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Pondering EA's Move Towards Hardcore 51

Posted by Zonk
from the object-to-the-idea-of-bioware-as-unspectacular dept.
The site GigaOM is picking up its games coverage again, and kicks off with an article speculating on just what EA was thinking when it purchased BioWare and Pandemic. On the face of it, the move doesn't make much sense. BioWare is a great development house, but from EA's perspective their games are 'small potatoes'. "So why did they spend so much? The acquisition includes several titles for the Wii and DS already in development, and those may have breakout potential. There's tremendous gamer buzz around BioWare's upcoming RPG Mass Effect, but in all likelihood, it'll do similar numbers to the studio's million-plus-selling Knights of the Old Republic -- a hit, but not a huge one. There are rumors that BioWare is developing a 'Star Wars'-themed MMO, but if that's what inspired the purchase, the mystery only deepens: Sony Online's (SNE) MMO Star Wars Galaxies was a disappointment in relation to cost and anticipation, and that was released at the height of the buzz over a movie franchise that's since become old news."
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Pondering EA's Move Towards Hardcore

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  • Two words (Score:4, Funny)

    by Reason58 (775044) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:48PM (#21118189)
    Madden's Gate. 08.
  • Innovation (Score:1, Interesting)

    by rickett81 (987309)
    Many of EAs games are reworks of the same game with a new feature or 2 added: madden and the sims come to mind. Perhaps this is a way for EA to jumpstart some innovation - by buying people who are already innovative.
    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:52PM (#21118227)

      Many of EAs games are reworks of the same game with a new feature or 2 added: madden and the sims come to mind. Perhaps this is a way for EA to jumpstart some innovation - by buying people who are already innovative.
      Yes, and then they will run those innovations into the ground. *steeples fingers* Eeeeexcellent. Smithers, buy stock in EA!
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Tim C (15259)
      Now admittedly I've only played the demo of Bioshock, but it doesn't really seem all that innovative to me. Yes, the plasmids are a nice idea, but they're really just another name for the nano augmentations of Deus Ex, or the psychic powers of System Shock 2. The ressurection chambers, from what I know of them, are straight out of the System Shock games. The storyline I can't really comment on, but a hidden Utopian society gone bad that's technically advanced in some ways but not others is something of a co
      • Yeah, Bioshock is a good game there. Of course it doesn't have anything to do with the article, seeing as how it was made by Irrational (now 2K Games). Yeah, we're talking about BioWARE right here. :)

        I think the Sims expansions make sense. The "game" is more like a doll house or train set. They're just adding to the kit because a) people like playing with it, b) people want to do more stuff with what they're doing.
    • EA? They aren't even into Softcore. What would they know about Hardcore?.
  • by F-3582 (996772) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:50PM (#21118201)
    Remember when they bought out Westwood and literally killed off the Command and Conquer and Lands of Lore series? They're probably thinking along the lines of "If we can't make decent games, no one should."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by analog_line (465182)
      Uh, killed off Command & Conquer?

      I wasn't aware that Command & Conquer: Generals plus expansion, and Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars didn't have the Command & Conquer label on them! Whether you liked Generals or not (I sure did, and I don't like the previous Westwood efforts much at all, aside from the original RTS, Dune 2, which I enjoyed) they most certainly didn't kill it off. They took it in a direction you didn't like, that's not the same thing. Coming out with a C&C3 expansio
    • Didn't EA do this to Looking Glass? *sniffles* and they wonder why we don't love
  • by MicktheMech (697533) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @03:53PM (#21118243) Homepage
    Even if there's no movie out I think a Star Wars theme will provide a much larger potential market than most other MMOS. I don't think the Galaxies failure will stop anyone that was completely due to Sony and had nothing to do with it being a Star Wars themed MMORPG.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hansamurai (907719)
      Agreed. Galaxies was nearly a disaster from the beginning and Sony continued to blunder at every step of the way. Other MMOs have succeeded without a giant billion dollar movie tie-in, people just recognize good stuff and crap when they see it.
    • The title is true, but I fear the time for rectifying this is past. WoW has completely changed the landscape since SWG released, and a new Star Wars MMO would be caught in a catch 22 of trying to hit the right marketing formula while avoiding comparisons to its predecessor (NGE, not Pre CU). And there is plenty of speculation that LA had as much to do with the NGE as SOE, or were at least complicit. I'm not up on the licensing technicalities, but I doubt any Star Wars title would ship without LA's touch
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:00PM (#21118331)
    Riccitiello paid off some friends [elevation.com] and himself [barrons.com] with his acquisition [gamespot.com]. Bioware and Pandemic aren't worth $840 million, since their total accumulated revenue since inception has barely been higher. Riccitiello made gobs of cash, his buddies made gobs of cash, and Bioware and Pandemic will be gutted for the sake of efficiency [arstechnica.com]. There's nothing else here. If anything, this will only be the milestone where EA will have started to go downhill. Goodbye Bioware. I hope the founders made enough money to start from scratch again.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      EA will have started to go downhill
      Started? Started??

