A day of woe: EA buys Bioware, Pandemic

Mass Effect screenshot

’tis truly a sad day in the gaming industry. Two of our most loved game developers, Bioware and Pandemic have been bought by the corporate giant that is EA. Well, I don’t need to list EA’s evils before you, but let’s just say that they are a large corporation, and Microsoft and Sony are also large corporations.

Bioware is one of the most popular and trusted game developers in the industry, standing by the likes of Valve, Epic, Bungie and so on. Their forté was RPGs and not just any RPGs, but really good ones. Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire, Baldur’s Gate series, and for God’s sake, Mass Effect, all of them are from Bioware. With EA’s acquisition, we may just be looking at a writhing death for any more awesome titles like these.

Also, Bioware is working on a top-secret MMORPG project for release somewhere in the future. EA is now going to get all the cash. EA’s CFO Warren Jensen stated bluntly: “”In fiscal 2009 and 2010, we expect the BioWare and Pandemic properties to deliver revenue in excess of $300 million annually.” That made me chuckle. Halo 3 brought in that much in a week. But it does make you wonder: Is the Bioware/EA acquisition headed for a model similar to the Bungie/Microsoft one?

Pandemic Studios is famous for its Mercenaries and Star Wars: Battlefront lines of games. They also created Destroy All Humans! and its sequel, two fun games that went unnoticed. Again, all their base now belongs to EA. They have no chance to survive, make their time.

The total deal has cost EA $860 million, which is more than a hole in the pocket. Regardless, it could be possible that EA is not only trying to diversify its portfolio, but gain a substantial lead over its competitors. Besides, Pandemic is known for its LucasArts games (Mercenaries, Battlefront) and one of Bioware’s finest is also an LA title (Knights of the Old Republic). Is EA trying to humiliate LA? Is LA going to strike back? Are both LA and EA fronts of an organization planning to take over the gaming industry? God, I hope so.

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