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Tis the season to merge a company... fa la la la

Yesterday, while sitting on my porcelain throne, I was reading in the local paper about a merger that is about to happen with Activision, Blizzard, and Vivendi that will put the new merged company in league with EA next year for profit margins.

At first it was like, neat, someone else bought another company, after stewing on it all night, and getting off the toilet, I also read that Bioware is separating from the mother-ship Microsoft to be come an independent developer, which is exactly what they didn't want when they started up.

This really sparked something in me, small companies are going to large publishers to get a head start and capital gains, then removing themselves from the parent company to go solo, while other companies are selling out to the highest bidder (CEO's call it like interest, I call it deep pockets).  With all this movement, where does this leave the gamers of the world?

EA buying MMO developers, Blizzard basically selling out, but not really, companies coming and going from parent companies, when I buy my next game, will it really be developed by the company that I expect, or is it going to be a slave house that is pushing it out for deadlines instead of quality.

It is very well known that most startups deliver far superior quality games, maybe not top of the line ground breaking technology, unless your Crytek, but they are pretty much "THE" anomaly here, but they put a lot of love into those games. Once they get under a publishers wings though, most cases have shown crappy expansion packs and poor quality games on the latest and greatest technology.  Dice anyone?

I don't know, I am excited to see that the gaming industry is starting to account for a huge part of the economy (if I remember correctly, an estimated 13% of California's economy this year) in hardware and software sales, but on the downside, seeing this huge fluctuation of company mergers and separations makes me wonder how long it can last before it becomes one giant studio, blows up and becomes 50,000 studios, then to go right back to a single.  Obviously exaggerated, but you get the idea.  With this kind of flux, you can only assume that the gamers will be the ones to feel this crunch over the fight for the largest investment returns on the public game companies.

Published Tuesday, December 4, 2007 1:50 PM by Tom Anderson

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