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EA snaps up BioWare and Pandemic Studios

Video game maker Electronic Arts today announced it has reached a financial agreement with Elevation Partners to purchase VG Holding Corp., the firm that owns Pandemic Studios and BioWare Corp.  The $860 million USD deal should help solidify EA's action and role-playing game catalog with 10 new games that are featured for three different platforms.

The game producer hopes the purchase will help the company raise its revenue potential over the next three years, with estimates of more than $300 million USD per year in 2009 and 2010.

EA CEO John Riccitiello returned to EA after serving a stint as chief executive and chairman of the board for VG Holdings, though he did not participate in the negotiations, according to an EA spokesperson.

"This deal brings incredible talent to EA," said Frank Gibeau, EA Games president.  "It puts us in categories where EA historically has not had a strong competitive position."

Financial analysts expect the deal is supposed to close in January 2008.  EA created more than $3.1 billion USD in revenue during the last fiscal year.

Pandemic and BioWare combined currently employ more than 800 employees in the United States, Canada and Australia.

BioWare is best known for creating the Neverwinter Nights video game series, though its science fiction game Mass Effect is expected to be a holiday hit for the Microsoft Xbox 360.  Pandemic created Destroy All Humans and is currently working on Mercenaries 2.

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EA, please die
By Kromis on 10/12/2007 12:25:56 AM , Rating: 5
Don't defile my BioWare, please. I know it's cool for now but don't touch them!

RE: EA, please die
By Phillycat on 10/12/2007 12:56:05 AM , Rating: 5
You can always look forward to Jade Empire 2, 3, 4. But only after mass effect 1, 2, and 3 and KOTOR 3 are done. Hopefully there are at least 3 original members still at the studio at the time.

RE: EA, please die
By Mazzer on 10/12/2007 1:17:41 AM , Rating: 2
It seems like it's a little early to tell what is going to happen but I would hope EA gains no control over Bioware or its IP and is strictly nothing more then a money vacuum for these companies.

RE: EA, please die
By Kromis on 10/12/2007 1:21:51 AM , Rating: 2
You're right about that. Let's just hope this "new" EA really changes their ways.

RE: EA, please die
By Kromis on 10/12/2007 1:23:23 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, by the way, EA now owns the Mass Effect IP. :|

RE: EA, please die
By peritusONE on 10/12/2007 7:55:07 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, by the way, EA now owns the Mass Effect IP.

No, they don't. Microsoft is publishing Mass Effect, and therefore has the rights to the name. It promises to be such an original game, though, that I doubt anyone but Bioware could do a sequel any justice.

RE: EA, please die
By Polynikes on 10/12/2007 8:09:06 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad the PC gamers got the cold shoulder on that one. Microsoft is good about making that happen. Maybe we'll get lucky and we'll get a port a year and a half later.

RE: EA, please die
By Bluestealth on 10/12/2007 2:36:10 PM , Rating: 4
Yes Microsoft...
It seems that part of their company likes PC gamers... Starting the Games for Windows initiative to try and make games better... while another part asks every game publisher to NOT make a port for the PC. They also have started pushing DX10 only games, and games only for Vista that are DX9... its like they can't make up their minds.

Its probably all caused by infighting between Microsoft's gaming division, OS division, and console division... but it really sucks for PC gamers.

IMHO the PC does not really compete with console gamers, at all. They are just merely hoping that one of their must have games will entice a PC gamer to buy an XBox360; which isn't likely to happen if they don't already own one. In the end they are just getting less Vista sales from gamers, less DX10 hardware sales for their OEMs, and less sales for their gaming division. It seems silly to put all the work into making both platforms easier to develop for, and then telling people not to do it.

Ok, that's enough ranting for today :)

RE: EA, please die
By euclidean on 10/12/2007 4:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
Tell me about it...they just seem to want their money so they seem to release the ok games soley on the xbox...makes me a sad panda :(

RE: EA, please die
By deeznuts on 10/12/2007 3:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
No, they don't. Microsoft is publishing Mass Effect, and therefore has the rights to the name.
This is not true. Publishing is not the same as owning an IP. Bioware has already stated this in their conference call. They own the Mass Effect IP.

MS does however have an exclusive publishing deal with Mass Effect 1. It is a 360 exclusive. Future ME games however are up for grabs as of now.

RE: EA, please die
By scrapsma54 on 10/12/2007 8:43:00 AM , Rating: 2
I only disprove of EA becaue of its recent introduction of that shitty spyware into battlefielf 2142.

