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EA/BioWare Deal Finalized, Nets EA Ten Franchises

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the bully-for-them dept.

Businesses 79

Gamasutra notes that the announced deal, where Electronic Arts was to purchase BioWare/Pandemic, has now been formalized. This arrangement will fold ten new franchises into the EA family, from the just-released Mass Effect all the way back to BioWare's classic titles. "EA Games president Frank Gibeau will oversee both studios within his organization, and BioWare's Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk have each been named as vice presidents of EA and co-general managers of BioWare. Similarly, Pandemic's Andrew Goldman and Josh Resnick have each been named vice presidents of EA and co-general managers of Pandemic, while Greg Borrud has been named vice president of EA and chief production officer of Pandemic Studios. "

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A New 'Mass Effect' Every Year Until You Die! (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946010)

Following this announcement, all BioWare and Pandemic developers were ordered to repor t to headquarters for a 10 digit tattoo on their arms and re-EAification [livejournal.com] . Prepare to learn how to saturate the market with your titles differing by only one digit!

Christ, for a moment there I thought EA's Battlefield, Medal of Honor & Crysis games were going to have to step it up a notch to compete with these new ... oh wait, nevermind, competition's been purchased. Whew! That was close. Ok, everybody resume average game ideas, and above all nothing risky or extraordinary! Remember, your ideas have to be approved through like seventy levels of command so don't even start with any out of the ordinary stuff we aren't sure will be an instant mediocre game netting us an average profit.

WoW, I can't wait for Mass Effect 2 through 5 and Mass Effect 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013. Just imagine the rosters!

Re:A New 'Mass Effect' Every Year Until You Die! (0)

ShawnCplus (1083617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946332)

Don't forget Mass Effect 5...... thousand

Like Bioware wasn't already stuck in that rut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946482)

Most of their existence was spent being the new SSI. Their crown jewel series and claim to fame, Baldur's Gate, was neither risky nor extraordinary; it was a D&D game modeled after Diablo. Bioware's next, what, dozen games after that were all paint-by-number D&D games.

They never even managed to make the best games with the engines they produced. Black Isle (and later Obsidian) played the Honda to their GM every time they got the opportunity to.

Re:Like Bioware wasn't already stuck in that rut? (4, Insightful)

rhombic (140326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946810)

Did you play KOTOR? And KOTOR 2? And you can say with a straight face that Obsidian is "the Honda to their GM"?? Jeezus, KOTOR was a terribly fun game, and ran pretty well on the Xbox. KOTOR 2 ran horribly, had major, game ending bugs, apparently used five year olds as the level designers, and left more plot lines dangling than a daytime soap, and made the Sopranos look like a well-thought out, complete ending. To top it all off, they left all the voice acting to a fantastic, unimplemented ending in the final product, rubbing it in for us. Bioware's not the best ever, but if Bioware is GM, I'd suggest Obsidian is Zastava (maker of the famous Yugo).

Re:Like Bioware wasn't already stuck in that rut? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947144)

The GPP did specify Black Isle (and later Obsidian) and given the people involved it is not unreasonable to view the two development houses as overlapping entities with a shared history. And as the developer of the best adventure-style Infinity engine game (Planescape: Torment), the best hack-and-slash Infinity engine game (Icewind Dale) and NWN2, the Honda:GM analogy doesn't seem too flawed.

So Chris Avellone is just a shitty game designer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947208)

Did you play KOTOR? And KOTOR 2?

Yet another instance of a console gamer criticizing a PC-centric development house based on the fraction of their portfolio that they've been exposed to on their platform (a platform more commonly used for cash-grab titles than art, BTW).

And yes, I did play both KOTOR games. KOTOR2's bugs and failings were all due to a rush to publication and not poor game design. They were both mediocre games and there was not a monumental difference in quality between them, whatever your exaggerated claim.

Re:Like Bioware wasn't already stuck in that rut? (1)

qweqwe321 (1097441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947876)

Not necessarily. KOTOR 2 was bug-ridden and had missing plot-lines because LucasArts wanted to rush it out the door in time for Christmas. The Obsidian team left the data files for a much more complete version of KOTOR 2 on the XBox disc, and a group of modders calling themselves Team Gizka http://team-gizka.org/ [team-gizka.org] are trying to restore the lost content. They seem pretty close to completion.

Re:Like Bioware wasn't already stuck in that rut? (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21951138)

I wholeheartedly disagree. I thought KOTOR 2 was excellent. The plot wasn't as good as KOTOR, but the gameplay was much better (extra levels, extra feats, lightsaber forms were actually pretty damn cool). It ran just fine for me (and on a woefully underpowered system, at that), I encountered no bugs, and the level design was pretty much the exact same damn formula as in KOTOR, so you have no grounds whatsoever to complain on that note. I will agree that the ending sucked the big one, but the rest of the game was pretty damn good, and a worthy sequel to KOTOR.

