EA admits its acquisition history has been “spotty at best”

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spotty

EA has a bit of a tarnished history when it comes to acquisitions. It’s bought up some of your favourite game developers, and then unceremoniously shut them down when it felt they were underperforming.

Their acquisitions have seen the demise of once great studios like Westwood (Command and Conquer), Origin (Wing Commander, Ultima), Bullfrog (Syndicate, Dungeon Keeper), Pandemic (Mercenaries, The Saboteur, Star Wars Battlefront), Black Box Games (Skate), Maxis Emeryville (SimCity) and more. It’s a rather sad track record, with just DICE and Bioware seeming to stand strong in the AAA space.

EA’s CFO Blake Jorgensen has admitted the company’s history of acquisitions has been “spotty at best,” and that the company will be more thoughtful going forward.

“[We’re also] always looking at potential acquisitions. Our history obviously with acquisitions has been spotty at best, so I would say there is an extra level of caution around that,” he said. “We also believe we have the ability to do it ourselves in many cases, or hire people to do it. So we’re careful about acquisitions. But we’re going to continue to look for those opportunities and having a strong base globally allows us to be able to do that.”

As far as that global expansion goes, EA – like many others – is looking to China.

“Clearly, geographic expansion is very important for us and we’ll look for ways to do that as efficiently as possible,” he said. “In markets where it’s really hard to operate as a standalone business, like China, having a partner like Tencent is very powerful there because you can leverage their reach and their client base. But in markets where we can go it alone, we’ll certainly try to go it alone.”

Last Updated: November 18, 2015

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Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Nikola

    Well not to defend EA in anyway but those other studio’s made terrible to mediocre games, Dice and Bioware are the decent ones that’s why they stayed.

    • Sorry, did you just call Skate, Wing Commander and Command and Conquer bad games?

      IN TO THE SEA WITH YOU!

      • Nikola

        They just awful games hey;) But probably THE worst game of all time is Street Fighter ;P

        • Aaaaaaaaand banned.

          • Nikola

            hahaha!!

        • Sageville

          !!!*TRIGGER WARNING*!!!

      • Jonah Cash

        Don’t forget Mercenaries! That game was so cool at the time. Never played the second one though.

    • Hammersteyn

      Who is this? Why have you hacked Nikola’s account?

      • 40 Insane Frogs

        Toss him into the FIRE!!! 😮

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          No… give him to EA!

          • Nikola

            NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

      • Nikola

        Hahaha XD!

    • Captain JJ the Goo

      No.
      C&C
      Wing Commander
      Mercenaries
      Dungeon Keeper
      All great games

      • Nikola

        C&C yes awesome game the rest I REALLY did not like one bit! Wing Commander I never played, Mercenaries was absolute rubbish one of the worst game I ever played and Dungeon Keeper was meh in my opinion at least!

        • Captain JJ the Goo

          You’ll say something different once you’ve been locked in my glorious dungeon! 😉

          • Nikola

            Well that’s just creepy you have a Dungeon!!! I am slightly afraid now….

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            That’s just what he calls his My Little Pony jumping castle to sound badass.

          • Nikola

            Ahhh that makes a LOT more sense:)

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            It is badass! We don’t even bounce cheerfully!

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            Decorated by Alien Emperor Trevor. He really knows his stuff when it comes to dungeon decorating.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I regret saying what I did now.

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            😀

          • Nikola

            LOL!

    • oVg

      😛

      • Nikola

        hahaha thanks:) Hey not my fault you guys are all 100 years old and have nostalgia for old games;)

        • miaau

          Eye of the Beholder. That is all.

          Eye of the Beholder – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_the_Beholder_(video_game)

        • oVg

          😛

        • Captain JJ the Goo

          This is true.

          • miaau

            What is true?

            That it is not his fault OR that we are all 100 years old and have nostalgia blind-ness-nes?

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            That we’re all 100 years old and have awesome nostalgia 😀

          • miaau

            I certainly feel 100 year old.