RE: EA, please die
By leidegre on 10/12/2007 1:47:56 AM , Rating: 4
Well, it's not all bad. EA has great QA as well as a good process for getting games out there. This wasn't always the case, but lately the games they've shipped have been somewhat fun, and rather well developed.

I just hope they tune down the business minded stuff a bit. They sure seem to care about money, more than the games themselves and that's not going to give us great games. They only product EA has which remotely interests me is SPORE (Thank you Will Wright). I will however, admit that I enjoyed C&C3 but it sure didn’t last very long.

The greatest games still come from new or smaller studios with great ideas and passion…

RE: EA, please die
By Sunner on 10/12/2007 4:09:09 AM , Rating: 5
EA has great QA

Eh? EA has a QA team now?

RE: EA, please die
By CyborgTMT on 10/12/2007 6:36:21 AM , Rating: 4
Yep... He's 42, lives with his mom, and hasn't come out of the basement in 2 years. BTW, he only plays the Sims so every other game is just sent back as being perfect.

RE: EA, please die
By bighairycamel on 10/12/2007 7:18:43 AM , Rating: 5
I agree with some of that stuff, but I'm tired off all the advertising. EA, as everyone knows, are the whores of the video game industry. I remember the days when Need for Speed was about racing, and not about answering your AT&T/Cingular cell phone to receive corny text messages.

RE: EA, please die
By JarvisTheGray on 10/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: EA, please die
By OblivionMage on 10/12/2007 3:56:34 PM , Rating: 4
They are the stereotypical Microsoft of gaming. Except, this goes much beyond a stereotype. (Not meaning to get into and pro/anti Microsoft here)

RE: EA, please die
By OblivionMage on 10/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: EA, please die
By AlexWade on 10/12/2007 8:44:03 AM , Rating: 2
The new slogan is:
"EA Games, you don't have a choice"

The ONLY EA game I will considering buying is the next Sim City. Other than that, I've decided to boycott EA games. I will not buy Madden NFL whatever. I used to play NFL 2K series, and it was by miles better than Madden. So, EA games did what they did best and crushed the competition instead of improving. EA games bought the exclusive rights to NFL player names. I decided that day to stay away from EA games.

RE: EA, please die
By Screwballl on 10/12/2007 9:54:14 AM , Rating: 3
same here, I refuse to buy any EA game now... as a long time fan of the SimCity series, I will refuse to buy this one. Instead can I suggest you look into another new game called "Cities Unlimited" from a non-EA company.

RE: EA, please die
By walk2k on 10/12/2007 3:12:39 PM , Rating: 4
Resistance is futile.
All developers will be assimilated.

RE: EA, please die
By Gnoad on 10/13/2007 7:13:56 AM , Rating: 4
It is so hilarious that every single comment is anti EA. On any other issue, everyone here is always offering different opinions, but only on the issue of EA is the entire tech world in total agreement:

EA just fucking sucks.

RE: EA, please die
By psyph3r on 10/13/2007 12:21:35 PM , Rating: 2
They are like Belicovision on the code monkeys show

"MoOoRE CODE!!" *whips cracking*
bum bum...bum bum...

a sign of the apocalypse....
By Gul Westfale on 10/12/2007 1:54:08 AM , Rating: 3
there was a time when patching a game was a shameful thing to do. magazines made fun of publishers when they shipped games in an unfinished state. but now, thanks in large part to EA, patching is something "normal". you buy a game, try to play it, and then, some six months into the future, EA patches it into a payable state- but then nobody plays it online anymore and everyone moves onto something else... yes, maybe i'm bitter about CnC3. or maybe i'm bitter about the battlefield2 ssituation, where, even after they had acknowledged that a server disconnect problem existed, it took them months to actually fix it. or maybe it was their brown-nosing of sony when they announced that they would never make games for the dreamcast... and yet they were publishing games ofr the DC in faraway japan, making money off th ething while telling us over here that it sucked and we should playstations instead. or maybe i'm just pissed at what they did with origin systems (ultima ascension, anyone?), or westwood. god damn me and burn me in hell if i ever buy another game from EA.

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By gramboh on 10/12/2007 3:04:09 AM , Rating: 1
I don't buy any EA products. Trust me, it will seem painful at first missing out on a few games, but not having to deal with awful crap like BF and CnC3 patch situations is worth it, there is lots of other good content out there.

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By kilkennycat on 10/12/2007 4:01:49 AM , Rating: 2
Another who is not going to buy Crysis.........

