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EA: BioWare, Pandemic purchase 'mutually beneficial,' studios to remain distinct

Jason Dobson

With the gaming world still reeling over this afternoon's purchase of BioWare and Pandemic by EA, the major publisher/developer held a conference call discussing its plans for the studios, calling the acquisition "mutually beneficial" for all parties.

Says EA CEO John Riccitiello, "We bring a lot to the table ... we simplify the process of courting publishers, basically taking it to zero." He adds that EA, being the publishing giant that it is, can "reach places where [BioWare and Pandemic] don't get to so we can build their properties bigger." As for what EA itself gets out of the deal, the exec noted matter of factly that EA is "not in the open world action-adventure business. These guys are the leaders ... this strengthens us where we need to be stronger."

Added EA CFO Warren Jenson, "We are getting a very well cost managed developer into the organization."

Of course, much of the worry over the purchase resides in the feeling that these two specialized devs would suffer by being absorbed into some kind of homogeneous blob; however, according to EA, the reality will be "quite the opposite."

"Both of these are strong studios with rich cultures," said Riccitiello. "Inside our label structure they will maintain their autonomy ... and will reap the benefits of EA's scale and structure." He clarified that EA will also be able to "better monetize" titles from both studios, while allowing them to be "treated separately."

Finally, in looking to the future, EA notes that it plans to release 10 titles from the studios "fairly evenly" over the next 4 years, with BioWare's highly secretive MMO project getting a release "more towards the back end" of this schedule, most likely in 2011.

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