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EA Buys Out a Game Studio After Shutting Another One Down 3 Weeks Ago (arstechnica.com) 57

EA has acquired the video game studio Respawn Entertainment. "The studio, co-founded by former Infinity Ward chiefs and Call of Duty co-creators in the wake of their departure from Activision, has been bought out in a deal whose total value could reach $455 million," reports Ars Technica. "The news by itself may seem odd, considering that EA shut down one of its other wholly owned studios, Visceral Games, only three weeks ago." From the report: A report from Kotaku sheds light on why EA made the move: as a response to another game publisher, Korea's Nexon, making a formal bid to buy Respawn outright. Nexon currently publishes a mobile spinoff of Respawn's Titanfall shooter series. Kotaku, citing sources close to the matter, claims that Nexon had bid to buy the company outright. EA exercised its contractual right to match the offer, Kotaku says, and it ultimately outbid Nexon. Among other things, the buyout preserves Respawn's continued work on an upcoming EA game set in the Star Wars universe; EA currently enjoys an exclusive license to making Star Wars-related video games, and any takeover by another company would have to resolve whether or how such a project would continue in production. Respawn's Star Wars project still does not have a title, a release date, or revealed gameplay footage. Respawn announced its work on an additional, unnamed VR game at Oculus Connect 4 last month; the EA statement says that project will continue apace, as well.

EA Buys Out a Game Studio After Shutting Another One Down 3 Weeks Ago

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  • RIP Respawn (Score:4, Funny)

    by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Friday November 10, 2017 @06:38PM (#55528839)

    Titanfall 2 was excellent, thanks. Good luck to all employees.

  • Maybe they can write off part of the closed studio ? And it bevomes cheaper to close one buy another ?
  • EA Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday November 10, 2017 @06:41PM (#55528851)

    Where game studios and franchises go to die.

    It's pretty much all they do today. Find a studio that has a hit or even a hit series, buy them, crank out a few crappy knockoffs with micropayments or "keep paying if you want to get the whole game eventually", until the last fan of the series walks away in disgust, then throw it away and abuse and kill the next good idea someone else had.

    • "Those who can't innovate, acquire."

      Google. Facebook buying Oculus and Snapchat. AOL in the 90's buying Winamp. The list goes on, as corporations become so large they can no longer innovate (because innovating often requires changing an entrenched corporate culture) so they just start buying.

      AAA studios have been out of ideas for awhile.

      Hell, they always tell us "ideas are dime a dozen" and then you find out Hollywood paid $400,000 for a movie script. Hmm. Perhaps "dime a dozen" is just what they tell every

      • (Snapchat was a typo from when I was building the comment.)

      • by thomst ( 1640045 )

        Chris Katko commented:./p>

        "Those who can't innovate, acquire."

        Google. Facebook buying Oculus and Snapchat. AOL in the 90's buying Winamp. The list goes on, as corporations become so large they can no longer innovate (because innovating often requires changing an entrenched corporate culture) so they just start buying.

        Google (by which ITIYM Alphabet) doesn't just acquire companies randomly. It buys companies - mostly start-ups - because it has a use for their technology and talent pool, rather than their products. Often it will simply absorb them into an existing unit. The really innovative ones end up in Project X, Alphabet's skunkworks, where it incubates WAY new tech. (That's where Google's autonomous vehicles - you know, the ones it uses to shoot Streetview footage for Google Maps - orig

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The headline appears to imply that all game studios are equal, which is an absurd proposition. It's like saying that all programmers are equal and that any programmer can be replaced by a H1B who barely speaks English.

    Obviously, the game studio they shut down lacked the skills that EA wanted, while the one they just bought has the talent that EA require.

    I'm not saying this is a good thing, and it will likely result in the destruction of Respawn, but the headline is patently absurd.

  • by sanf780 ( 4055211 ) on Friday November 10, 2017 @07:45PM (#55529067)
    Is this one of these MBA things where you try to get the optimum short term benefit at the cost of long term investments? I understand that sometimes you need to cut your losses short, but to sack so many people because some manager took the wrong bet?
    • Re:MBA (Score:5, Informative)

      by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Friday November 10, 2017 @09:58PM (#55529433)

      Is this one of these MBA things where you try to get the optimum short term benefit at the cost of long term investments?

