VIDEO Apocalypse Watch: Rumors of Microsoft eyeing EA acquisition

Discussion in 'Games' started by The2ndQuest , Jan 30, 2018.

  1. The2ndQuest

    The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 27, 2000
    Still just rumors, but, well, that'd be really bad for the industry, IMO... while it would shore up MS's (comparative) dearth of exclusives, the lost revenue from other platforms (due to the assumed shift of formerly multiplat titles going exclusive) would definitely affect development- even with MS having money to burn, a lot of dev people are going to lose their jobs almost certainly if this goes through.

    The alternate rumor of them eyeing Valve I think has much less of a chance of actually happening- even if Gabe was willing to play ball and the refocus on PC gaming via Steam makes sense from a business perspective (though one would think that would likely be the death of the Xbox), Valve is almost certainly more stable than EA is, going by what I've heard, and, thus, is less susceptible to a buy-out.

    Polygon had some of the original rumors, but DH (linked above) has a good summary of the various articles:

    A new piece at Polygon has floated rumors of the next potential major multi-billion dollar media deal in the wake of Disney’s acquisition of Fox. While there has been plenty of speculation about Apple potentially buying Netflix, their report is about one of Apple’s main rivals – Microsoft.

    Their sources say ‘internal shifts’ at Microsoft, including the promotion of Xbox head Phil Spencer to Microsoft’s senior leadership team, has apparently created the necessary situation for an acquisition. Microsoft reportedly has a cash stockpile of at least $130 billion, boosted by recent tax cuts favoring large corporations.

    That war chest could be used to purchase a big company with the site’s sources saying the enormous but widely derided Electronic Arts (valued at around $35 billion) could be up for purchase. Also on the list are Steam game service creators Valve Inc., and Korean company PUBG Corp. behind hit shooter “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”.

    Part of what’s driving the issue is the failure of the Xbox One to the PlayStation 4 this console generation. Analysts indicate over 73 million PS4’s have been sold to date, more than double the 35 million Xbox One’s sold. The recently launched ‘Xbox One X’ sold well out of the gate but isn’t doing the kind of numbers that can close the gap – not until a price drop happens (and Microsoft is currently losing money on each of those consoles sold). Both consoles are also being outsold by the Nintendo Switch.

    There’s an obvious reason for this though – exclusives. Sony and Nintendo have them, Microsoft don’t. In the next year or so PS4 is expected to serve up the AAA likes of “The Last of Us Part 2,” “Spider-Man,” God of War,” “Days Gone,” “Detroit: Become Human,” “Yakuza 6,” the “Shadow of the Colossus” remaster and possibly “Death Stranding” with those titles ONLY coming to PS4 and nowhere else.

    In contrast, Xbox One has only three – “State of Decay 2,” “Crackdown 3” and “Sea of Thieves” with each of those (like all future Xbox games) also to be available on PC. The article’s analysts say Microsoft recognises this is a big issue and investing more in delivering first-party content is going to be a big thing for them. Additionally Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is reportedly more enthusiastic about games and Xbox than his predecessor, Steve Ballmer.
    The company reportedly had a great year in 2017, but that success was “nothing to do with the Xbox One” says one analyst and the company “needs to explain a strategy for how they can be relevant going forward in the game industry.”

    Electronic Arts meanwhile is coming off a rough year. The loot boxes and microtransactions mess surrounding “Star Wars: Battlefront II,” and the company’s stated dislike of single player campaign games because they can’t monetise them like multiplayer titles, has not only resulted in a ton of bad PR but has shaken the foundations of those ancillary revenue streams as a player revolt against the tactic.

