EA rolls DICE for $23 million

Megapublisher buys up remainder of Battlefield maker, (finally) bringing storied franchise in-house.

126 Comments

Electronic Arts and Digital Illusions CE have been engaged in one of the longest courtships in game-industry history. After the release of the ultrasuccessful Battlefield 1942 in 2002, the latter--who was the game's publisher--began scooping up stock in the former. In 2004, EA announced its intentions to acquire DICE--intentions that were endorsed by the Swedish developer's board. As of March 2005, the megapublisher had acquired more than 60 percent of the developer's stock.

In March 2006, EA announced its intention to buy DICE lock, stock, and barrel. Now, seven months later, it has finally done so. Today, the California-based company announced that it had completed its takeover of the Stockholm-based developer. According to EA, DICE will now be a "fully integrated EA studio dedicated to growing the Battlefield franchise and developing new products for the PC, next-generation consoles, and other new platforms."

According to a joint press release, EA paid 175.5 million Swedish kroner--some $23.9 million--to acquire the "assets and liabilities of DICE," which presumably means all the outstanding stock in the company. Shareholders in the studio will receive some 67.50 kroner ($9.27) per share in cash in exactly two weeks' time.

Patrick Soderlund, the former CEO and presumably a current large shareholder of DICE, was understandably pleased by the deal. "Being part of the EA studio team is a great step forward that will help us continue to deliver new games and new franchises to DICE fans," he said in a statement. "We've been working very closely with EA for the past five years, and this is a very natural step for us as we move into the next generation of gaming." Soderlund will now become an EA Studio general manager overseeing DICE and its management team, which will remain unchanged.

The next game from EA and DICE will be the PC shooter Battlefield 2142, which is set to ship in North America on October 17. No next-gen console plans for the game have been announced.

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Cheetah1500

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Hi everyone.

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Ben_Sim

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EA "Challenge Everything"... Nice Motto. Thats what they are today

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pas171

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OMG That sucks kuz im waiting for that game, EA hurry were all waiting.******* so I got PSP and soon the X360 but EA suckers can't release the ******* game. So wtf is the problem cuz they bought DICE wich means the games also. Hope it's gonna come out someday. Soon I hope...

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quietguy

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EA as usual...

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sircyrus

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Are you guys serious? EA has been working towards owning DICE for over 3 years now. They've owned the majority of their shares, effectively giving them control over the company decisions, for years. This isn't coming out of nowhere. Hell, DICE themselves wanted the deal to happen over a year ago but their shareholders wouldn't sell out to EA. This is just a formality, purchasing the rest of the shares. They didn't buy the company for $23.3M, they paid much more than that to control all the shares. All together it would be in the range of $100M.

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emorule

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Cant comeup with there own games so they just buy all the good game brands and act like they came up with them, so sad!

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anamnawshad

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Hope EA wont #%$& up teh games :(

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_Sam_

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who isn't buying out a company :roll:

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VegetaMaelstrom

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nappan: "EA buys out a major franchine? Wow, this is news... Of course, it happens to be news that's so endlessly repititious as to be comical. Frankly as long as it isn't Vivendi Universal buying it out, I don't care. EA will either make good games, or be taken from behind by some bright new group like Crytek." . . Did you read the news story a few weeks ago about how EA is in 'talks' with Crytek about the possibility of assimilating them? If EA is outdone on a level playing field (NFL 2K5) then they either buy the competition (hopefully not Crytek) or buy the competition's ability to compete (again NFL 2K5). So to respond, yes EA will be taken from behind by some bright new group from time to time but then EA will bend them over and return the favor by taking them over and dismantling them into a state of ultimate mediocrity. With very few exceptions such as Criterion.

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madrigals

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Well, I guess the games aren't going to be good anymore. EA you suck.