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By Master Kenobi on 10/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By Blight AC on 10/12/2007 9:30:25 AM , Rating: 5
Yeah, I was pretty interested in Battlefield 2142.. I'm a sucker for future combat, especially when it involves mechs. However, EA just won't officially support widescreen.. because "it gives gamers an unfair advantage"... LOL! EA, you mean, like my 5 button mouse gives me an advantage (I can assign the extra buttons to specific weapons for extremely quick weapon swaps on the fly), or my G15 keyboard, or my Crossfire video cards that ensure my framerate stays above 45 FPS even when the action onscreen is intense? It's just retarded to put in those kinds of limitations and I refuse to buy it.

Either way, EA seems synonymous with the death of innovation.. it's quite unfortunate for a company like BioWare. I'd like to hope it would remain unscathed, but look at what happened to Westwood.

By OblivionMage on 10/12/2007 6:41:25 PM , Rating: 2
Wow...did they actually say widescreen gives gamers an unfair advantage? That is bullshit

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By cochy on 10/12/2007 11:48:55 AM , Rating: 2
As an avid player of NWN, I can tell you that you better look else where and stay far away from Obsidian. My great grand mother can program better than those guys. Besides a few minor graphical improvements, NWN2 is a step backwards.

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By Master Kenobi on 10/12/2007 12:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
I've been mostly pleased with NWN2. Aside from the occasional bug my experience has been good. The story is decent. Playing NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer right now and so far, I'm happy with it.

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By cochy on 10/12/2007 12:16:38 PM , Rating: 2
Guess it doesn't take much to impress you ;)

People are complaining on this thread how EA releases unfinished games and then patches them. Well I bought NWN2 hot off the presses and "unfinished" doesn't even begin to explain it. I felt more like a beta-tester. I'm sure a lot of issues were addresses in following patches, however I shelved the game and have yet to give it another chance. Took 2 hours to install anyway so I wasn't in a rush to reinstall.

When MoTB was released people needed a day zero hot-fix patch to even be able to play the expansion? That's just silliness. Obsidian are a bunch of under-grad comp-sci students.

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By mars777 on 10/12/2007 1:25:55 PM , Rating: 2
Obsidian are a bunch of under-grad comp-sci students.

These kind of guys innovate.

Not a 35 year unsatisfied programmer working underpaid overtime.

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By cochy on 10/12/2007 2:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
True. I should have added non-innovative then :P

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By Inkjammer on 10/12/2007 9:30:10 AM , Rating: 3
Origin (and in turn, Looking Glass), Westwood Studios, Bullfrog, half of DICE, Maxis...

Everytime EA buys out a company they give them seemingly one chance to put out an A-list best seller, and if they don't produce, they get dumped. Those that do get hooked onto life support reproduce endless sequels of the same damn thing. God forbid their purchased companies create ANYTHING original.

Origin got shafted hardest of all, right behind Westwood Studios.

By Master Kenobi on 10/12/2007 10:47:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yea, I've been angry at EA since they destroyed Westwood. Although there was a slight dim light when I heard most of the Westwood guys are now at Petroglyph.

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By 3kliksphilip on 10/12/2007 11:27:16 AM , Rating: 2
They're also selling the Half Life 2: Orange Box. I think. In fact, they're in most of the games I own, as well as that stupid EA GAMES advert you can't skip every time you load up a game. (You can skip the others, but NOT the EA one.)

By Master Kenobi on 10/12/2007 12:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
They are only using EA's distribution network for the physical media. I bought through Steam, but if you look at "The Orange Box" on a retail shelf, EA's logo is nowhere to be found. I also have not seen their logo on the copy I bought through Steam either.

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By ezacharyk on 10/12/2007 4:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
EA is porting Orange Box to the PS3. Valve took care of the Steam and 360 versions. Valve handed the PS3 version over to EA because they didn't want to deal with the headache called PS3 development.

RE: a sign of the apocalypse....
By Axbattler on 10/14/2007 6:08:37 AM , Rating: 2

Firingsquad provide a less apocalyptic view of the buy-out.

Damn it
By FITCamaro on 10/12/2007 6:50:32 AM , Rating: 2
I was hoping BioWare would eventually get a Star Wars MMO out. Guess not now.

I guess we can only hope that EA will just attach their name to BioWare's games and let them handle their own development. Yeah I know its unlikely. :(

RE: Damn it
By Master Kenobi on 10/12/2007 7:38:58 AM , Rating: 2
Sonofa bitch. First they buy Westwood and screw over my Earth & Beyond, followed shortly by Command & Conquer. Now they buy Bioware and hose up my Neverwinter Nights, Jade Empire, KOTOR, and probably Mass Effect when it gets ported to the PC. EA needs to die already, they have destroyed too many good development houses.