Re:Like Bioware wasn't already stuck in that rut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21958246)

The plot wasn't as good as KOTOR, but the gameplay was much better


This is /., where the quality of CRPGs is determined by the adventure game/interactive fiction elements rather than the gameplay.

Calling Obsidian "Yugo" is "insightful"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21958258)

Why do so many vapid fanboy comments get modded up these days? Seriously, what did parent poster say that was insightful or interesting in the least? "KOTOR2 sux0red"?

Re:Like Bioware wasn't already stuck in that rut? (1)

oxidiser (1118877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947082)

Say what you will... Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights were awesome games.

Re:Like Bioware wasn't already stuck in that rut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947314)

Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights were awesome games.

Bioware's Neverwinter Nights was an awesome game system... the actual included campaign was dreadful. The expansion packs were an improvement, but still not great compared to other CRPGs.

Baldur's Gate has to be the most overrated D&D game in history.

Re:A New 'Mass Effect' Every Year Until You Die! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946732)

All's I got to say is that Battlefield 2142 is the buggiest, glitchiest piece of coding garbage I have ever purchased on a PC. If they use the same programmers for the new franchises they just pruchased expect the quality to go from spectacular to suck in a single release. I would hope that buying these franchises would help some quality codingness to rub off, but somehow I doubt that.

Obligatory PA post on the subject (4, Funny)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946952)

Click here [penny-arcade.com]

Re:A New 'Mass Effect' Every Year Until You Die! (1)

Arcanis the Rogue (910060) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946990)

While I agree that the majority of EA games are fuming turds, don't touch Crysis. It's one of the best-looking and most fun games I have played in a long while.

Apparently Crytek has been getting real nice treatment from EA, it is good to see that they are giving the developer's they own some bit of freedom now. Hopefully this will continue with BioWare.

But... I don't know, considering how well Crysis sold, we'll have to wait and see what they allow BioWare.

Re:A New 'Mass Effect' Every Year Until You Die! (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947180)

This has spoilers, so don't read further if you're still playing the game. It's also opinion so feel free to disagree ;).

Crysis was pretty and the physics were awesome, but I'm not sure if I'd describe it as "fun". The only thing that stopped me from quitting was the fact that I paid for it. Oddly enough everyone despises the alien plot theme, however that was the *only* saving grace for me. Running around the jungle got old. From the helicopter pulled directly from Half-Life that could find you if you were crouched in a bush being completely still at night under a heavy canopy of trees to the human enemies taking *clips* of ammo into them without dying. And when you first explore the alien base in 0G it's one of the most aggravating levels I have ever played in my life and I was constantly confused as to where I was actually supposed to go. It only got interesting after that and even then you had annoying shit like escorting your friend to fires to warm up when sometimes the fires weren't there (nice bug) and flying your airship through a swirling vortex which killed me a number of times. Let's hope the sequel is better.

I loved Far Cry, but can't buy Crysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21948458)

I wanted Crysis to be a good game. I really did. Problem is, Crytek got so obsessed with creating next generation technology, I think they might have forgotten the game somewhere in the tech. I downloaded the Demo, to see if the game would run ok on my computer, and to see if it was any fun.

I had waaayy too many technical and performance problems with the demo to even consider shelling out for the game. Granted, I don't have a high-end gaming desktop computer. Guess what. . . neither do most people. That's the problem with the PC gaming industry. They develop games for computers that most people don't have.

My Specs:

Dell Inspiron Laptop:

1920x1200 17" LCD
Intel 2.0 Ghz Mobile Core2 Duo
GeForce Go 7900 GS video
1Gig RAM
7200 RPM PATA 133MB/S hard drive (I think)

So, not the highest end computer in the world, but really, a pretty competent gaming machine, mostly. It is better than a lot of brand new, low-end desktop systems.

But Crysis ran *horribly* on it. During every firefight, it seemed like the fps dropped way down, to the point where it reminded me of when I first played DOOM on a 386sx - which was pretty much a slideshow. The difference is, when DOOM released, most people with computers really did have 486 or Pentium computers which could handle it. I doubt most PC owners have computers that could handle Crysis at this point.

Re:I loved Far Cry, but can't buy Crysis (2, Informative)

gameforge (965493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950030)

So you toned all of the graphics settings down, for both your drivers and in the game, and with a 2.0GHz dual core and your other specs, you had FPS drops in the DEMO?

