Electronic Arts, or as it’s known round these parts, EA, are buying up Titanfall developers Respawn Entertainment in a deal that’s worth up to $455 million – $151 million in cash, $164 in long-term equity for the Respawn and up to $140 million if sales targets are hit through to the year 2022.
Vince Zampella, CEO of Respawn Entertainment said, “We started Respawn with the goal to create a studio with some of the best talent in the industry, and to be a top developer of innovative games. We felt that now was the time to join an industry leader that brings the resources and support we need for long term success, while still keeping our culture and creative freedom. EA has been a great partner over the years with Titanfall and Titanfall 2, and we’re excited to combine our strengths. This is a great next step for Respawn, EA, and our players.”
Respawn are a relatively new company, having been founded by Jason West and Vince Zampella after they left Infinity Ward and Activision in a flurry of allegations and legal threats. That was back in 2010 and they went on to found Respawn as a studio in the EA Partners Programme, which allowed them to be an independent studio. Kotaku reports that the buy out from EA was in response to a bid from South Korean publisher Nexon, forcing EA to match their offer or risk losing a studio that is working on several major projects for them – a new Titanfall game, a game set in the Star Wars universe and a VR gaming experience.
Of course, there will be concerns about Respawn going forward. EA don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to buying up development studios and sustaining them, and they shut down Visceral just a few weeks ago. For Respawn in particular, they’ve already found themselves on the rough end of EA’s business decisions, with Titanfall 2 launching sandwiched between Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare last year and failing to meet the very high sales expectations that EA set for the game, and it led to some great quotes from the very to-the-point Vince Zampella.
Without realistic sales targets, Respawn could lose out on $140 million, but it’s all rosy for EA, who say this buy out won’t affect to their 2018-2019 financial projections.