EA has a rather nasty habit of buying studios and running them into the ground. A fairly recent example of this would be Burnout developers Criterion, who quickly fizzled out after being put on Need for Speed duty. EA regularly buys talent instead of nurturing it from within – but that’s going to change.
EA has revealed that it will stop the acquisition of other studios and instead focus on building new ones from within the company. Chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen explains that the publisher only saw “marginal” gains from its acquisitions over the past decade, which included massive names such as PopCap and BioWare.
“I think our history with acquisitions is somewhat marginal in performance We have some that are spectacular, and some that didn’t do so well. It’s a headcount business, right? You’re buying headcount, and that’s always difficult to manage in acquisitions. It doesn’t mean we won’t do them, but I think where e’ve been most successful is in smaller acquisitions that we’ve integrated very quickly.”
It’s easy to look over at BioWare and wonder what Jorgensen is actually on about, but EA has it’s reputation for a reason. They’ve acquired a major studio nearly annually for the past 20 years, leaving little space for growth within the company itself. That’s where this shift is coming into play.
“We’ve got great opportunities inside our organization. We’ve built a really strong bench of talent at all levels, and our view is to find great ideas, either through our own development or through licensed IP, and leverage your talent base to try to build that.”
It’s sounds like a much better strategy from EA, and one I am eager to watch play out. A stronger focus on internal growth and development pairs nicely with stringent existing IP, letting the people who know the most about a game actually work on it.
Last Updated: December 4, 2014