Something else is wrong. Either the demo had some glitch when you tried it or your system is goofed, because I have the real game and ran it on an Athlon 3000+ w/ the same amount of RAM and a whopping Radeon 9800, and after toning the resolution and settings down, it played just fine. Didn't look bad either - I don't recall having to bottom out every setting or anything.

You have plenty of hardware to play games and make them look pretty good... but the newest games will always try to support the latest hardware features if not a little more than that if you turn all the settings up. If you want gazillions of subdivisions in your curved meshes and a ton of custom shaders, all at 1600x1200 - you're going to need to buy the hardware that can do those things.

What we don't want is for game makers to require such settings for it to be fun and playable (which was not the case with Crysis). For me, to this day, a handful of NES games are still worth playing occasionally; high performance graphics and fun are entirely independent axes of each other, for most anyway.

I now have a 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad with 2GB of RAM and a GeForce 8600GTS, and IMO BioShock looked a lot more polished and creative than Crysis - I was very happy with the graphics/performance quality I got out of both games considering my hardware. Still - I'm guessing even with twin 8800 monsters, you're going to hit some slow spots if you turn every last setting as high as it goes.

As for Crysis, the game... it was really well done, and a lot of fun to play until you get about 1/3 of the way through it, then a glitch shows up for which you end up on Google looking for a sloution - only to find out that you weren't 1/3 of the way through it, but rather that glitch that prevented you from blowing up the big guy was the very last thing to do in the game.

It was just too short! And the bug at the end COMPLETELY ruined it since (last I checked) they weren't acknowledging it and hadn't made a patch, and the only workaround was to keep reloading and trying not to solve everything the same way until (seemingly at random) it would work.

I still have no idea what the ending was - I was too pissed off to come back to it for a while, and by then I was into another game.

Re:I loved Far Cry, but can't buy Crysis (1)

gameforge (965493) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950066)

Oh, and the aliens in Crysis, aside from all looking like the same model, looked like they came straight out of Duke Nukem 3D, except they weren't billboards... even with lots of texture filters you could see huge, ugly, disgusting texture pixels, unless it was the other 7/8 of the alien which was jet black and was more of a silhouette than a model... so if you saw any of that, that wasn't your hardware. ;)

GLaD to have you aboard (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947092)

"We are throwing a party in honor of your tremendous success. Place your keyboards on the ground, then lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. A party associate will arrive shortly to collect you for your party. Make no further attempt to innovate. Assume the 'Party Escort Submission Position' or you will miss the party."

Re:A New 'Mass Effect' Every Year Until You Die! (1)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947762)

"Gentlemen, you can't have a small worry in here! This is the Crysis room!"

I felt a disturbance... (3, Funny)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946082)

It was as if millions of gamers cried out and were silenced.

Re:I felt a disturbance... (2, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946596)

It was as if millions of gamers cried out and were silenced.
You're new to this internet thing, aren't you.

Owned by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946110)

So exactly how much of the game industry is now owned by either Electronic Arts or Vivendi?

Re:Owned by... (1)

caramelcarrot (778148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947230)

Valve, id, Epic?

Re:Owned by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21948972)

Just to name a few of the big names, you still have: Valve, Ubisoft, ID, Epic, THQ, Nintendo, Sony, Midway.

The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946148)

Bungie - Was so unhappy working with Microsoft they forced them to let the company become independent and work on any platform they want
Bizarre - Ended their exclusive Xbox development when they went off to Activision
Bioware - Ended their exclusive Xbox development when they went off to EA

That pretty much just leaves Lionhead and Rare as Microsoft's first party Xbox developers. Rare has been a disaster for the money Microsoft paid to acquire the developer. Lionhead has been 'meh'. A decent developer that talks too much about grand plans that continually disappoint in their actual product.

With these rumors of Microsoft looking to license the Xbox to third party manufacturers you have to wonder if Microsoft is ready to turn their focus away from console hardware and back to Windows gaming.

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946292)

Microsoft still owns 51% of Bungie. Bioware hasn't really announced many future plans, other than that MMO, PC game, and the 2 future Mass Effect games on the 360.

In all likelyhood, given Microsoft's continued success with their breakable but loveable console, they simply no longer see the need to pay for "first party exclusives" when 3rd party (hardcore game) developers are forced (if they want to make money) to develop games for the 360 as well as the PS3, and that the 360, having the greatest market share, will be the strongest of any "multiplatform" game.

Remember, the 360 has a much larger marketshare than the PS3, and a better outlook for 2008. The 360 also has a much stronger attach rate than the Wii. If you were in this situation, would spend millions bribing developers to do what is in their best interest anyway?

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946346)

Let me guess, last week you were posting equally inane reasons why HD-DVD was on its way to victory in 2008...

