EA Decides Maybe Buying Every Gaming Studio On Earth Isn’t Path To Success After All


Video game company EA got left in the dust on the road to this year’s not-so-coveted golden poo. In previous years, though, Consumerist readers decided they were the worst company in America not just once, but twice. Since then, new leadership has vowed to turn the company around. And one step in that process seems to be pressing pause on an old, not-very-effective strategy of buying every other studio under the sun.

EA had a decidedly acquisitions-heavy strategy over the past years. Buying up fan-favorite studios, then folding those development teams into the EA corporate culture, didn’t win the publisher any points with players. But the time for that seems to be over, GamesIndustry reports.

The company’s CFO, Blake Jorgensen, spoke at a tech conference this week. He told the crowd that when it comes to buying businesses, “I think our history with acquisitions is somewhat marginal in performance.” He continued, “We have some that are spectacular, and some that didn’t do so well.”

The list of smaller studios that EA has acquired since the 1990s does indeed show a mixed track record of hits and misses. Some were completely integrated into the company. Others were shuttered, after their games were unpopular or mishandled. Some, like DICE, PopCap, and Maxis, still develop and manage successful franchises. The highest profile recent purchase, 2008 acquisition BioWare — developer of the mostly well-received Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises — seems to have been a wise bet.

But apparently if you spend 20 years buying up smaller studios, you end up with an awful lot of development potential in-house, and don’t need to go spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy even more ideas and employees. And that’s what EA has now decided.

Jorgensen told the crowd, “I’m also a huge believer–I think the team is a huge believer–that we’ve got great opportunities inside our organization. We’ve built a really strong bench of talent at all levels, and our view is just [to] find great ideas, either through our own development or through licensed IP,” which would include EA’s contract with Disney to make the next ten years’ worth of Star Wars games.

EA not looking for big acquisitions [GamesIndustry.biz]