MS: “No Plans” To Buy EA

Following yesterday’s takeover rumours and share price shenanigans Microsoft have come out with a stock corporate denial. Reuters, the same ‘news’ agency whose report of “unsubstantiated talk” of a takeover helped fan the flames, have now posted a report debunking the rumour.

In an interview yesterday Reuters were told “We have no plans to acquire EA”, by corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, Phil Spencer, who went on to say, “[EA] remain a very important partner to us.  No acquisitions.”

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“No plans” is a refrain we are used to hearing from Sony when what they really mean is “we’re not ready to talk about that yet”.  Recent things Sony have had “no plans” for have been a UMD-less PSP, a slimline PS3, a PS3 price cut and downloadable PS2 titles on the PSN Store.  Of those we have of course had three and seen further evidence of the fourth.

Coming from MS in relation to, what I am sure would have to be a hostile, takeover of EA I am more inclined to believe them.  Though I do not doubt it is likely something they have considered at some point and rejected or put aside for now.

For EA it would make no sense.  They would be restricted to developing for the 360, Zune HD and maybe the DS instead of pushing the next Harry Potter sequel out on every piece of hardware with a screen and method of input.

Many of the licenses EA have bought will likely be to develop and publish those properties on as many platforms as possible and it is almost certain that were EA to be restricted in target platforms by an MS takeover they would lose many of those licenses.

Whilst EA has some great IP of its own (e.g., Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge) its cash cows are its licensed properties like Madden and FIFA.  Without those it would be just a shadow of its current self and the takeover would have been bad news for pretty much the whole video games industry and certainly us consumers.

It would be interesting to see who made money on the sudden jump of over 8% in value of EA shares following the “unsubstantiated talk”…

Thanks, Tuffcub.

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