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946662)

Right. I forgot this was Slashdot. I forgot that Microsoft was a total failure of a company. Has cheated to get where it is today, and has been dying for 10 years now, with each new product having fatal flaws that will kill the company.

Face it. So far Microsoft is in a solid second place, and thanks to the high attach rate and traditional style, probably number one as far as most 3rd party game companies are concerned.

Can Sony pull it together and do better? sure, it's possible, maybe even likely. Maybe Nintendo will start getting some serious 3rd party development and not the shovelware it seems to be getting.

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946848)

The 360 is in last place in installed base in every country outside of the US,UK, and Australia. In just 9 months since the PS3 was released in Europe the console has quickly overtaken the 360 in all but one country and will be leading in installed base sometime in the next couple months.

The 360 actually sold less consoles in 2007 compared to 2006 which is unheard of for a console where the natural progression is huge leaps in sales at every price drop. And the 360 numbers are even worse when you take into consideration the massive number of people who have re-bought the system hoping the newer versions will have the hardware defects fixed.

The 360 is on track to make Xbox numbers by the time Microsoft pulls the plug on the system. Dead in Japan, the bulk of the installed base in the US with Europe adding in about 1/3 of the US installed base just like last gen. The same US based Halo fan demographic are once again buying the new Xbox and the same 150 million or so console gamers that didn't care about the Xbox last gen continue to not care about it this gen.

With the 360 at around 15 million worldwide and the PS3 at 9.5 after the latest holiday sales figures it is now just a question of if Sony will pass the 360 installed base in late 2008 or early 2009. Developers don't give a damn when Sony actually does. It will be nothing but a footnote in the current console gen. Console developers are focused on five years from now and having games for the 125 million PS2 owners out there as they make the jump to the PS3.

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947078)

Heh. The idea behind your post may happen (Microsoft ends up in 3rd). The "facts" in your post are a fucking joke. Both consoles are making record sales. The PS3 and The 360 are pretty much on a very similar curve. We'll see if one falls off.

This ridiculous fanboy bs hurts my eyes when I read it. If fools like you would take half the energy you put into it, get a decent job, you could simply afford all 3. Kick back and enjoy the games (that is the point right?).

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947178)

Your arguement boils down to "Xbox is bigger than PS3 now by a large margin overall, but not in countries other than US, UK and Australia". US, UK and Australia make up the bulk of sales for American games anyway. So when Microsoft no longer has those American developers under their tight control, it still doesn't matter because the console has the biggest install base overall right now and will continue to have the biggest install base in the countries where their games will sell most for a long while to come. They're playing a different game now. They have settled in to a good position and now are adjusting to take advantage of that position.

Also, 5 years down the line we will have a new Xbox because it will be 7 years old by then. We will also probably see a new Nintendo console. The PS3 may stick around for a while, but if you really think developers are waiting for 5 years for the PS3 to catch on and everybody with a PS2 to hop on board, you are sadly mistaken. The PS3 will be weak in comparison to the hardware in the successor to the Xbox 360. The game resets every 5 - 7 years with consoles and everybody starts at zero.

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947282)

Save that crap for the other kids on the bus to school.

Don't you dimwitted little teenagers ever get tired of being wrong?

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21957218)

Save that crap for the other kids on the bus to school.


What crap would that be? Oh, the stuff coming out of your mouth

Attach rate counting what? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947660)

The 360 also has a much stronger attach rate than the Wii
Counting or not counting Wii Sports and Wii Play? Counting or not counting Xbox Live Marketplace and Wii Shop Channel? I'd like to know what source you're using.

Re:Attach rate counting what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21947852)

Kotaku.com

7 games per 360 sold, 10million XboxLive Gold (paying) members.

Wii's highest attach is Wii Play, followed by Galaxy and Zelda, with everything else fighting for a distant last.

Which makes sense. The 360/PS3's target consumer is probably much more willing to spend their cash on gaming than the more casual Wii target market.

Re:Attach rate counting what? (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947900)

Alternatively Wii games, by their nature, may have a higher replay value and greater longevity, leading to fewer sales because why buy more when you're still playing the ones you have?

From what I've seen of the Wii (= the games my ex has for hers) they're mostly about team/party play and replayable games, with games with a definite beginning, middle and end being in the minority - puzzle games, mini games like Wii Sports, etc.

Re:Attach rate counting what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21948274)

yup. I'm not saying one is better or worse. My Wii is primarily used for Mario Strikers or Wii Sports (until recently when I got Galaxy). I only have 3 games for it, but they are a blast when I have people over, but for more traditional games, a Wii is not what you want.