      Are you retarded?
      • EA, for all its shovelware titles, is still raking in $3 billion in revenue - far more than anybody else. Going downhill in this case referred to their road to oblivion as a publisher.
  • In the post-WoW age, MMOs are expensive to develop and maintain. Mythic learned that while developing WAR - their vision was far larger than their wallet, and they sided with EA. With the talent of Bioware, the cash of EA and the name recognition of Star Wars, a KOTOR MMO is very possible. The only thing better would be...Baldurs Gate Online.

    • The only thing better would be...Baldurs Gate Online.
      You mean D&D Online, just set in Forgotten Realms? It would suffer between the ruleset, and the fact that it would have so many potential continuity issues like SWG
  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:20PM (#21118609) Homepage

    There are rumors that BioWare is developing a 'Star Wars'-themed MMO, but if that's what inspired the purchase, the mystery only deepens: Sony Online's (SNE) MMO Star Wars Galaxies was a disappointment in relation to cost and anticipation, and that was released at the height of the buzz over a movie franchise that's since become old news.


    Yes.

    That's because it was a bad game. Bioware is a good company because they make good games.

    If you take a turd, and put a "Star Wars" label on it, you still have a turd, it's just that now you have a branded turd. It might sell a bit better but it's not going to be extraordinary. Maybe someone in EA has actually realized this?
  • Interesting rumor, and would be cool if it was true, however all things aren't pointing in that direction as much as they might be pointing to Bioware pushing an MMO based on some franchise its developing.
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:27PM (#21118723)
    Are they going to change their name to "Erotic Arts"?
    • by dukieduke (918198)
      If Erotic Arts it is, I say bring back M.U.L.E.! I haven't played that one since Tijuana.
    • by Ren.Tamek (898017)
      "Are they going to change their name to "Erotic Arts"?"

      Or "Electronic Ass" :). Although that might be more of a product description than a name...
  • by Liquidrage (640463) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:29PM (#21118759)
    Sony Online's (SNE) MMO Star Wars Galaxies was a disappointment in relation to cost and anticipation, and that was released at the height of the buzz over a movie franchise that's since become old news.

    That's because it sucked. Royally.
    It was buggy, laggy (the commercial database that kept track of everything couldn't handle the 8 gazzilion read and writes a second their poor design called for. shocking!), the classes were boring, the progression repetitive, the rewards non-existant. You were asked to play as Background_Character_01 in a world where you wanted to be Luke or Darth. At least fantasy MMO's let you kill the occasional rare spawn, or eventually dragons and the like.

    A good game is a good game. And that's no different for an MMO. WoW was a good game, that's why it did well. Most MMO's these days are just pure crap. If a company released something good, and polished, it would do fine. SW theme or no SW theme. But crap is always going to be crap.
    • Man, if they do make a MMO based in the KOTOR era, it has so much potential to rock. Imagine Light vs. Dark factional PVP... *drools*
      • Oh, dear gods NO...

        Just look at how PvPers whine now... imagine forums upon forums of Light Siders bitching and moaning because Force Lightning melted their face, and all they get is a stupid mind trick!
    • by WCMI92 (592436) on Thursday October 25, 2007 @04:38PM (#21118893) Homepage
      SWG (before the NGE) was a great game, it was just grossly mismanaged and buggy. When your developers are wasting more than half their resources on backroom top secret mass game revamps (NGE) that take away far more than they add the game isn't going to get fixed, it's going to get worse.