RE: Damn it
By Screwballl on 10/12/2007 9:44:15 AM , Rating: 2
thank you thank you thank you
It is about time someone with a brain and a voice in the tech community speaks up and agrees with me. EA had bought and ruined soo many game companies that I refuse to buy from them anymore. I have been a fan of SimCity since the original under Maxis and Will Wright. They butchered SimCity4 and lied about "immersing online gameplay". Now they are feeding off the series name and releasing the SimCity Societies which will be a combination of The Sims and SimCity. Sorry but I will not be buying that one until it hits the $9.99 bargain bin. The one I am really looking forward to is Cities Unlimited which is an independent company.
Anyways thank you for the realism check Master Kenobi, lets hope people start to realize how EA has become the Microsoft of gaming and start to find alternative companies to buy from.

"EA - you have no other choice"

RE: Damn it
By Master Kenobi on 10/12/2007 11:41:14 AM , Rating: 3
I'm still clinging to Obsidian (Not as good as Bioware, but they are still decent), Blizzard, and Valve. EA could never hope to purchase Blizzard, Blizzard isn't stupid.

R.I.P. - Westwood 2003
-Earth & Beyond
--Red Alert
--Tiberian Sun
--Red Alert 2
-Dune 2000
-Emperor: Battle for Dune

R.I.P. - Bullfrog 2004
-Not familiar with them really.

R.I.P. - Origin 2004
-System Shock
-Wing Commander
-Ultima Online

R.I.P. - DICE 2006
-Battlefield 1942 and xpacks

R.I.P. - Bioware 2008
-Baulders Gate
-Neverwinter Nights (and 2 xpacks)
-Knights of the Old Republic
-Jade Empire
-Mass Effect

Starting to see a pattern here folks?

RE: Damn it
By Spivonious on 10/12/2007 1:19:56 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't Bullfrog make that Dungeon Keeper game?

RE: Damn it
By NicePants42 on 10/12/2007 2:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, and Dungeon Keeper 2 as well, which the reason I still have a copy of Windows '98 lying around. Dungeon Keeper 2 is an awesome game.

RE: Damn it
By walk2k on 10/12/2007 3:16:33 PM , Rating: 2
Uh and a little game called Populous too.

You can add Maxis to that list also.

Though they keep the brand name around since it's still the best selling PC game in history, it is nothing more than that.

RE: Damn it
By kinnoch on 10/12/2007 7:05:26 PM , Rating: 2
Also the Syndicate series.

By ali123 on 10/12/2007 1:29:13 AM , Rating: 3
First Ati Now Bioware!!! OMG we are virtually owned by americans lol....

By novacthall on 10/12/2007 5:46:22 AM , Rating: 5
Hey, don't be so hard on yourself. You guys are Americans, too.


By Future145 on 10/12/2007 1:21:24 AM , Rating: 2
The EA monster swallows another company. whos next?

By OblivionMage on 10/12/2007 3:58:23 PM , Rating: 2

By sbanjac on 10/15/2007 10:05:23 AM , Rating: 2
Lol man, Vivendi can swallow EA for breakfast... The Firm is not about gaming only ;-) visit wiki for more info...

By Wightout on 10/12/2007 2:32:49 PM , Rating: 2
With any luck (and EA's commitment to the Mac platform) some of the games from these companies may be ported over for us apple geeks. =D

PS3 and Bootcamp will have to do for now /sigh...

By mcnabney on 10/12/2007 11:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
Mac users play games on their computers? I thought they just used them for email, WWW, and keeping track of recipes. Oh, and being cool. That's important.

By psyph3r on 10/13/2007 12:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
don't forget about super breakout...and photoshop.

EA needs to stop growing
By RosscoB on 10/12/2007 9:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
I just don't understand what is going on in the gaming world anymore. I just purchased The Orange Box and was upset that they dont offer a rebate or discount regarding previous owners of half life2 and half life2 ep1 but then I looked at the box and realized its now "EA". Not a bad game but sometimes I wonder when there will not be a gaming industry because its all owned by EA.

RE: EA needs to stop growing
By gramboh on 10/12/2007 3:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
Valve would've saved themselves so much hassle by just NOT including HL2/Episode 1 in the Orange Box bundle. So many people whine and moan about it, when $45 (if you pre-ordered on Steam) for Eps2/Portal (5+3=8 hours singleplayer) and TF2 (10000000^2 hours multiplayer) is a great value. Oh well.