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (1)

fyrewulff (702920) | more than 6 years ago | (#21953282)

No, Microsoft does not own 51% of Bungie, because

1) If they -did-, Bungie would be working on Halo 4 right now. Which they are not.
2) Bungie wouldn't even be able to -entertain- the idea and discuss working on other consoles. Honestly, I think they'll wait for the next generation to go multi-platform.
3) It's kinda hard to own 51% of a private company that has no shares! (Honestly, they had to do that - if Bungie went independent as a publically traded company again, they would have been a victim of a hostile takeover by one of the big publishers so fast that it would have made their heads spin)

Microsoft only has a "investing stake" in Bungie at the moment, which I take to guess is a contract we'll never read that states how many more titles Bungie can make that MS will automatically publish and/or says that any 360 exclusive title will be published by MS.

Yeah, but Duke Nukem will save the day (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946426)

But Duke Nukem Forever is being reworked exclusively for X-Box!

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946532)

It's even worse than just those three. Mistwalker has turned out to be a disaster with the failures of Blue Dragon and Lost Oddessey. And Epic has sounded very, very pissed off at Microsoft and their online service forcing them to spend six months to a year rewriting UT. Rockstar has tried to hide their frustration and anger at being forced to fit their giant city sized game onto the 360's tiny and smaller than last gen's 7.1GB DVD disks and no standard harddrive.

With the sudden and rapid death of HD-DVD this week and the almost complete lack of mention of the 360 at CES by Microsoft and the almost complete silence on their 2008 and beyond plans that their enthusiasm for the console market is running out. After six to seven years in the console market and billions in cash to spend if Microsoft was still serious about being competitive they would have never let Bioware go off to EA.

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (4, Interesting)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947430)

I dunno... having bought all these game companies in order to build up the 360's installed base, and having succeeded, doesn't it make sense now to sell them off and recoup their costs? They'll still make games for the 360... 3rd parties go to where the gamers are. The PS3 is barely a threat at this juncture, and Wii isn't raking it in for 3rd parties either.

MS way very agressive early on in aquiring these companies, and it has paid off. Sony would do well to follow their example.

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949610)

I still have no idea why Microsoft decided to sell a HD-less console, and continue to force developers to not make HD-only games. It seems like most people who bought the core system, did so with the intent of buying an HD later, well now is later, so go get one. The Xbox 360 Core system was a regression from the original xbox in terms of storage, and the only reason they did it was to pinch pennies out of people who would otherwise not buy one.

Re:The Collapse Of Microsoft's First Party Support (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948548)

Don't forget that Microsoft has their own games division. I wouldn't expect their in-house development to be trotting off to EA's payroll.

The major flaw in your troll theory (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959182)

Whilst the 360 is in second place to the Wii, it's still 1st place in terms of software sales by quite a decent margin. That means that no matter what the 1st party support it's still getting a hell of a lot of development attention because it's the console software developers can currently make the most money from.

Seeing as Nintendo and Sony have much greater 1st party software support yet lower software sales for their consoles (despite in the case of Nintendo having a higher userbase) I fail to understand how any perceived collapse of 1st party support is a problem anyway.

Not that Bizarre and Bioware were ever 1st party anyway, just that they simply chose to support only the 360 on certain games, which makes sense when for a large portion of the period they were developing those particular games the 360 was the only console with a sizeable amount of units out there anyway.

Or to put it another way, no you can't have Devil May Cry 4, GTA4, Assassins Creed, Virtua Fighter 5, Beautiful Katamari or Fatal Inertia back for your PS3!

I see one plus to this deal (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946230)

Come on EA, dip into that huge bank account you have and fully fund Baldur's Gate III!

Re:I see one plus to this deal (5, Funny)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946450)

Come on EA, dip into that huge bank account you have and fully fund Baldur's Gate III!
You mean Baldur's Gate 2009 (to be released Autumn 2008). Or as it's known internally 'BG2 with facial expressions'. And I've heard rumours of plans for a followup, known only by it's secret codename 'BG2 with facial expressions and realistic grass effects'

And of course there'll be no more text feedback to read in battles, it'll all be provided by commentary from Andy Gray and Martin Tyler (Americans can insert whoever commentates on whatever games EA whores over there).

Re:I see dead player lives (2, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946668)

You mean Baldur's Gate 2009 (to be released Autumn 2008). Or as it's known internally 'BG2 with facial expressions'. And I've heard rumours of plans for a followup, known only by it's secret codename 'BG2 with facial expressions and realistic grass effects'

Is that the one with the Mohawk class of Night Elves?

Re:I see one plus to this deal (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21946680)

John Madden.

Or, how I would envision it...

Madden: You see, Minsc just helped his party out by not being hit and by hitting his enemy. If he can continue doing that, then his party will win the fight.

Re:I see one plus to this deal (1)

arhar (773548) | more than 6 years ago | (#21959786)

Thank you for making me spill my team all over the keyboard

Re:I see one plus to this deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22011708)

haha. john madden.

