EA stock feels burn, Universal stokes Inferno

<i>Wall Street Journal</i> muses a Disney takeover of share-price-challenged publisher as <i>Variety</i> reports movie studio has landed rights for unannounced game set in depths of hell.

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Last week, Electronic Arts made headlines for posting a $310 million quarterly loss and laying off 6 percent of its workforce. As a result, its stock took a drubbing on Wall Street, dropping over $3 per share in after-hours trading to end the week at $22.78, just above its one-year low of $21.91. As a result, the publisher, which recently was poised to acquire rival Take-Two Interactive, has become the subject of takeover talk itself.

In a piece this past weekend (subscription required), Wall Street Journal columnist Martin Peers mused that media giant Disney might buy EA outright. He points out that the Redwood City, California-based publisher's market capitalization is now just $7.2 billion, down from $19 billion "a few years ago." Peers believes that, given the near-certainty its value will rebound, EA is a great bargain for a larger media company to scoop up, and that Disney--with its better-than-average stock performance--would be an ideal suitor.

But while the Journal article is purely speculative, Variety had more concrete news involving EA. Namely, that the publisher has struck a deal with Universal Studios to make a film based on yet another of its games. According to the Hollywood trade, the agreement came after a brief bidding war, which had Paramount, MGM, New Regency, and Warner Bros. all interested.

More remarkably, the game in question hasn't even been announced yet. Titled Dante's Inferno, it is reportedly about "a journey from the depths of hell" and would presumably be inspired by medieval author Dante Alighieri's book The Divine Comedy. No developer or platforms were mentioned, though Variety did say it was set for release next year.

The Universal-EA deal comes just over a week after the pair inked an agreement on a big-screen version of Army of Two. EA has also sold the film rights to The Sims to 20th Century Fox, while producer Avi Arad holds the movie license to Mass Effect, made by EA subsidiary BioWare. The production status of those two projects is unclear.

As of press time, EA reps had not returned requests for comment about either the Journal or Variety articles.

Discussion

60 comments
tudyniuz
tudyniuz

I never liked the first game

zhevox
zhevox

disney, mind your own business of making children's movie and wall-e 2 please. we gamers reject your unwelcomed emergence in the gaming industry!

DarthVillainous
DarthVillainous

Unfortunately, I assume any game based on Dante's masterpiece will have watered-down theology and narrative in order to be politically correct and not offend anyone.

DarthVillainous
DarthVillainous

I'm no fan of EA, but it would be very bad for both gamers and the industry if Disney (or some other megacorporation) were to buy them. As much as EA has a reputation for grinding out games, Disney's reputation in said area is even worse. How many direct-to-DVD films have they done? Far more than EA has made of annual franchises like Madden, Need for Speed, etc. And the quality of those films is generally lower than the quality of EA's games.

DarthVillainous
DarthVillainous

@ LindBergh 2007 Your comments in general are extremely premature and naive, I think. And Sega will never make another console, unless they get bought by a much, much larger company (à la Microsoft, Sony, Apple, Nintendo, etc.). They simply can't compete financially with the big boys anymore.

enoslives7
enoslives7

it's nice to see EA going down in flames

Pete5506
Pete5506

I hope they dont kill the sims with this

LindBergh2007
LindBergh2007

It's official. the U.S. video game software market is crashing. Major publishers are feeling the effects of this economic crisis, game stocks are being dragged down, developers closing up. And EA the once dominate force the 3rd party market is in serious jeporady where thier value is now less then SegaSammy and a chapter 11 bankrupcy filing is very possible if they continue to layoff more employers. As the month of November rolls on, I expect the news to get worse. We don't know if console sales are being affected yet, but they will. Much like in 1983,if the publishers go bankrupt then less games are going to be released I really believe that 2009 will be a year of the fewest game releases in years and that history will soon repeating itself and the VG industry will settle down again for a while but soon bounce back with a new Sega console. If a crash occurs(360 and PS2 will still get game releases), then you need to relize it may need to happen again. There are periods of growth and periods of slowdown, things will change all for the better and they'll be newer developers opening up in the near future.

Autolycus
Autolycus

a couple of good games and all of you are ready to forgive EA, along with you chumps believing everything the media throws at you (there are 4 companies that control ALL the media in the world), the fact that you forgive them because they release a COUPLE good games is ... well... pathetic... HOLD PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS! THAT GOES TO ANYONE AT YOUR WORK PLACE TOO.

atrainvii
atrainvii

To nickfogal: As far as TV goes, Disney itself doesn't suck. But you have to consider a few things that would make this a bad deal. a lot of the companies EA has acquired have gone from making interesting and innovative games to creating nothing but sequels and repeating what's already been done (with the exception of the soon to be released Mirror's Edge). Only companies with major clout (like Blizzard) are able to work without big brother calling the shots.

