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EA's epiphany: movie-to-game translations stink [update 1]

Vladimir Cole

EA's lust for licensed intellectual property has cooled considerably, if the company's statements during last week's fourth-quarter financial results conference call are any indication. At several points during the call, EA executives stated the company's desire to develop more "wholly-owned IP."

They've been beating on this particular drum for a while, in fact: in a conference call in February, EA Chairman and CEO Larry Probst stated, "One of the things that we're really focused on as a company is developing our own wholly-owned intellectual property."

In other words, EA's interest in movie-to-game translations is waning. The cynic in us believes that this may have something to do with recent delays -- first with the Godfather game, now with the Superman game. Foxy EA seems to be saying, "I don't want those grapes anyway. They're sour."

But we're having trouble faulting EA's new religion because we tend to agree that the company needs to move away from licensed properties. Who needs yet another crappy Bond or Matrix game? Who gives a flip about Indiana Jones, after he's failed to deliver for years?

In fact, most Joystiq readers would agree with the following rule: the more a company spends acquiring a license, the lower the quality of the end product. It's almost a natural law of gaming, and it passes the smell test. Companies that spend big bucks acquiring games licenses have with little cash left over for truly creative, world-class adaptations.

Furthermore, It'll take years for EA to erase some of the negative perceptions that readers of Joystiq tend to have about them. Few of us respect any company that relies heavily on licensed property, so good luck with all that, Larry.

[Update 1: removed a little redundancy.]

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