game come out for a 7 year old console? How about for a 7 year old version of Linux?

Re:EA: We Ruin Games (1)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947091)

"If Maxis were still around, I doubt we'd be seeing this." Uh Maxis is still around. They're making that hugely hyped and anticipated game know as Spore, remember. "Then there's the Westwood." Funny how you don't mention C&C3, which Gamespot called "Command & Conquer at its best" and that IGN said "This time around it's more polished and presented in its most beautiful package to date." It's easy to bash a game company when you only focus on the bad games it makes. Look I can do it too: Remember Bungie? They made that mediocre Oni game and had that massive bug in Myth 2. Or what about that Blizzard developer? God Blackthorn was the biggest Prince of Persia rip-off ever. And Capcom? Jesus how long are they going to milk MegaMan before they just give up and die already. See how easy that is?

Re:EA: We Ruin Games (1)

Brownstar (139242) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947577)

SimEarth, SimAnt, SimLife, SimTower, SimHealth, SimIsle, SimFarm, SimGolf, SimCopter, SimTown, SimPark, SimSafari, SimTunes, SimRefinery, Theme Park Inc, Theme Park World.

Yep, EA definately made Maxis push out mediocre sim based games.... Oh, wait all of these were released, or at least started pre EA purchase.

This is GREAT news! (5, Funny)

Huntr (951770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946407)

Baldur's Gate would have been a much better game if it had more basketball and football in it.

Good for them. (4, Insightful)

CHK6 (583097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946473)

Sometimes you have to sell out and slaughter that cash cow you fed and grew for years. Now it's time to enjoy the proceeds of the efforts. I hope all the principle developers get a great cut and cash out.

Now for us gamers..... crap! Well if you are going to go out with a bang, then I guess Mass Effect is a great place to end it on.

Obligatory SW Reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20946557)

Obi Wan: "I feel a great disturbance in the force. As if millions of gamers suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."

Of course, there is always the other side:

Vader: "This will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Bioware, and soon it will see the end of gaming."

Honestly though, there is only two words needed: This Sucks.

Re:Obligatory SW Reference (3, Funny)

Pearson (953531) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947367)

I had a Star Wars reference too:

As the truth begins to emerge...
Bioware: "That wasn't part of the deal! You said you would leave us alone!"

EA: "I am altering the terms of our agreement. Pray I don't alter them any further!"

Re:Obligatory SW Reference (1)

replication (1118255) | more than 6 years ago | (#20948001)

Gold.

There's still hope.. (2, Interesting)

darkdreamr (1020363) | more than 6 years ago | (#20946857)

Consider that Bungie (another innovative studio popular among gamers) was absorbed by Microsoft back before Halo 1, but just recently (Oct 1) took back its independence. And despite producing 3 of M$'s biggest cash cows, they still seem to have their humor and character intact. Here's hoping BioWare can do the same.

Balance in all things... (1)

MrMadnutz (446737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947873)

Yep, Bungie gains it's independence (Oni was the last independent release, right?) and BioWare gets absorbed. BW will get out when Bioshock 8 comes out and they have a sweet diorama to go with it.

Noooo! (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947039)

My Mercenaries! My beloved Mercenaries! NOOOOOO!

I for one welcome our Wii-enhanced Bioware (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947051)

I for one welcome our Wii-enhance Bioware shock troops and look forward to them appearing in an upcoming EA preview of Spore.

NOOO (1)

unablepostAC (1044474) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947735)

NOOOOOOO

The horror, the worst news of the year.

I love Bioware games, and now thats over

Re:NOOO (2, Interesting)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947767)

I'm not amazingly informed on the matter, but Electronic Art is also a publisher, is it not? In that case, Bioware would be rid of Atari from this point and on (not counting their older, Atari-exclusive franchises). That can only mean good things. As bad as EA is, Atari was worse.

Mass Effect (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947787)

Mass Effect renamed to EA Presents John Madden's Mass Effect: 2008

Seriously this new sucks, every time EA buys something out to grab some IP they screw it up. I remember when they bought Westwood, the creators of the Command and Conquer series. What did we get out of that; RA2, Renegade...Generals (ok CNC3 is pretty good). I was looking forward to Mass Effect, but I've been boycotting EA for years now, and I don't think I'll be picking it up because of this. Mass Effect was the reason I was going to finally buy a new console and HDTV. Maybe I'll just be building a new PC instead, and I've been interested in the Wii too, which is looking like a better purchase because of the excellent price and my lack of an HD setup.

What does HK-47 say? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20947889)

Statement: Master, would you like to make a trip to EA headquarters? Clarification: For research purposes of course. Unrelated Query: Have you seen my blaster rifle?

Just what I wanted.... (1)

BulletMagnet (600525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20947929)

Is John Madden popping up and telling me "throw a Hail Mary to your Mage in the end zone" I owned both NWN 1 & 2 and now with EA at the reigns....3 will be a pass, if it even ever comes to fruition.

Seems to be confusion (1)

hinki (602400) | more than 6 years ago | (#20948047)

Bioware did not make Bioshock.

EA does not have any rights to D&D related stuff, so Neverwinter Nights cannot be made or published through EA.
Unfortunately Atari have that privelige (I wish Atari would hurry up and die).

But overall, this has a sense of foreboding.

I hope Bioware does not get stuffed around.

Yeah, this sucks (2, Insightful)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20948057)

I really liked playing Star Wars: Battlefront I & II and Destroy All Humans! I & II, and this news is like a poke in the eye. I can't recall an EA game that I enjoyed playing since...oh...Nightfire, which was released 5 years ago now. In fact, I thought that all EA released now was Sims expansion packs and sport games. I also dislike the way they're reputed to treat their employees [wikipedia.org] .

At the end of the day, it's the way of business....the small ones either grow or get consumed by a larger company. With the cost of developing games getting so high, there's not too much that can happen with that. Unfortunately, that means that game studios start resembling movie studios - with huge $$ being invested, they're less likely to go with something original and more likely to develop sequels or copies. The smaller companies may release interesting games, but they're not as likely to be a success [wikipedia.org] . A shame.
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