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EA buys BioWare

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EA To Acquire BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios

Leaders in RPG, Action and Adventure Genres; Ten Franchises in Development - Six Wholly Owned

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp. -- the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment: action, adventure and role-playing games. The two studios have been recognized for creating some of the highest-quality games in the industry.

BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios have ten franchises under development, including six wholly owned games. BioWare Corp. is currently developing the highly anticipated Mass Effect, which will be published by Microsoft in November, and is in the early development stages of a massively multiplayer online game. Pandemic Studios is redefining open-world games with its upcoming Mercenaries 2: World in Flames™ and Saboteur™, in addition to several unannounced projects.

Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp. employ roughly 800 people across four studios located in Edmonton, Canada; Los Angeles; Austin; and Brisbane, Australia.

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

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

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

“We are truly excited by John Riccitiello’s new vision for EA,” 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.”

EA will pay up to $620 million in cash to the stockholders of VG Holding Corp. and will issue up to an additional $155 million in equity to certain employees of VG Holding Corp., which will be subject to time-based or performance-based vesting criteria. EA will also assume outstanding VG Holding Corp. stock options. In addition, EA has agreed to lend VG Holding Corp. up to $35 million through the closing of the acquisition.

Yet another company bought out to fuel the mass production gaming giant.

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Seriously, no worries.

The people that started the company get a load of cash, EA gets the "name." It's okay. Pretty soon the good developers from the company will leave because of EA, start another company (free from the mighty hand of EA) and release killer titles from there. BioWare will go under with EA manning it. Once the new EA-free company is profitable, EA will buy that company (again). Lather, rinse, repeat.

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My cousin Tracy is married to one of the writers there, Luke.

Just sayin'.

And I've been in their offices a few times, and the first time I went, they gave me free stuff, like a MDK2 shirt and game, and some comics, and other cool stuff. And I know where they eat, it's downstairs from their new office on the south side of Edmonton, and...

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This seriously sucks. I HATE how EA operates anyway, and now buying out BioWare and Pandemic means that both those studios will get eaten slowly.

Trust me when I say this...but in time fans will start to compare between the old and new BioWare.

Oh well, we can look forward to the independent spiritual sequel of BioWare. I'm 99% sure that a lot of people quit because of that buy-out.

Let's hope Ubisoft doesn't come next...

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I doubt it has to do with the costs for smaller companies other than that BioWare has long since become a development group for blockbusters and they are making the biggest projects now. They put themselves in that position and they consolidate. This is almost a non issue. More gamers demand the more ambitious games, companies consolidate to deal with it. Smaller companies are still out there and it is not BioWare.

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As part of the EA deal, I'll give you my two cents.

You know what bothers me MOST about the deal? That nobody fucking CARES that we're (Pandemic) are even involved in the deal. Nothing crushes morale when you're part of a $800+ million dollar deal (the biggest in industry history) and you are less than a footnote in the great shitstorm of internet reprisal.

Regardless, all of you going, oooh woe betide my beloved Mass Effect that isn't even out. What are you upset about? Seriously, what is terrorizing you so much? That EA will somehow befoul it? How? They bought the company(s) because they are doing well by themselves. EA is in it to make money, and this particular regime of EA rule knows that you leave well enough alone, especially when it's generating revenue. The only time they'll step in is when we, the game developer, fail to deliver.

In essence, we get more money, more backing, probably the biggest Marketing powerhouse in the industry and alot more press.

And for those of you horrified by sequelitis... seriously, why the fuck do you care?

Three years in the industry have no made me loathe everyone who ISN'T in the industry. It's a hell of a thing.

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