            Sigh. Kid turns 2 this weekend, so that makes me 100. Why party? WHY?

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            I don’t have a kid yet, but the other day when I told a younger woman at work that I’ve been with my wife 10 years nearly she asked if we were high school sweethearts, and I had to tell her, no we actually met after we’d already left University.

          • miaau

            Yip, I like the taking of the time, knowing your spouse and all that.

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            Agreed. Sure, after eight years you want to punch every person who asks you why you’re not married in the face, but you know what, there was no rush. And honestly if feels no different now than it did before we were married.

          • Ir0nseraph

            Well now the question, when will you have kids, I am stuck at that one now after the marriage part was handled.

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            They can keep asking. Sure, we’re not young but we have a lot going on now. If we have a kid, then we do. If we don’t, then we don’t. It’s just not a priority right now.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Amateur. We were not even married 2 months before a soldier found the target

          • Hammersteyn

            So she was seven months pregnant at birth?

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            XD

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            My soldiers’ guns are set to stun.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            I would have said your wife’s shields are up, but ok

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            ” ‘n goeie begrip het ‘n halwe woord nodig “

          • Hammersteyn

            So you tell her “Kom hier” and she knows?

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            [withdraws all further comments as the line is sensed]

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            I say nothing. I use my mysterious brows to beckon her closer 😉

          • Hammersteyn

            So you’re like a peacock?
            *Pea and cock in no way is a reference to anything about you 😛

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            His cock is the size of a pea?

            [ceases the border-LINE comments yet again]

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            Thanks for clearing that up 😉

          • miaau

            Yeeeees

          • miaau

            you mean sort of like using words a contraceptive? Those pants make you look fat, I may have run over your dog, then the new tree we planted, I am not here to wash dishes and cook food woman!

            You have pimples? Never see them (why that annoys my wife I do not know, I genuinely do not see them and think she is super pretty)

          • WOW

          • miaau

            That will work too as a contraceptive.

          • ahahaha

          • Hammersteyn

            My milkshake brings all the girls to the yard

          • miaau

            when you and the missus are ready, not before. It is nobodies business but yours!

          • miaau

            I got married after 7 years, but the wife to be forced the issue, to be honest.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Shotgun?

          • miaau

            Not like that, but Marry or I need to look for other options. Not sure how serious she was

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Psychological shotgun then

          • Ir0nseraph

            Yeah I made it to 7 too.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            My favourite response is “why would I want to do that?” with a tone & facial expression indicating they’ve just said something really stupid. The same person never asks again.

          • How can you say that ME was only good based on nostalgia? C&C also!

          • Nikola

            ME and C&C are boss games!!!

          • Silence, you are just trying to act non-bully like!

          • miaau

            Who said that!!!?

            ME is being replayed by ME right now on the Xbox One, thanks!

          • You may carry on then! 😉

        • Hammersteyn

          *good games

          • Nikola

            Shhh old man!!! 😉

          • miaau

            Ah, but do you think the old man understands your modern lingo of 😉

            yeah, I wonder, these youn’uns today. No taste.

            I am nearing 40, but I do not FEEL old.

            Are we really that old? Also, if you ever played desktop role playing games like AD&D and then played some of Westwoods games, like Eye of the Beholder, that was an experience I will remember till the end of days. Our imagination also made the game far more than it was, as we were used to playing with pen, paper and our imaginations.

          • Nikola

            Nah nothing wrong with reminiscing on old great games I do it all the time hey I replayed the Warcraft games couple of time.

            I never played those desktop role playing games unfortunately waaay before my time hahah I am 26 sooo missed out on those:)

          • miaau

            No real problems, we all tease each other, cause the game we like is the best and your MUST be inferior.

            And Desktop Role Playing games are still alive and well, I know of some people that manage to find time to play. New rules, new books, stuff like that.