By logaldinho on 10/12/2007 2:42:13 AM , Rating: 3
i have a feeling that next week we will hear that the staff of 800 sees a 60% workforce cut while doubling overall hours of remaining employees to compensate for the lost efficiency.

time for EA to fix yet another glitch at an already amazing company they purchased RIP bioware we barely knew thee :(

Score for Wii
By neothe0ne on 10/12/2007 12:22:17 AM , Rating: 2
I see nothing in the article about future projects, but I'm positive I read they are Wii titles.

RE: Score for Wii
By neothe0ne on 10/12/07, Rating: 0
By GrandMareg on 10/12/2007 12:57:45 AM , Rating: 2
Well, since Mass Effect has basically been finished before this rather disgusting turn of events it will be the last Bioware game that I purchase. I wonder how much Muzyka made out with.

Market monopoly
By MrJim on 10/12/2007 2:43:27 AM , Rating: 2
One can hope that the EU will ban EA in Europe. Soon there will only be one software company left for the PC.

Money money money
By 5c8wc4 on 10/12/2007 5:31:46 AM , Rating: 2
I never really liked EA, BF2 (published by EA) was a technical disaster i couldent even update the game at one point until they got the patch fixed. EA is a big bully also, with rushed unfinished releases and patches ready before the game even ships. They dont care about their games, never expand or add anything in their patches just enough so noone can sue them for faulty product.

I hope some of their key developers leaves EA and their shoddy practises. So we one day will play A-grade games again.

Dragon Age
By Schadenfroh on 10/12/2007 9:22:49 AM , Rating: 2
Please do not cancel Dragon Age or reinvent it as an action RPG, EA. It is the only game I am looking forward to right now.

By howtochooseausername on 10/12/2007 2:14:36 PM , Rating: 2
This is a sad day for independent game studios.
But I guess with the high cost of developing games it was inevitable.
One can only hope that BioWare will be like BlackIsle Studios when they get absorbed.

This is a bad idea
By viperpa on 10/12/2007 2:16:40 PM , Rating: 2
This is a bad idea cause there will be to many projects and not enough development money to go around. One game may be put on the back burner so another game can be put at the forfront.

I also believe EA did this cause of more advertising money. EA has to keep game advertising development moving ahead and show the shareholders that is a worthwhile venture.

Market Share
By bbomb on 10/12/2007 5:11:22 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how many game developers will EA be able to snatch up? Will they be allowed to just buy out everyone or do anti-trust laws still apply?

Bioware? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
By skyyspam on 10/12/2007 11:40:16 PM , Rating: 2
Uhh.. subjects are stupid.


:( * eleventy billion

EA not evil
By GameJobHunter on 10/13/2007 10:00:30 AM , Rating: 2
There are going to be many more acquisitions of video game organizations in the coming years and for every acquisition there are at least a handful of new companies breaking ground. As a matter of fact, there are also a ton of opportunities to work in the industry - the demand is growing! There is a great site - - that lets you post your resume for free and get connected to companies across the US and Canada.

By psyph3r on 10/13/2007 12:32:26 PM , Rating: 2
This made me almost cry. I think I had one of those tears that the Native American gets in the commercials when the trash hits the road....there goes another great game series. I'm not sure if mainstream gaming is such a good thing anymore. Can't it go back to "what's wrong with you, nerd!". I think I'll stay in my wii/PC shell and keep playing all the greats.

By rushfan2006 on 10/15/2007 12:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
It's strange to see the press and reactions mentioning EA brings now to many.

If any of you go back to the early/mid-80's with games (you know the Commodore days, ADAM, Apple II, etc.)...back then EA was like the top of the pile, if a game had that EA logo on it you though "cool its made/published by EA - probably a decent title".

My point - such a shame to see a once great company that was at one time one of the standards other publishers tried to reach and now its reviled by many.

Of course for the interest of being honest, back in the 80's there were FAR FAR less competition for EA as well and it was by far the most famous publisher.

By mykalejunah on 10/18/2007 3:41:02 AM , Rating: 2
How could this possibly be? I felt as if I was struck through the heart with the spear of destiny, is this really happing??? How can EA do this and how can bioware do this to their truest and loyal fans?!?! Everything that EA touches turns to worthless crap, they are simple minded fools that let there ambitions conquer there imaginations, I will now boycott everything that EA sells now, which I already have but now wont buy bioware products after mass effect because I am beyond angry right now! I SPIT IN THE FACE OF EA AND ALL THOSE WHO GIVE IN TO THERE PRODUCTS!!! GO TO HELL EA!!!

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