Colonyyy! (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947722)

Or as it's known internally 'BG2 with facial expressions'.
So are they using the "Colonyyy" engine [ytmnd.com] ?

In related news... (2, Funny)

Darth (29071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946240)

Bioware announced their next game, expected to be released in early 2010, Madden Effect 2k10.

Re:In related news... (2, Insightful)

Hitman Hart (1018296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946286)

No, it would be Madden Effect 2010. 2K studios uses the "2KX" formula.

Re:In related news... (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946336)

You're just assuming EA won't have purchased 2K Studios by 2010. Silly you.

Re:In related news... (1)

Hitman Hart (1018296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946376)

They wouldn't use their former competitor's naming conventions, I don't think. Madden hasn't become ESPN Madden or anything like that.

What a sad day for gaming (4, Insightful)

40ozFreak (823002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21946838)

And baby Jesus wept.

That EA is allowed to buy out all their competition rather than be forced to produce top notch titles in an effort to battle over the market is a farce to me. They did it with Madden as well by scooping up the NFL license just as Visual Concepts' ESPN NFL 2k series was starting to show signs of seriously competing with Madden. They can't be allowed to continue doing this. Why would BioWare want this for themselves? Doesn't anyone inside gaming feel that EA needs less help than anyone? Stay independent! Fight the urge to conglomerate!

Re:What a sad day for gaming (2, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947028)

"That EA is allowed to buy out all their competition rather than be forced to produce top notch titles in an effort to battle over the market is a farce to me"

I wish people would stop bashing EA, the fact is many of their games are pretty good, even with some bumpy patches here and there (battlefield), The sims series, simcity, Need for speed (almost every god damn one has been and fairly well made). There's other crap for sure, but the fact is you don't get to be top dog if you totally blow. Fact is, EA knows how to play the capitalist game very well, and make lots of money doing it. They know what games sell and produce them.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (2, Interesting)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947418)

EA is good at marketing, yes. But then so is McDonalds. And despite their insane popularity, there's very few restaurants out there that don't serve better food than McDonalds.

Out of the dozens of "games" EA has released in the last 5 years, I can count on one hand the ones that were both fun to play and not complete bug-ridden crap. The same cannot be said about the number of stellar franchises they've purchased and subsequently trashed in the same time period. There's reasons people bash EA. Lots of reasons. And they far outnumber the reasons to like them.

Despite all that, I'm still willing to give them another round to prove they can in fact release something other than turds. Guess we'll just have to wait and see how Warhammer Online and the next BioWare releases turn out. Sadly though, I'm afraid we'll be disappointed.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21952324)

"EA is good at marketing, yes. But then so is McDonalds. And despite their insane popularity, there's very few restaurants out there that don't serve better food than McDonalds."

You keep forgetting though that people care more about the taste then anything else, people go to Mc Donalds and eat their food for the taste. McDonalds has got it's chemical engineering of its food down to a science, unlike 99% of other restaurants. They are quite capitalistic and scientific in their methods, they are an exemplar of knowing how to make money. Just because other restaurants offer higher quality food doesn't mean anything because of the LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS, after a certain about of value people don't give a shit. Only a minority of 'food conniseurs', go on complaining, if the food was that bad (tasting) McD's would go out of business.

"Out of the dozens of "games" EA has released in the last 5 years, I can count on one hand the ones that were both fun to play and not complete bug-ridden crap."

(a very brief list in no particular order)
1. The Orange Box X360 EA Games
2. Burnout 3: Takedown XBOX EA Games
3. Half-Life 2 XBOX Electronic Arts
4. Medal of Honor Allied Assault PC EA Games
5. Half-Life 2: Episode One PC EA Games
n. ...

I could go on but one only needs to search www.gamerankings.com or www.gamespot.com and search for "EA" and all the games with different reviews, etc, then compare it against sales #'s. Since a great game nobody buys is bad business practice. We all rememeber planescape: torment and other great game series that tanked like Freespace 2 and Descent 3.

Which games are these? Do you know how many EA games are rated highly on gamerankings? Maybe you should go take a look before claiming all their games are "crap". I don't think most people bashing EA have any IDEA of the projects EA has been involved in and what kind of deals they strike with other developers to help them publish their games, they only know the "bad stuff" (their highly abusive employment practices)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square_Electronic_Arts [wikipedia.org]

"The same cannot be said about the number of stellar franchises they've purchased and subsequently trashed in the same time period. There's reasons people bash EA. Lots of reasons. And they far outnumber the reasons to like them."