      No, because in business school MBAs are taught not to manage for short term benefits. That such a path likely leads to the demise of a company.

      I know that sounds confusing to many. I once believed as you suggested. I spent decades thinking I knew what MBAs were about. Then I went to business school and learned the truth. Part of the fun of business school was laughing at how wrong I was in my various beliefs.

      Let me try to explain it in a different way. Image how technology, science, programming, hacking, etc is portrayed in TV and movies, how journalists describe things in the main stream press. Pretty disappointing huh? Guess what, their portrayal of business and MBAs is just as bad, just as inaccurate.

      So, here's the secret to what an MBA program is. Its not like a normal Masters program where you take a deeper dive in core subjects and a deep dive into some specialty. Its actually a shallow dive into many different unfamiliar topics. Topics that cover a fairly complete range of activities across a company or organization. You take a few accounting classes, are you now an accountant, no. You take a few strategy classes, are you now a business strategist, no. A few management classes, a few marketing classes, a couple economics classes, a product development class, an operations class, an information technology class, etc. Are you now an expert in anything? Not anything you were not already an expert in before you started the MBA program. So what the hell, what's the point? The purpose is that all these different specialties within a company/organization have to coordinate. To better coordinate it helps if they can talk to one another effectively. So a person who was an engineer before the MBA program is still an engineer afterwards. However all those shallow dives into other areas allow the engineer to see things from the perspective of non-engineers. If that engineer has to communicate an engineering issue or need to these others he/she can do so more effectively, can be more persuasive, will likely get the engineering issue/need greater consideration. And conversely when an issue or need from the outside is "more important" he/she is better prepared to understand why. This better understanding might lead to finding a better alternative. So an MBA is really about better coordination and better communication between teams that normally would be somewhat isolated from each other. This can lead to a healthier and more successful company.

      Now some of you are surely thinking about some manager with an MBA who was a complete a-hole, or a pointy-haired boss (FYI, Dilbert is beloved in business schools too). Well, that person was likely an a-hole long before they went to business school. That PHB, likely clueless long before they went to business school. Again, business school doesn't really change who you are, its just supposed to give you new tools and new perspectives. Can it fail to do so, sure, like any other degree program there are ticket punchers who manage to graduate without retaining very much.

      • An MBA's role is not to make a profit. An MBA's role is to *maximize* profit. That's where the destructive behavior comes from.
        • An MBA's role is not to make a profit. An MBA's role is to *maximize* profit. That's where the destructive behavior comes from.

          Not to the extent of "destructive behavior" that harms the company. For example if a CEO at a publicly traded company makes a short term decision that is destructive in the long term the failure is not in their MBA training. Their MBA training actually teaches them not to do so. Interestingly MBA training considers CEOs (or any employee) acting in personal self-interest rather than in the company's interest. An MBA would say that the incentives are wrong. They are taught that if you reward bad things you wi

          • It's all about perverse incentives. The MBA can make a year's salary in a year by playing it straight, or a year's salary in a few days by being dishonest...It's not even a contest, is it? It's just rational behavior.
            • It's all about perverse incentives. The MBA can make a year's salary in a year by playing it straight, or a year's salary in a few days by being dishonest...It's not even a contest, is it? It's just rational behavior.

              What makes you think perverse incentives are something specific to MBA types? Any company can f'up their incentives and MBA and non-MBA management and regular employees will take advantage. The problem is with the person and business school does not change the person's inner core.

  • I just don't get this shit. When I was a young'un, back in the 80's, I survived my first layoff. Why? Were we losing money? No, it was because Someone We'd Never Heard Of said we would grow 10% this year, and we only grew 9%. Bunch of fucking layabouts, lets fire 10% of those lazy ass fuckwits, none of them management, and promote 5% of them into management positions. That can only help, right?

    It was in the 80s the MBA became a thing. It was also in the 80s that the Great Decline started.

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