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Sociologist

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I started playing Battlefield 1942 my Freshmen year of college and started playing Desert Combat when the first beta came out. I actually played it up until the middle of my Senior Year, even after BF2 came out, (although I did alternate between the two). Like Counterstrike, the Desert Combat mod came about because it was relatively easy for modders to put their vision into a game by working with the software, and because the publishers and developers were fairly lax about modding. Back then, it felt like you were part of a community, and could contribute to discussions about the directions to take mods in, but this is not the case anymore, and has been replaced by a more artificial community, (Xbox LIVE, etc.). The new trend seems to be total control by developers/publishers, which makes games more difficult to mod for. Let me clarify... BF1942 spawned Desert Combat and Half Life spawned Counterstrike, because a few years ago, it was all about releasing PC games, and the expansions to them in a cyclic period, without launching an entire new franchise every year, (it was usually circa 3 or 4 years, if I recall). This game time for mods to develop, get better and even to flourish for a bit, which helped to show a great a deal of innovation in the gaming industry. With the way the newer market is with the console crossovers and mega-publishers such as EA trying to dominate the industry and milking consumers by releasing new games (or weak expansion packs) for a given franchise every year or so, this has seriously weakened the mod community. By this, I am saying that mod communities don't have enough time to really mod a game, because many users of a given franchise will jump ship to a new game in the franchise the next year. Compound this with the fact that EA, and Valve (although not to EA's extend), seek to have total control over the way in which content is viewed and distributed in a game, modders often run into a brick wall when trying to express their new ideas in games such as the ones that I mentioned. If you have ever been part of such a community, you would know what I am talking about. Some have said that the gaming market is due for a crash because of the similarities between the market conditions in the early 80s, but this is anyone's guess. All that I know is that if the modding community is killed off due to corporate practices, the quality of BOTH PC gaming and Console gaming will be seriously harmed. This is just my opinion, so feel free to respond...

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Charlie643

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Woo hooo! I can see the new logo when you boot up an EA game now. "EA games" "We own everything" XD

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cjcr_alexandru

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Come on. You are so pessimistic. Maybe EA will do something good with DICE. Or maybe not...

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anziex

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Hmmm . . . some of us remember EA buing Westwood (Command & Conquer, Earth & Beyond, etc.) and totally dismembering them . . . C&C is only now coming back as a new product years later . . . I don't know if I'd want to be sucked up into that.

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DarkSaber2k

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Nah, sigma, no-one gives a rats about the French.

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havokmaster

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As if EA already hasnt bought up enough companies :(

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sigma8

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Um.. I think Germany invading France turned more heads than invading Poland.

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Brandmon

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This maybe just like before WWII (EA = Germany ) Like germany had annexed Chekoslovakia , Austria etc , same thing EA is doing. They just need to do a bad move and all devs will turn their eyes against EA (AKA Germany to Poland). And that happens if you get EA to Publish your games , Valve better be carrefull

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buruburu

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EA downloader app is already similar to Valve. Battlefield will not change, but continue to be a great online shooter with up to 64 players. 360 can't do that. Did I mention Jets? Are there jets in the 360 version? The independent servers are working fine out there. I've never played a sports game online.(prefer being within punching distance during sports) 360 can't get independent servers... can it??? (besides LAN party in one house) _____Despite someone on the Gamespot staff not liking the trackball.... I use a trackball. It's great for swinging the tank barrel around quickly, and flying the jets. 4 buttons for parachute, prone, shoot, aim... I can't get used to a mouse at all. _____A demo of BF 2142 is supposed to be available for download through "EA downloader" before the retail release date of the full version.

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Tremblay2243

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yea its not a big deal DICE is still developing BF franchise games or w.e the BF series i should say but its exactly like shasam712 said its just gunna have the EA games logo on it thats all so we all can enjoy the game/games from DICE that we have learned to love and enjoy and just as shweygamer said its still the same pepole making the games so its not a big deal at all

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Tremblay2243

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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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shasam712

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For all the people making comments along the line of "Oh no! They will ruin Battlefield". EA have been partnered with DICE since the beginning, that's what it say's if you read the article. DICE still make Battlefield, and it still has the EA logo on it, nothing has changed... If anything, this was always going to happen. It's not a big deal. Battlefield is still being made by the same people, published by the same people, and probably played by the same people. Did all the BF players really miss the EA logo on the box?

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Equilibrium_340

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Oh **** We're doomed. Looks like my online days with Battlefield are over. Like I said before: EA=G-Unit

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swe_hotshot

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Hope that EA won't make bad Battlefield games just to make money.

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chevydriver1123

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Whats next to be consumed by EA.....Mario?!

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eiru

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Caged

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rta

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EA wishes they could have VaLVe. That'll never happen. If it does....it's the day I quit PC gaming altogether.

