Saturday, October 13, 2007

EA's BioWare & Pandemic Acquisition Details Emerge

Recently, EA made headline news for its USD 825M acquisition of Pandemic (Star Wars: Battlefront) and BioWare (Mass Effect / Baldur's Gate) studios, which put questions in the minds of gamers everywhere. Why the sudden purchase? What was the strategic motive?

Well, today, EA released some general, yet logical information regarding their decision. Simply put, "This acquisition fills up a gap in our genre line-up. We are currently underrepresented in key genres: RPG, action, and adventure." He substantiates this with the fact that 36/29 percent of the North American/European markets respectively are made up by these genres that these studios specialize in, and >25% is no small piece of market pie.

Pandemic and BioWare cumulatively have 6 wholly-owned projects in the works, and as if a cherry on the top of a $825M sundae, BioWare is also working on a yet-unannounced MMORPG.

Filling out your portfolio doesn't come without a cost, however. Investors and executives alike are relying on their revenue estimates to make this deal profitable, and while the breakeven point is set for 2009, dud games will cause quite a bit of strain on EA's value.

When asked by Gamasutra if they were worried about being utterly taken over, overshadowed, and tossed around in a corporate dryer of sorts, BioWare replied that EA was actually very in-line with their goals, and being attached to such a powerful entity might provide the necessary resources to see even bigger projects come to fruition.

There's no doubt this story's only going to get deeper, and soon we might see the finer details of EA's desire of Pandemic/BioWare ownership.

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