Disney's racket is TV, Movies and Radio. All are dying media because people are tired of paying for the regurgitated crap on TV and in Theaters (with the exception of their cgi movies made by Pixar). They have tried several times to make movie-based games and ALL of them SUCK EGGS! Disney will use the EA brand to push the same crappy games to maximize profit. If EA makes a blockbuster game (like lets say Mirror's Edge) They would put out some tired a$$ movie not worth the price of admission. Games would get the same treatment. Disney has never made any game creative as Mirros Edge, Left 4 Dead or Starcraft. Disney is creative but they don't do risky, edgy or over the top action. God forbid EA did buy Take 2. That would be the end of the GTA series!

Skrilla_XS
Skrilla_XS

Ummmm...does this mean there's going to be a Sims movie....? :\

Gruug
Gruug

Mickey Mouse has been in charge at EA for a long time anyway.

sphinx-shadow
sphinx-shadow

i think if they cast right army of two could be good and a funny movie.

1357900
1357900

Hannah Montanna in a new football game at half-time having a fashion glitch. Lol! This is based in very little truth, at the moment. Slow news day. However, what of it is true, I don't want Disney owning ANY game company w/ that kind of a foothold in the gaming industry. I don't want any Sim game, or Bioware games(like the KotOR MMO) being trashed.

Luthmann_D
Luthmann_D

"Disney buying EA? that's really lame. no matter how bad EA is, disney is worse." ... You know what? I so totally AGREE with you:)

AmazingBritney
AmazingBritney

I guess if it happens, whatever but I don't want any Disney people in my Sims...

Dryker
Dryker

What the hell goes on in the heads of these corporate types? A movie based on Army of Two? I wish I could say that they are the reason why there is so much crap product out there in Hollywood, TV, and Videogames, but they wouldn't be making it if people were savvy enough to see passed advertising and not buy the crap. Sorry, it just chaps my hide when talent struggles and crap prospers.

_MEDUSA_
_MEDUSA_

Film industry trying to get a foothold in the 'Greater gaming industry' but i doubt that it would happen, if it does ever occur it will be very bad for games and developers in general!

tudyniuz
tudyniuz

I don't think Disney is bad at all.Of course I'm to old to watch Disney movies but they made many childhood memories for me,EA isn't good at all.They are recovering but still not good enough:)

nickfogal
nickfogal

GoldenRamoth , others, you know nothing of business. Does ESPN suck (owned by Disney), does ABC suck (owned by Disney) and there are thousands of other company's that use Disney money to make great products. This would be great for EA. Activision just merged with Blizzard. There aren't any world of warcraft characters in Guitar Hero.

GoldenRamoth
GoldenRamoth

Disney buying EA? that's really lame. no matter how bad EA is, disney is worse.

tanerb
tanerb

you should have put that mouse support in the deadspace EA.

Subacetylene
Subacetylene

As bad as EA has been in the past, A lot of the more recent games have been quite decent. It would be sad to see it taken over by Disney. The last thing I would want to see is a Madden game with Goofy in the background as a mascot.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

spoon feeders start your raging! Believe what they say because since its on the interwebs its automatically true!!!

makemeweak
makemeweak

A Disney takeover of EA? I think I would boycott video games in general if that happened...

absinthewfaust
absinthewfaust

hah see how easy it is to get people in a frenzy? all of this is based on ONE article, which also includes him stating that "StarDock should organize a takeover coalition and do it instead." seriously people, one of the problems with this country is that people are quick to believe whatever they are spoon fed from the media.

devil_1994
devil_1994

no ea dont do this your games used to be bad but when battlefied bad company and dead space were released i really began to trust them again. i just dont know what to say if disney does buy ea...

Fareru
Fareru

It has been wisely stated that Disney won't actually degrade the content of EA's games (although there isn't raelly any lower they can go) but it may impact upon the quality of the games as well as which games end up being produced in the first place. Sure, the games that are already released will be maintained and the new games to come might still fit into the usual EA style, but it means that Disney will have a whole new gateway through which they can market and develop their mediocre games. It has no real effect on me since I don't think I even own an EA game, but it's still kind of depressing to see the Disney empire expanding. Also, leave Dante's Inferno alone. If you're as bad a developer as EA then please don't even try to make a game of this wonderful idea, you'll just ruin it for everyone.