We're talking about game quality here, if a good game comes out under the EA label, it doesn't matter, the fact is EA invested in the developers and gave them the funds to make their game. No company is perfect, that's the nature of capitalist system, you have more of a problem with capitalism then with "EA" which is nothing more then a label for a corporate group of people trying to make money for their shareholders. Just like any other corporate publically traded company.

Your real complaint is about geedy capitalists, welcome to to the real world of capitalism.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (1)

40ozFreak (823002) | more than 6 years ago | (#21977670)

I can totally respect your defense of their business practices, but I can't fight the feeling that these sales numbers are often a reflection of quantity and hype rather than quality. If you own enough franchises, if you buy out enough competitors, and if you throw enough games out there, you're bound to have some gems.


Sales numbers and units sold are not always a reflection of the quality of a game but rather the advertising machine that pushed it. With that said, we all know that EA has the funding and motivation to hype their big games into oblivion, and in many cases they will sell even if they are sub par or below expectations. Take Assassin's Creed for example. (not EA, I know) Many, many people like the game. Fine. But for every person that enjoyed it, there's another guy who bought it, disliked it, and returned it for Mass Effect or [insert popular game]. I am one of them, and I know quite a few others. The sales numbers reflect gigantic success, yet fail to represent the not insignificant population that exchanged it at Gamestop for something else. I know we're debating peanuts here, but I think it's a point worth noting.


I've played tons of EA titles as I'm sure we all have, and I am often disappointed or bothered by shoddy developing, poor bug testing, and laggy menu designs that take away from the overall enjoyment from the game. I've seen a lot of franchises that I love digress over time due to lack of R&D, poor design, or general devolving due to the fact that EA bought all their competition and have no reason to substantially improve (HI2U JOHN MADDEN). It pisses me off and I'm tired of it.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (1)

Flakeloaf (321975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948810)

"That Creative is allowed to buy out all their competition rather than be forced to produce top notch sound cards in an effort to battle over the market is a farce to me"

I wish people would stop bashing Creative, the fact is many of their cards are pretty good, even with some bumpy patches here and there (Live 5.1 under XP), The AWE series, extigy, speakers (almost every god damn set has been and fairly well made). There's other crap for sure, but the fact is you don't get to be top dog if you totally blow. Fact is, Creative knows how to play the capitalist game very well, and make lots of money doing it. They know what technology sells and produces it.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948922)


"That Microsoft is allowed to buy out all their competition rather than be forced to produce top notch software in an effort to battle over the market is a farce to me"

I wish people would stop bashing Microsoft, the fact is many of their products are pretty good, even with some bumpy patches here and there (ME), The XP series, XBox, mice (almost every god damn one has been and fairly well made), and keyboards. There's other crap for sure, but the fact is you don't get to be top dog if you totally blow. Fact is, Microsoft knows how to play the capitalist game very well, and make lots of money doing it. They know what technology sells and produces it.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21949518)

"That the Nazis is allowed to invade all their competition rather than be forced to produce top notch culture in an effort to battle over the market is a farce to me"

I wish people would stop bashing the Nazis, the fact is many of their achievements are pretty good, even with some bumpy patches here and there (the Haulocaust), The Berlin Olympics, stabilizing the currency, military technology (almost every god damn one has been and fairly well made). There's other crap for sure, but the fact is you don't get to be top dog if you totally blow. Fact is, the Third Reich knows how to play the war game well, and kill a lot of people doing it. They know what weapons kill and produce them. ...someone had to do it.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21951166)

No, many of their games are crap (or, at least, games I can't stand, which is different, I grant you). EA produces good games, they just happen to be few and far between compared to the masses of mediocre/bad games they put out.

Also, I'm still pissed off that they bought the NFL license. God forbid we have a level playing field here... your competition makes a better game than you, so take away their ability to make it! Good game, EA (and NFL). Good fucking game.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948460)

Why would BioWare want this for themselves? Doesn't anyone inside gaming feel that EA needs less help than anyone? Stay independent! Fight the urge to conglomerate!

Sorry, Bioware can't hear your earnest plea over the clinking noise of the bag full of gold coins the EA rep is shaking in front of them.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949640)

They did it with Madden as well by scooping up the NFL license just as Visual Concepts' ESPN NFL 2k series was starting to show signs of seriously competing with Madden.

You can blame the NFL for that one, since the prefer to exclusively license everything. EA had no choice but to buy the rights, if they wanted to continue publishing Madden with NFL teams.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (2, Informative)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949676)

Perhaps because EA's new CEO [wikipedia.org] used to be involved with these guys [wikipedia.org] who were already running Bioware? He pretty much went EA top manager -> Elevation Partners (owning Bioware) -> running EA.