          • Nikola

            I really want to get into some cool board games every time I am at AWX (don’t know if you know the place) they have these really cool rpg board games I would love to try!

          • miaau

            My wife and play Settlers of Catan every now and again.

            Not RPG, but I do not like the new sets, they give figures and boards and maps and stuff. We used WRITE stories to play. I was Dungeon Master and would spend days writing stories for my friends, with plots and sub plots and monsters and stuff. I would draw maps in books of block paper where needed and we played. We had glorious fun.

          • Nikola

            Sounds like a LOT of fun, don’t think I would be able to write stories though not the most creative dude out there I am more into fu**ng shit up!

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            This is true, I mean just look at your spelling/grammar

          • Nikola

            Hahahah wow…It never stops:)

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            …being funny? No, it does not

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Just so you know, you might be getting hair in certain places soon, this is normal. No cause for alarm.

          • Nikola

            Hahahah XD!

          • miaau

            he means your nostrils…..

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Shhh. Let him bask in it first

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            Nikola, they’re not lying.
            They literally and figuratively creep up on you.

          • Nikola

            Hahahaha!!!

          • Hammersteyn

            Also your balls will drop
            *runs

          • Nikola

            Another notch on the tally!

          • Hammersteyn
          • Nikola

            Where the heck do you find and always have a GIF or a image ready to post! Like do you keep them in a specific zing folder or something!

          • He keeps them in his stupid folder, just for you! *RUNS

          • Nikola

            I am just keeping like a tally of insults for all you guys come Rage next year hey so we can sort it out;) Hammer and Sage are in the lead for now and Gavin is catching up fast hahah!

          • oVg
          • Nikola

            See the guy running past with his hands up that’s sooo Rince;) I can just picture it hahah!

          • oVg

            Shots fired 🙂 He does have a Star Trek uniform.

            RUNS

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Was just about to say that

          • Of COURSE you were 😛

          • Nikola

            Hahaha so at least we see him in the same light!

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Actually, I don’t see him running from a fight, more like hiding under the table

          • Bring it!

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Bring the drama hands (or jazz hands?)

          • Jaz, I mean battle!

          • Hammersteyn

            Easy Frodo

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja
          • that looks like the average gathering at Gavin’s place tehehehe

          • Nikola

            LOL!! Sounds about right I could picture that happening:)

          • oVg

            Yup, Geoff runs like a girl 😛

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            He heard they were delivering Debonair’s pizza, so he gtfo

          • oVg

            Probably because he had no money 😛

          • Hammersteyn

            BWHAHAHAHA the one dudes like nope nope nope nope nope

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            I can never get over how short those shirts were

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            I don’t believe this gif, the redshirt is still alive

          • Hammersteyn

            They guy on the left looks like he’s giving himself a cat bath O_O

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            CANNOT UNSEE

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            He’s more flexible than I am, that’s for sure.

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Indeed, he could dodge the falling weight

          • haha

          • Sageville

            Just admit you are wrong, apologize to everyone, feel sad at how bad you failed and worship me like a god.

            Is that really too much to ask?

          • Nikola

            Hahhaah hey hey who invited you to the party now!!! I shall never admit I was wrong even though I probably was XD!

          • Sageville

            Typical Albanian stance….

          • Nikola

            WOW!!! Even though I support all races, cultures and nationalities buuut F***CK Albanians ok don’t call me no Albanian;) XD!

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            [makes notes for future trolling]

          • Nikola

            Dammit!

          • Hammersteyn

            I no where everything is on the net MUHAHAHAHAHA

          • Hammersteyn

            *Except the grammar section

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            So it seems

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Oh snap

          • oVg

            Touche?!

      • YES! THIS! ^

    • Spy Master Tokashi

      Nikola, look at Bioware for example.

      They released Dragon Age: Origin, new IP and new lore. Awesome story … and look what happened to DA 2 …

      Mass Effect 1 was brilliant and Mass Effect 2 was also awesome… then Mass Effect 3 came … still a good game but you can see EA had a say in it.