      I played SWG through all that, from when we had over 300,000 players who were begging for them to FIX THE BUGS down to where it is now, 30,000 players begging for the game that we had previously back. Oh, and it's still just as buggy as ever.

      SWG failed because of SOE, and I will tell you that I despise SOE for stealing my game, and watching them circle the toilet like some turd on it's way down gives me some satisfaction.

      The Bioware MMO team is led by the former SWG lead producer and lead developer, Rich Vogel and Gordon Walton, who both quit SOE shortly before or after the first of 2005's twin atrocities, the CU (which we knew as the Combat Downgrade).
      • SWG failed because Koster created a shitty game. I was there from release. The 300K is bunk. That's what sold at it's peak with the concourent free accounts counted. The player based left en masse and for good reason. Did you play the game at release? There was zero reason to play that came unless you liked mining resources. It was the only part at release that was interesting. Combat was crap. The rewards were crap. The jedi wasn't in, and as they stated was 1 in a 1000 (this is at release, not now). And t
    • by Knara (9377)

      Sony Online's (SNE) MMO Star Wars Galaxies was a disappointment in relation to cost and anticipation, and that was released at the height of the buzz over a movie franchise that's since become old news.

      That's because it sucked. Royally.
      It was buggy, laggy (the commercial database that kept track of everything couldn't handle the 8 gazzilion read and writes a second their poor design called for. shocking!), the classes were boring, the progression repetitive, the rewards non-existant. You were asked to play as Background_Character_01 in a world where you wanted to be Luke or Darth. At least fantasy MMO's let you kill the occasional rare spawn, or eventually dragons and the like.

      A good game is a good game. And that's no different for an MMO. WoW was a good game, that's why it did well. Most MMO's these days are just pure crap. If a company released something good, and polished, it would do fine. SW theme or no SW theme. But crap is always going to be crap.

      QFT

      SWG had a lot of potential, but Sony managed to kick it in the balls every time. Then again, this is SCE we're talking about, right? Anything they touch lately seems to be a disaster.

      Plus, comeon. A Star Wars MMO where you had to wait years before you could fly an X-Wing or TIE Fighter? That's just begging to fail. Add that to the "never mind what we said before, everyone can be a Jedi!" and, well, yeah.

    • That's because it sucked. Royally

      There are many people who would have disagreed (before NGE)

      It was buggy, laggy (the commercial database that kept track of everything couldn't handle the 8 gazzilion read and writes a second their poor design called for. shocking!), the classes were boring, the progression repetitive, the rewards non-existant. You were asked to play as Background_Character_01 in a world where you wanted to be Luke or Darth. At least fantasy MMO's let you kill the occasional rare spawn, or e

      • by tbannist (230135)
        Actually, I would suspect that a majority of players do want those things.

        The trick with WoW is that it's community that keeps many people playing WoW and the character designs are appealing to most people (even if some armor sets are incredibly ugly). In general the prettyness of the game, and the newness of it got a large audience to try it out. Now they're kind of stuck playing it, because they don't really want to start over in a new game if it's only better in a few ways, or only marginally better in
  • I've been keeping my kid up-to-date on the latest EA+Pandemic news, since "Destroy All Humans" 1 and 2 are his current favorite games. I had to break the news to him that the Slashdot current wisdom is that the aquisition is a Bad Thing. Any reason I, um I mean, he should be hopeful for a "Destroy All Humans 3" that doesn't suck?

    (My opinion: "Destroy 2" is too touchy-feely. I thought the name of the game was "DESTROY ALL HUMANS", not "Help humans say no to drugs and get in the tight-fitting pants of a ho
  • WTF is GigaOM and who is this clueless guy commentating? It's pretty clear he doesn't know much about the industry he's pontificating on and that he's just flamebating.

    A blog/article discussing the ramifications of the deal is good for the games section of Slashdot but I think even if an inflamatory one was needed a better one could of been easily found.
  • So we're going to see "Ron Jeremy 2008"?

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