So I dunno if I'd call that smart, but that could certainly be one reason. Bioware knows firsthand the guy now running EA. Does that mean EA will magically turn awesome? I think EA's problems will continue as long as they think they'll get good work out of slavedriven employees. But it also means Bioware has personal experience that I don't -- so maybe they know something I don't.

Re:What a sad day for gaming (2, Informative)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21950028)

Why would BioWare want this for themselves?

The short answer - $

The long answer - Bioware was founded by three doctors who wanted to develop medical software. Along the way their priorities got shifted and it became a gaming company; this move probably cause some strife as one of the original partners left back in 1997.

Anyways, for all the success they've had BioWare has always been a pretty small studio, and I can't help but wonder if the thought that they could be much bigger and even that much more successful is what led to them "joining forces" with a private equity fund in 2005.

In the end Bioware wasn't sold to EA by anyone who cares about video games; it was sold by VG Holding Corp, a branch of the investors Elevation Partners. They undoubtedly looked at the deal only in terms of the cash in hand vs potential earnings by holding on to the company.

Considering everything that EA gains from this, it was probably much more valuable to them than to the former owners, and as such EA's offer was likely very sweet from the perspective of the sellers.

Nuts (1)

j33pn (1049772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947042)

Does this mean that all of Bioware's titles are going to play like XBOX games ported to the PC, like all of the C&C games now? I'm sure it does.

Wow I'm happy about this (1)

Tragedy4u (690579) | more than 6 years ago | (#21947090)

I predict this aquisition will go just as well for them as it did when EA bought out Origin, Bullfrog and Westwood studios!

Re:Wow I'm happy about this (1)

Synic (14430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21962012)

That's a horrible thing to say, you bastard.

I don't want all the people to leave the companies and go form new ones that put out overhyped and underwhelming titles years late.

Keeping the talent (1)

fullmetal55 (698310) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948060)

One thing I've heard rumours of, is that they're actually illing to pay a little more to keep the talent that bioware brings to the table. rather than just buying the company out, letting the people go and replacing them with less-talented kids fresh out of school. We'll see how long that lasts, I hope the good Doctors got some good money for it. I'm looking at you Muzyka.

Re:Keeping the talent (1)

Synonymous Bosch (957964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21948432)

It's already started - EA don't need to fire the talent, they just need to make them Vice Presidents and give them a hefty payrise.

EA ruins another developer. (4, Interesting)

syn1kk (1082305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949326)

Example 1 - Dungeon Keeper series by Bullfrog:
"Bullfrog had decided not to do any other RTS of any kind. This decision was in effect the end of Bullfrog as a brand; the company had already been owned by EA for several years, and EA laid off some employees and put the remainder onto other projects such as the Harry Potter line."

"2004 met the final end of Bullfrog when Electronic Arts combined their side studios into EA UK."

Lord British - talking about how EA is a ONE TRICK PONY:
"Richard Garriott: The short explanation was, as they say, fundamental creative differences. If you've seen any of the Ultimas, you know they contain very large virtual worlds, deep story lines and they took me each years to develop. But EA's core business is making sports games, and they've got a machine and a process that does that very, very successfully. Frankly, EA wasn't convinced that the MMOG business model was the way of the future and so that ultimately led to my retirement from EA. In fact, when I left in 2000, I fully anticipated that if EA wasn't interested in MMOGs, that Microsoft or some other big company would dive into this bold new world that we'd opened up and then dominate the market segment. After a year of retirement -- and with no one approaching us -- my brother Robert and I decided to put together a company to create MMOGs that we briefly called Destination Games. "

Re:EA ruins another developer. (2, Insightful)

syn1kk (1082305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21949424)

Example 3 - Origin Studios:
"In 1997, they released one of the earliest and most successful graphical MMORPGs, Ultima Online. After this title, Electronic Arts decided that Origin would become an online-only company after the completion of Ultima IX in 1999. However, within a year's time, EA canceled all of Origin's new development projects, including Ultima Online 2, Privateer Online, and Harry Potter Online. Richard Garriott left Origin shortly after and founded Destination Games in 2000."

Example 4 - Westwood studios:
"In August 1998, Westwood was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA) for $122.5 million in cash, and at the time Westwood had 5% to 6% of the PC game market.[1]. In response to what was perceived as an unwillingness to maintain the Westwood brand and independence from EA, many long-time employees quit over the next few years. ... One of the last games released by Westwood, Command & Conquer: Renegade ... failed to meet consumer expectations and commercial goals Westwood and EA had set for it. In March of 2003, Westwood Studios (along with EA Pacific) was liquidated by EA and all willing staff were assimilated into EA Los Angeles."

Sonic RPG (1)

Tailsfan (1200615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21952152)

What about that game. WHAT? I'm a Sonic fan.
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