      For both of those games, Bioware has lost great story writers.

      Bioware is a great company and has made great games but Bioware lost great people because of EA.

      and by the way, you cannot just leave once you have been taken by EA(or any other big company) via an acquisition. EA either close down your company or you have to buy yourself out again… and the later is not very easy.

      So I really do not agree with your statement, DICE also suffered hard because of EA.

      • Nikola

        DA 2 was rubbish new DA: I was awesome! I found Mass Effect 1 to be the worst of the 3 actually:) But all 3 are great games irregardless!

        EA is a horrible company as I stated I do NOT endorse or defend them just my personal opinion on all those other games I really did not like them! So I understand what you saying and I do agree they not my favorite publisher not even close!

        • Spy Master Tokashi

          Are you talking about game play or story?

          You cannot compare Mass Effect 1 with 2 or 3 on the game play level. It is totally different gaming engines!

          Story wise … Mass Effect 1 had the best story

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            I dunno hey, ME2 had a better impact for me, while ME3 broke my heart.

            Each game had their own amazing impact for me.

            ME1: Getting much wow for the lore, weapons, story etc
            ME2: Falling in love with the characters and the shock of the beginning of the game (DAT O_O MOMENT)
            ME3: Dem feeeels (both happy and very sad and also angry)

          • Spy Master Tokashi

            Mass Effect pulled me in to the scifi universe. I never bothered that much, I was more of a history/fantasy story guy.

            Mass Effect is for me the game that changed me…all 3 was awesome, I just feel ME3 lacked a bit more soul but it was still epic!

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            It had to end, in all honesty, and boy, did it end!

          • Nikola

            I don’t know for me ME 2 had the best story and characters hey! Not saying ME was not good again but for me it does not compare to the second one!

    • You shut your face!

    • EA Black Box made NFSU2. A year later, they made Most Wanted (2005). A year after that, they made Carbon, under severe pressure to create a yearly franchise and to match up with Most Wanted’s record of 16 million copies sold. During Carbon’s development, EA decided to split the team into a second one to make NFS games on a staggered release, and that new team went on to make ProStreet.

      After that, they shrunk the studio, relocated to Burnaby, Canada, made them work on two franchises at once (NFS and Skate), fired people, fired more people after the release of Undercover, changed their name before the release of NFS: World, downsized the studio again after The Run, handed the NFS brand to Ghost Games, and then closed the studio in 2013.

      EA honestly killed them.

      • Nikola

        I was not aware for that!!! Motherfu***ers I LOVED Most Wanted and NFSU2 ok I will go back on everything I said!!!

  • 40 Insane Frogs

    EA is the closest thing we have to a vampire. It lures in unsuspecting maidens (smaller developers) and then when they least expect it, it sucks them dry and then toss their dessicated corpses onto a funeral pyre.

  • Hammersteyn

    “spotty at best” and I guess the Hindenberg encountered a little turbulence.

  • iusedtobe(a)regular

    Ghost Games are next.

  • Hammersteyn

    Mercenaries! Played the first one where you are dropped in North Korea and you had a deck of 52 cards each of them representing a target. Friggin classic game. THANKS EA! Burn in hell!

    • Jonah Cash

      Did you play the second one? I never picked it up. The first one was so cool though. Played it a lot!

      • Hammersteyn

        Wasn’t bad just not as good as the first

  • Captain JJ the Goo

    Their acquisition history? That’s not the problem.
    It’s what they do with the companies and the products after acquiring them. That’s like saying “I don’t employ the best people” but they didn’t perform because you never paid them a salary.

  • Hammersteyn
    • miaau

      pity it is too old and cannot be replayed now, by me anyway. Wow.

      • Hammersteyn

        Yeah.