    Their mishandling of the “Mass Effect,” “Mirror’s Edge” and “Dead Space” franchises in a way that has effectively killed them also did them no favours – leaving them with little more than sporting titles, “The Sims,” “Need for Speed” and “Battlefield” games. A lot is riding on their early 2019 title “Anthem” to deliver.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
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  2. Nobody145

    Nobody145 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Feb 9, 2007
    Its just a rumor so far, but if it is real, well, that'd be a big shake-up in the game industry. Imagine every future Star Wars game being Xbox exclusive. Not that we've had a great Star Wars game for a long while, but still (Visceral maybe but that studio is gone now too I think). EA has had a lot of bad news over the last year, between the "failure" of Andromeda (its not a great game, but not sure I'd call it horrible) and the whole Battlefront II debacle (which still sold millions but that probably doesn't make up for the really bad press). So maybe EA might be open to the idea, but not sure if they'd be willing to lose all that Playstation revenue (as mentioned the PS4 probably has a pretty big lead by now). So far EA hasn't bothered with the Switch, but if the Switch popularity continues they'll probably try to join in too.

    Microsoft could really use more exclusives, especially if they want to keep selling the Xbox One X. Playstation already has quite a few exclusives lined up (and they're sure to announce more at E3), while Nintendo is Nintendo of course (Pokemon Switch is going to be a killer whenever that's ready). There's Halo 6 coming of course, but that's not enough (and could be 2018 or 2019).

    Too bad Mass Effect and Dead Space have basically been abandoned by now. There's Anthem, but Bioware's not what it once was (still sounds like a Destiny clone... not that Destiny is doing that great lately either). I think I heard the next Dragon Age will be a "live" experience... which probably means microtransactions, bleh.

    I doubt they'll bother with Valve, Valve is probably too relatively independent-minded and Microsoft would probably prefer not to have to merge their store with Steam. No idea about PUBG (though I know they bundled that game with the Xbox recently), maybe it'll help their first-party offerings. I still remember when they announced Scalebound, but look at what happened. And Insomniac is working on the PS4 Spiderman.

    Who knows at this point. Though if any of this was true, I wonder if they would save an official announcement for E3. And then they could merge the Xbox Gamepass and EA Access together.
  3. The2ndQuest

    The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 27, 2000
    The timing would probably depend on their plans in terms of exclusives- with EA having a monopoly on football games, I could see MSEA waiting until E3 to announce Madden going XBO exclusive this year* and, since they’re no doubt already developing next year’s Madden and no conceivable rival football game could be developed in less than 2 years, it would give XBO 2-3 years of unchallenged Madden exclusivity (and tie into other NFL deals MS already has). Which would be significant in terms of potentially boosting XBO sales.

    *or time shifted to whatever E3 follows the actual acquisition.

    I think certain franchises like FIFA and SW would remain multiplat (FIFA for the revenue, SW because MSEA wouldn’t want to piss off Disney).

    I’d be more concerned about Sony’s response to such an action. Nintendo would just be Nintendo and sit things out while trying to come out with a TV dinner-based game, but Sony might feel pressured into gobbling up the companies MS can’t/won’t- mainly the Japanese companies like Capcom, Square, etc. A developer buy-out war between MSEA & Sony would be very, very bad for the industry’s health.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
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  4. PimpBacca

    PimpBacca Jedi Knight star 3

    Oct 4, 2015
    Honestly I know this Salukis be bad for jobs and the such but after last year was so bad with the lack of support for Andromeda then the shutting down of Visceral and the excuse they gave witch pretty much means not enough micro transactions is ****. And then all the crap with battlefront 2 is just ridiculous, I’ve never been on the hate EA band wagon but as of last year I just will not give them another pound of my money. As for Microsoft buying someone it’s more then like they will get PUG Corp, no chance of Microsoft getting there hands on valve, although my hope is they will buy BioWare and the mass effect and dragon age ips if they can’t get all of EA.
  5. Outsourced

    Outsourced Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 10, 2017
    As bad as EA is, I think I could actually make an argument that they do a better job with their studios and properties than Microsoft does. I mean, can you name a hit Microsoft property besides Halo and Gears of War? Are people banging down Microsoft HQ doors for a sequel to ReCore? When was the last time anyone talked about the Fable series? The new Crackdown's been in Development Hell for like six years now. Say what you want about EA, but they're willing to put their backs into their games resource and promotion wise, where Microsoft lets them flounder and die alone, and have their own little graveyard of dead developers.

    Now, with all of that said, I still don't like EA. They're pretty awful. But they're pretty definitively a corporation that makes video games. Microsoft is a corporation that makes technology and dabbles in games. And i'd pick the former over the latter most days.