The OzSpot 11/09/12: EA wants to buy Valve, AAA games dying out

On this week's show we look at reports that EA has been trying to buy Valve for years, what developers think about the future of triple-A games, and more!

So it turns out EA has been trying to buy Valve for a long time…for as much as US$1 billion! That's a lot of copies of Portal. But why? Does it have something to do with criticisms that EA is not innovative enough (something that Valve is rarely accused of)?

We'll also take a look at EA's decision to include an Osama Bin Laden mission in the DLC for Medal of Honor: Warfighter, plus we'll discuss the future of triple-A games: are less games being made? Why?


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Discussion

21 comments
jomipira
jomipira

About the AAA it's hard to describe that space, has you just proved, what is a AAA game? You can say it's the size of the budget that makes a AAA experience and sometimes the money it makes that turns a game into AAA status. It's just like the movie industry in the States. There are fewer movies that make money, and most of the dollars are spent on a couple of tent-pole titles with enormous budgets that just keep rising. Waterwold almost destroyed Universal with it's 175 millions dollar budget, and Titanic scared Fox into selling half it's rights to Paramount, with it's 200 million dollar budget. In the 90's these were mammoths with unbelievable budgets that could destroy companies.  Today there are dozens of blockbuster films with +200 million dollars budget, from Spider Man, to MIB 3, to the Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and so on. But these are the movies that bring in the dollars. The middle tear do nothing at the box office. Most 50$ million dollar films are flops. You are divided between small indie and big budget. Just like the games. So AAA isn't going anywhere. It's the meat of the entertainment industry wherever you look.

jomipira
jomipira

Valve is now on top but when Steam came out they took a lot of heat. Gamers are prone to turn companies to gods or demons. But it's a stupid mistake to make. Valve only needs to make one or two bad games or sequels to fall from grace. EA has a lot of great games, there is a motive for their success. And as far as innovation you just look at Kingdoms of Amalur, Army of Two, Dead Space, Brutal Legend, The Saboteur, Dragon Age, Dantes Inferno, Shadows of the Damned, Alice Madness Returns, Syndicate, Bulletstorm and many others are new IPS under EA banner. And even the sequels, they have a lot of good ones, Mass Effect 2, the Fifa games are great, Battlefield is great, the Tiger Woods games are good, the Need for Speed franchise is good also, Fight Night is a great boxing franchise. So it's easy to insult EA but you can't forget the good games they do.

Kisalon
Kisalon

If EA buys Valve wouldnt that mean they would own Steam as well?

McCool117
McCool117

I think that AAA games definitely have a place in the games industry. AAA games are like Blockbusters in the movie world, you will get a lot of the same stuff e.g. Action movies, but then you get something really special and innovative every now and then that you could have missed out on, such as Inception or something that is well refined in a specific genre that's just epic, such as The Avengers. I love indy games, because they have some really fresh and innovative ideas, the games industry is built on innovation. Blizzard started as a company with 3 guys who made an isometric racing game for the Super Nintendo and Bioware started with a mechanical shooter for DOS with a deeper storyline. Most companies start from small beginnings and through their success are able to make bigger, more polished games. The problem with AAA games is when companies (such as EA) just start rehashing what has already been done because they can, Activision have done this with the COD franchise by having two separate companies (Treyarch and Infinity Ward) who alternate releases every year without any real improvements other than graphics. There are good points about the COD series, but not enough to make it feel fresh and a significant improvement over the last games, which is sad because Infinity Ward really started with something good.On the other hand, there are some really amazing AAA games that stand out because they are so good, such as WoW, Mass Effect 1 - 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, etc. AAA games should be a target to aim for and improve on in a significan't way, not a place for rehashing old stuff, or you've wasted the potential that a AAA game should have.

Apollo4848
Apollo4848

Its common for corporate takeovers to occur in economic downturns, it generally serves to cut management costs e.g. 1 head office instead of 2 and I don't see any issues with this but EA have a history of changing the culture in the companies they takeover Westwood comes to mind as well as Bioware. This is why they piss off so many gamers. EA do an excellent job with their sport franchises though. I think the whole AAA games thing silly, what is a AAA game and what is not seems very gray. It is ironic that the AAA system is the same as credit system for low risk and well innovation is risky :)

McCool117
McCool117

EA can die for all I care.What they did with Westwood Studios was so stupid.And they're making Command & Conquer F2P...Valve is too good for EA.Pick up your game EA. 

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

By the way, I wonder if Laura did get a tan? Her skin is kind of dark. Maybe she did go on a tanning bed.

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

I wouldn't fault EA over this. They can't spend the rest of their gaming industry on their own. I guess having Valve is a plus in a common sense point of view. Pretty much like Acitivision. Anyway to make it quick, I'm currently playing Speed Racer The Videogame on the Wii. Lastly I'm guessing the group didn't have time to change. No offence but I think they're sleeping with those clothes on screen.

alpha_unit97
alpha_unit97

This actually made me laugh, EA is so pathetic... 

Devils-DIVISION
Devils-DIVISION

Valve? No! Up with this we shall not put.

To arms everybody!

Aeondeity
Aeondeity

If EA buys valve; I will refuse to use Steam to buy my games.

Like @moisan4  said; "EA has always been everything wrong with the gaming industry."

moisan4
moisan4

Ea has always been everything wrong with the gaming industry. Do as little work as possible, and make the most profit possible. Think back to the original consoles, and EA’s release of their sports games. Every year they just released a new version of last year’s game. They would change the date; add a couple gimmick features that couldn’t even be considered DLC. Now they’re even more disgusting, and they still use the same old tricks. Release a newer version of last year’s game at full price. They also try to buy every developer and producer that gives them any competition.

 

Lattata
Lattata

EA is doing it's damndest to Get rid of Steam...

Shaolinstylez
Shaolinstylez

They got it wrong imo. EA is innovative at finding ways to screw people over. Hope this buyout never happens.

jomipira
jomipira

And let's not forget the PC side, with the likes of SWTOR, The Secret World or the Sims.

TTFDYLLC
TTFDYLLC

 @McCool117

 Agreed. companies like them punish creativity in games in favour of a yearly rebadge of the same game.

TTFDYLLC
TTFDYLLC

 @johnnyauau

 lol next time you're going through her bins have a look for a tanning salon invoice. You creep! 

McCool117
McCool117

 @johnnyauau 

The problem is that EA historically screwed over so many amazing franchises by buying out the companies, and then not improving on the formula. The attitude represented by EA is "we will find something good, and then juice it for all it's worth by making games with no improvements on the formula". Plus they never consider quality first, they are always shortening deadlines instead of giving more time to really give the game a chance to be awesome and feel more polished.Valve have always been known to be late, but they have also made some of the most iconic games in the industry for the past decade.Valve don't need EA, and EA need to come up with their own innovative ideas if they ever want to succeed in becoming successful in the eyes of the core audience. 

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

 @TTFDYLLC

 (Oh well, I'm just depressed and there is nothing left to laugh at anyway).