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boyblob

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OMG the EA destroyer our favorite dev. Boycott them n00bs. I really don't care. If it was any other big company people would just shrug their shoulders but it is EA so it must be an evil plot how to cripple a developer right?

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Icekxg

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the EA disease spreads. You people on here think that it's no big...well, yes it is actually. It's not really that fact that EA buys out companies which make people hate them, rather, it's the way they go about doing it. EA doesn't propose a deal until after they've bought considerable amounts of shares (behind their back) from the company they plan on buying out. So, as you can see, it's not just the fact of EA buying another company, it's their evil, devious process they take in doing so!

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ShweyGamer

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there is a fine line between the publishers and the developers no matter who owns who, its the people who make the games, not the company name. Naive fools.

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Diamond_Joe

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And don't forget C & C. They ravaged that too. Personally I think EA is a blight on the games market, they they represent everything that is wrong with the US buiness model. Instaed of creating it absorbs, personaly I hope Quke Wars burries that crap franchise for good. Peace out ;D

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Masaru_Kato

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This is why I hate EA. for developers its like selling your soul to a medicore devil. with the exception of a handful of games, games Published under EA tend not to be god-awful and stray from being amazing, but are stuck right in the middle of "decent" and those rare games that were greatly made my struggling developers are scooped up and sold out. like YukoAsho Said..."NEED FOR SPEED" again with the exception of a few, for the most part there's no risk to the games published by EA because when you're gunning for quantity you loose sight of quality and as we gamers know all to well, It shows. EA needs drop it's dreams of a monopoly over the industry and quit making bland n' decent games

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YukoAsho

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Now watch EA run Battlefield into the ground like they've done with Need for Speed. And Gaara, I'd not worry too much about Valve getting bought up. EA doesn't see a dime from Steam sales, and the boys at Valve are obscenely rich.

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Matt_Hunter

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EA did a real nice move there. Battlefield's game are so nice... i just hope one day they'll make a real kind of campagne for battlefield on the pc like a storyline based on just maps like starwars battlefront campagne mode... to grade up in single player to get better weapons.... look bf2 in solo is not very good with a bad comp.

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Gaara79

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Next up, Valve?

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Faelas

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Can't DICE buy EA?

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SoberWarock

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Well I dont even know if I'm supposed to get mad or not.....um...... I Just bought Battlefield2 not too long ago (im so late with games man, just got a new PC cause I used to be up to date with Xbox so im learning computers now) and I loved it.

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nappan

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EA buys out a major franchine? Wow, this is news... Of course, it happens to be news that's so endlessly repititious as to be comical. Frankly as long as it isn't Vivendi Universal buying it out, I don't care. EA will either make good games, or be taken from behind by some bright new group like Crytek. As long as there are clever coders in the world, domination of a market like this is always going to come down to the games... it might take 2 or 3 years more of stinking games than it would if the industry were less incestuous, but it'll happen in the end.

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198d

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figures.....

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imprezawrx500

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Why do you all hate ea? they make great games. burnout anyone? "EA suck and i am still wondering why people buy ea games when they can get better quality games from other developers ..... 2k games go go go" what better version of nfs or burnout can you get? ubi, thq, actvion are all the same as ea they are big and buy up other comanies, not long since ubi bought the driver series but everyone seemed to like that, it doesn't make sence.

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oldogg

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boooooooooo

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jakeboudville

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nice

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GTA420

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I hate EA

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azad_champ

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härligt,eller?

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CrapfullyCrap

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Boo EA. What the hell happened to making another Rallisport ?

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anaximandergary

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Didn't see this one coming. Pretty soon most of the independent developer studios will be sucked up by EA, Vivendi, Microsoft, or Sony.

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ryanthegamer

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leave ea alone i hope battlefield will still be good but ea can still make good games

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Commando47

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You know guys one time we looked to EA to make good games like the Strike series for example but that has passed several years ago... DICE we loved your games,we loved you but you are now part of EA. May God be with you.for you will need all the help you can get.

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warden72

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So much for Battlefield being a tense, exciting game. Now it's going to be just another unremarkable product concocted from the EA formula.

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decebal

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For those of you who thought that Battlefield still has a chance... it's time to mourn it.

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