Star Wars: The Old Republic – 25% drop in subscribers


The game which was to have rivaled Blizzard’s World of Warcraft has recently seen a substancial drop in subscribers according to EA. From 1.7 million to 1.3 million. Although EA, which is a US-based company, stated that these figures were going along their projected goals, their shares also fell around 10% in “after hours trading”.

(TYBBC)

Mobile Rock Band for iOS to Stay Live

A few days ago, owners of Rock Band for the iOS platform were hit with this message:

 

It was funny because when questioned, Harmonix immediately pointed the blame over to EA:

“EA Mobile is responsible for the publishing and hosting of Rock Band on iOS,” a Harmonix representative said. “We’re reaching out to them to better understand what’s happening with the app.”

 

… the ensuing fan-hate seemed almost palpable.

Fans of the game flocked to the iOS store, slamming it with 1-star ratings, calling it a rip-off while lambasting EA’s sales practices. Well, as of today, EA has backtracked that message calling it an “error” (in judgement) and the game will NOT be taken down. Here’s their official statement:

“Rock Band for iOS will remain live – the in-app message users received yesterday was sent in error,” a representative for EA told us. “We apologize for the confusion this caused. We’re working to clarify the issue that caused the error and will share additional information as soon as possible.”

 

They even went through the trouble of notifying iOS users with this little message…  how considerate.

(thx Kotaku)

Korean Publisher Nexon is Attempting to Purchase EA

Yep, one of the largest American video game publishing companies is reportedly looking to be bought by a foreign publisher.

In what must be a rather surprising turn of events, game developer and publisher Nexon has apparently put forward a takeover bid. If this is true, this is basically a case of a company that makes most of its money from free-to-play games attempting to buy a publisher that makes its money from paid-for titles, like Madden NFL

… For now, the takeover bid doesn’t hold that much water until one of the companies officially comments. If it turns out to be a serious offer, it could really shake things up for EA and we could see some unusual title carrying the EA logo in future.

-

This story boggles my mind.  Now I don’t know the business side of gaming all that much, but something like this just doesn’t make any sense.   For a buyout to work, I was under the influence that the company buying has to be worth significantly more than one being purchased. EA is one of the largest video game publishing companies in America.  So how big of a company is Nexon to be throwing around offers for EA?  I had to dig around a bit, but the Nexon IPO is reportedly worth $1.3 billion with the owner Kim Jung-ju worth about $4.3 billion. The NASDAQ lists EA as having a market value of about $5.2 billion. So we have a company worth about $5.6 billion in assets seeking to purchase a rival company worth $5.2 billion. Doesn’t that mean Nexon would have to basically sell 100% of all their assets to make it even possible to purchase EA? And if so, wouldn’t that make purchasing EA a moot proposition as a result? I could be completely wrong on everything, but for a commoner such as myself, it just doesn’t add up.

(thx Geek)

 

UPDATE: A great article explaining how a deal like this would likely succeed or fail was posted. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter explains -

Nexon’s market cap is around $8 billion, and their CEO owns over 50% of the stock. Float is around $1.5 billion. If they did a stock-for-stock deal for EA at $20 (very unlikely that this would be the price), they would have to issue shares bringing their market cap to $14 billion (assuming they hold their price, also very unlikely), and the CEO’s stake would drop to around 30% of the combined entity.

Reasons this won’t happen:

1) The CEO will not give up control

2) EA shareholders won’t take Nexon shares, because they would likely drop a ton when the float goes from $1.5 billion to $8 billion

3) EA management would recommend against an offer below $25 (where stock traded in October in a weaker market) and likely would reject an offer below $30

4) Nexon would be the acquirer, and would attempt to run a company with $6 billion in revenues that is in mobile, social, MMO and packaged goods, all things Nexon has never done before, at a size 4x their current size

5) EA management would NOT be in control, so the potential for a loss of key employees is huge

6) There are few, if any synergies, and no reason to believe that Nexon could run EA’s assets more efficiently. Nexon shareholders would own a completely different company than what they bought in the December IPO

My takeaway is that this deal cannot happen. Nexon couldn’t pull off a stock-for-stock deal for the reasons above, and would have difficulty financing an all-cash deal to make EA shareholders happy. If it did, it would have around 50% of its market cap in debt, and there would be a tremendous amount of skepticism about whether Nexon could manage EA’s assets any better than EA management currently does.

(thx GI)

Farewell… to Albert Wesker?

A strange, but hilarious video has popped up on Youtube featuring two different characters which voice actor DC Douglas has portrayed: Wesker of Resident Evil lore and Legion from Mass Effect. The two characters banter on the possible demise of Albert Wesker in the Resident Evil franchise, but hint at a 3.7555558% chance of a Legion-Wes… ahem, Wesker-Legion mash-up. One thing I’ve learned from playing Resident Evil 5 however, is that like a cockroach, Wesker will somehow find a way to survive even if Capcom has to bend the rules of reason and logic to do so. Check out the video below.

(thxGN)

Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut Announced – Summer Release

I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t played Mass Effect 3 nor do I know much about it. I do know that a lot (and boy do I mean A LOT) of fans have become extremely vocal in sharing their distaste for the trilogy’s ending. From what I’ve heard, BioWare has been pretty adamant in defending their direction with the story of the game and have continued to show support to writing team. They have however decided to offer “additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes.” It’s probably not the entirely new ending that fans of the series want, but free content is free content. Also there was some confusion with an apparent April 12, 2014 deadline, but since then EA has stated that no plans to ever pull that content down or charge for it.”

Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will arrive on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC this summer for free.

(thxJoystiq)

EA Reports Third Quarter Financial Results


While it may not be the sexiest of news stories, I’ve always taken an interest to the business side of the gaming industry. In the wake of many companies before them, Electronic Arts has released the preliminary financial results for its third fiscal quarter. For the most part, the developer/publisher of the FIFA, Madden, Portal, The Sims, and Battlefield franchises seemed to post some decent numbers. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights (because their full report is just a blur of numbers).

Q3 Non-GAAP Revenue and EPS Ahead of Expectations

Highest Operating Cash Flow in 31 Quarters

More Than $1 Billion in Non-GAAP Digital Revenue in Calendar Year 2011

Battlefield 3 and FIFA 12 Each Sells-Through Over 10 Million Units

Origin Generates $100 Million in Calendar Year 2011

Star Wars: The Old Republic Has More Than 1.7 Million Active Subscribers

(thxea)

Now I’m no business expert, and this may all just be executive jibber-jabber meant to keep the shareholders at ease, but let’s be honest, many juggernaut companies including Sony and Nintendo have reported some terrible numbers. It’s good to see at least one gaming company can still show moderate success in these tough times.

The Sims 3: Showtime Katy Perry


Sims, one of the more popular life simulation video games, will be having fun with Katy Perry this spring with dream of a deal between the pop singer and EA in order to collaborate on the popular series. Katy Perry, a Sims fan herself who’s songs already sound like their sung in Simlish, is excited to see herself as a Sim. (She does know Sims are already highly customizable? Some fan…) This deal will include hairstyles, furniture, props and clothing in-game. The Sims 3: Showtime Katy Perry is now available for preorder, for your PC, at $39.99 and will be available in March of this year.

There is a trailer for this but it’s four minutes of her ‘singing’ and we’re not putting you through that.

TY PopcultureMajor (trailer can be seen here)

Mass Effect 3 Demo coming to you February 14


If you thought about giving your sweetheart another $4.00 stale box of chocolates this year, boy do I have a better suggestion, Mass Effect 3 will be available February 14, 2012! This kick-ass demo will not only allow you to experience an epic galactic war against ‘an ancient alien race known as the Reapers’ but do so while getting a feel for the new co-operative multiplayer mode! The real deal launches on March 6, 2012 but this demo should prepare you for the the insanity of being Commander Shepard and having to save the entire galaxy! Are you up for the challenge? Available on Xbox360, PS3 and PC; the Xbox 360 demo will also feature full voice recognition on the Kinect.

(ty EA)

SWTOR: no mentions of midi-chlorians

Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you. -some hot guy with long hair

That being said, no one likes midi-chlorians and the very mention of them cause most Star Wars fans to tremble in anger. Lead writer, Daniel Erickson, has verified that there will be no midi-chlorian talk and he knows. He has read every word that was written into the script, it wasn’t even a big deal that SWTOR has, oh you know, around 60 man years worth of writing in it.

(TYgamesradar)
Image by a-heart-of-blades

Star Wars: the Old Republic over a million players


Well, it looks like this game was well worth the risk! EA shelled out a lot of bones, in a risky move to challenge its biggest competitor, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, and according to EA over a million players were spending their holiday in front of their computers.

Here are some stats from EA:
Over 60 million in-game hours — equivalent to watching all six Star Wars movies over 4 million times
Over 850,000 Sith Warriors and over 810,000 Jedi Knights created
Over 260 million quests completed
Over 44 million PvP battles
Over 9 million space combat missions completed
Over 3 billion NPCs killed

Looks like it’s gonna be a green Christmas for EA this year.

Star Wars: The Old Republic a bigger risk for EA than you thought


We all assumed that EA put in a lot into Star Wars: The Old Republic, though what we didn’t know was how much. According to Reuters, EA has invested more bones into this game than it has ever. Pretty risky right? Robert W. Baird & Co analyst Colin Sebastian, estimates the company might have spent over $300 million to create “the Old Republic.” This is insane considering how easy it is for MMO games to flop. As a World of Warcraft player myself, I’m very interested in how this game will be received considering it’s supposed to rival World of Warcraft, which has generated over $1 billion, not to mention hearing so many threats in-game about leaving WOW to go onto Star Wars: The Old Republic. One thing I have noticed so far is that SWTOR story line is more relevant in-game than in Wow, where if you care to know what’s going on you sometimes have to do some book reading, though it’s not needed. The graphics seem to be a bit sharper but then again the crappy graphics in World of Warcraft allow almost anyone to play which is why so many people play WOW.

EA has stated they need at the very least, 500,000 subscribers to break even and double that figure to make it profitable. I would be one of these subscribers but they alienated those of us on Macs, so I’ll just continue playing Blizzard games and being bitter on my shiny beautiful computer.

Australia’s Syndicate ban “regrettable” according to EA

I'm not violent, I'm just misunderstood


We found out yesterday that our favorite land down under, simply refused to classify EA’s Syndicate, stating that,”the game’s focus on dismemberment and gunplay as some of the main reasons it exceeds the country’s 15+ maximum rating requirements.” Earlier today, EA issued a response.

“It’s regrettable that government policy in Australia is denying adults the right to play Syndicate,” said an EA rep in a statement to press, adding, “The game will be not be available in Australia despite its enthusiastic response from fans.”

I’m not at all surprised with this, again this is the same country that banned Silent Hill.

(TYGamesradar)