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Mike O'Brien discusses the business of ArenaNet

Eliot Lefebvre

It's hard to become invested in MMOs and video games without learning something about the industry at play -- an industry of repeated layoffs and mergers, acquisitions and shuffling ownership, and a whole lot of passion and drama over seemingly inconsequential subject matter. The acquisition of PopCap by Electronic Arts last week prompted The Seattle Times to conduct an interview with Mike O'Brien of ArenaNet, known for the highly anticipated Guild Wars 2 and the already quite successful Guild Wars, about acquisition, corporate oversight, and the life of a smaller studio moving into big waters.

As O'Brien puts it, the decision to seek outside funding from the start was a direct result of the scale and scope of the Guild Wars project. Rather than trying to scramble for resources to create a big project that could compete, the studio went for a company that seemed like it would appreciate their way of doing business. And O'Brien has nothing but positive things to say about the working relationship between his studio and NCsoft -- although he's very aware of what can happen when a small studio gets bought by a larger organization. The full interview should be of interest to anyone who follows the industry... and like we said, that's a good part of the MMO crowd.

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