        • miaau

          I hope somebody makes a remake, but I am concerned it becomes like Xcom, where the ground missions all got a bit samey for me.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            There was a successor Kickstarted.

            http://store.steampowered.com/app/268870/

          • Hammersteyn

            There’s a game on Steam that’s supposed to be the spiritual successor. Forgot it’s name though

  • Hammersteyn
    • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

      That Wookiee looks weird

      • Han Solo is not looking to hot as well.

  • Header:

    Chickenpox? More like liver cancer.

  • Hammersteyn
    • Captain JJ the Goo

      At least we got that awful mobile game. How lucky are we?

      • Hammersteyn

        As lucky as those tribe of native americans that got those special blankets for the winter

        • Captain JJ the Goo

          As lucky as we are for having such a great and intelligent government.

      • At the time I thought people were being over-critical of the mobile game.

        Then I tried it.

        Worst. game. ever.

        • Captain JJ the Goo

          If there ever was any question whether EA is a money grabbing company, just show them that game.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Getting bought out by EA is like going to a dinner party thrown by Hannibal Lecter. At first it’s lovely – great food, stimulating conversation. But eventually you will become one of the ingredients, because they’re only interested in making their games their way. Just look at the 3 courses of Dead Space.

    • Captain JJ the Goo

      I’m in denial that Dead Space 3 exists. Even though it’s sitting on my Origin library (which I got for free btw)

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Mine too.

      • Viking Of Science

        They made a Third Dead Space ?!?!

        • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

          *turd

        • Hammersteyn

          They made a lie

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            The?

          • Hammersteyn

            *fixed – Where is that grammar section dammit

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            At Isengard with Rince

          • Hammersteyn

            Treebeard to the rescue!

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Redwood?

          • Captain JJ the Goo

            The certainty did

    • Don’t forget that after your Dead Space courses, you’ll be forced to wash the Battlefield: Hardline dishes.

  • miaau

    The Westwood logo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westwood_Studios) at the start of a game always created a giddy excited feeling in me.

    I think, however, Westwood style games simply went of fashion and they failed to adapt OR were forced by their human overlords to stick to the tried and true and then berated when they failed.

    Corporate: tell you to implement a new policy, you point out the problem(s), they say do ahead, then six months down berate you cause your profits are down.

  • Spy Master Tokashi

    I have never seen that EA’s acquisitions caused any harm to the gaming companies, it is what they do with them after they have developed great games.

    Bioware – Dragon Age: Origin, Mass Effect, KOTOR etc.
    Brilliant story writers left Bioware because of their bullshit, like Drew Karpyshyn. He is back now but damn, the story quality has dropped in Mass Effect 3 and he was not part of it … so yeah it pretty much showed you what one person can do to a company once he leaves.

    Maxis – Sim City

    Bullfrog – Dungeon Keeper

    Westwood – Red Alert

    All these companies created great games but after EA see that it is a great money making scheme they forced them to bring out more even if the quality was shit and for that I will hate EA forever and to me, the worst company ever, well maybe second worst, you cannot find a worse company than Apple 😉

    Ubisoft is right next to EA!

  • HvR

    That is like Ted Bundy calling his dating history a bit dodgy

  • Nikola

    Just to clarify something as people might get me wrong I DO NOT in anyway support EA or thing they good for gaming with their MT and load of rubbish they are almost as bad as MS.

    Thank you:)))

    • Sean Carbutt

      And there I was thinking that I am the only one. My mates give me shit about me hating EA. I boycott their games, well exception being Battlefield. I wait with baited breath about just how awesome and super awesome Star Wars Battlefront will be. LOL.

      • Nikola

        Hahah true you get so much slack for playing their games I even feel guilty doing so hahah! But I am playing the new NFS and honestly loving the game, DA:I was such a brilliant game as well so they still make some decent games but in general they are cunts!

  • BakedBagel

    “Spotty at best”

    HAHAHAHA NAH m8 A WHOLE FUCKING SPLASH AT BEST.

  • fleshtwister

    I truly hate EA for what they have done to the Dungeon Keeper series..

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