Proman84
Proman84

Disney and Hell... sound slike a perfect match to me.

Autolycus
Autolycus

Disney is the largest Media company on the planet (if I remember correctly). Them getting EA (as much as I despise EA) is a horrible thing. That takes even more choice out of the hands of consumers. If you have been sleeping under a tree the past 8 years, you better start waking up and paying attention. THE UNITED STATES DOESNT CARE ABOUT CITIZENS RIGHTS ANYMORE. ITS ALL ABOUT BIG BUSINESS AND MONEY. MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL THESE PROBLEMS and one day I hope to create a Money Free society (its actually pretty sweet you should google the idea and see how many wonderful things come from it) but as soon as I started taking tax paying citizens away from the U.S., the U.S. would bomb it. ZeitGeist Addendum , check it out.

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

Also, EA might have had a few good games recently, such as Dead Space, but I don't buy into the comments here saying, "Dang, just when EA was starting to turn around!" Yes, Dead Space was good, but they are still churning out appalling games. And their PC gaming DRM practices are terrible.

zomglolcats
zomglolcats

To those who say Disney would make their games kiddy, you need to realize that Disney/Buena Vista own a LOT of companies. They aren't dumb. We're not going to see Donald and Goofy in the next installment of Dead Space. I would find it hilarious that EA, the company that buys out the competition, gets bought it itself. But, I am not sure that a company like Disney would get rid of EA's horrible DRM schemes for PC gaming. But at any rate, this article is purely speculative and there's no fact behind anything, so this was pretty much filler.

football_legend
football_legend

OMG! Disney take cover! I dont want a Dead Space where you cut the enemies to get candies out of em. Just when I am beginning to like EA alot, I hope after this fall, their revenue increases.

zgreenwell
zgreenwell

There is no real news in this article.

ck02623
ck02623

MAN what a turn of events! I really was starting to raise my opinion of EA as well; they've been putting out some quality games lately.

Trooperdx3117
Trooperdx3117

This is a real shame, just as it looked like EA were starting to turn their act around and releasing such brilliant games like Dead Space then suddenly this happens. And I really hope Disney don't buy out EA all we would get are a bunch of kiddy games then and no more Dead Space.

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

To think EA were prepared to pay 2bn for Take-Two, and now 6 months on, EA are valued down at 7.2bn. With WoW still printing money for Acti-Blizzard I wonder if they are planning to take-over some smaller studios

shootemup05
shootemup05

@LindBergh2007 Chapter 11 bankruptcy? What in the world are you basing this on? You don't go bankrupt unless you cannot repay your debt, which EA has none of, or you are running consistent losses to the point where you cannot sustain any kind of business model on your own. Considering EA has significant leeway by means of their additional paid-in capital, virtually every game they release to market would have to force losses for an extended period of time. Think things through please.

living_wmd_888
living_wmd_888

Heh... that would be one down, one to go. Who's going to gut Activision?

Faephoenix_Eyes
Faephoenix_Eyes

Disney is such ballz i dont want them to take over EA. Just when EA finally started releasing some at least average to above average games like Deadspace>

zhevox
zhevox

lol, the tables have turned. now, who will take the bid other than disney?

brain20035
brain20035

EA being acquired? why do I feel...Strangely happy?

AZisBack
AZisBack

I hope that Disney does not buy out EA. The results would be scary. EA will keep making rehash games with Disney characters. :lol: For EA Trax there will be the Jonas Brothers and Hanna Montana. :(

totaleklypse
totaleklypse

first how did a EA thread start talk of a MGS movie... or a MGS anything lol. 2nd did i read that right... movie rights for the SIMS? hows that one work.. top view of a couple actors speaking jibberish... i'm sorry simlish.. then bursting into flames when they make toast.

Sharpie125
Sharpie125

Mass Effect could be cool. Just A)See what went wrong with other 20th Century Fox VG-movies... and DON'T make the same mistakes and B)Don't make it about Shepard.

js0823
js0823

No please leave MGS story alone. The game itself puts alot of movie cutscenes into it and we don't need to see another movie which would be putting those cutscenes together. MGS without interactive storytelling is going to be just another gun fighting movie.

TruthOpinionSpk
TruthOpinionSpk

But I would so be interested if Sega was coming out with a new console.