EA Partners Rumoured To Be Breaking Up

By John Walker on April 25th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

EA Partners is to close down, it seems. Which seems fairly huge news if it proves to be accurate. The publisher, a portion of EA that was designed to publish games with a more hands-off approach than the mothercorp from developers not owned by themselves, is reported by some American magazine to be done.

This was the label that brought us Crysis, The Secret World, and Valve’s games in boxes, and also the rather calamitous failure of Kingdoms Of Amalur, despite the game being really brilliant. That, and other recent issues with disappointing performances, alongside EA’s own recent poor performance, seem to have put that all-too familiar writing on the wall for the publisher.

However, the two games currently in development to be released on the label – Fuse from Insomniac and an unrevealed FPS from Respawn Entertainment – should still get a release. Clearly this is all still at the “rumours” stage, with the information getting to some magazine or other via a number of unrevealed sources. It seems likely more will be learned at the always-interesting-if-you-don’t-actually-listen-to-it EA financial call on the 7th May.

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65 Comments »

  1. distantlurker says:

    Not enough microtransactions sadly.

    If their business model revolved more around making us pay little bits of money for each of these minor, non-COD games they’d do much better. Even as much as £30 a time would be fine.

    Totally the way of the future.

    • rb2610 says:

      You do realise it’s Activison who produce CoD games, not EA, right?

    • Contrafibularity says:

      Hmm so in your mind, CoD is a “major” game and Crysis, Half-Life (in a box) and The Secret World are “minor” games.

      What.

      I realize you may have just had a brainfart, but I feel like I have to point out CoD games are designed for foetuses who have yet to understand their entertainment is derived from actual horrible ongoing conflicts in which millions are losing their lives, loved ones, and homes. Conflicts for which certain entertainment publishers have essentially struck deals with the Pentagon and other military industrial complex actors to deliver a really one-sided, gung-ho, bro-tastic, ” ” ” ” “authentic” ” ” ” “, non-brainwashing experience for really non-impressionable foetuses.

      I don’t care if they rake in a billion dollars each and every time, it’s time we stopped regarding these games and companies so highly just because of their financial metrics.

      Don’t get me wrong I’d rather these foetuses played all of the most retarded military shooters than even have one iota of an inclination to ever join the army themselves, but we’re so past that it’s time the industry looked at itself seriously as it’s doing in so many areas right now, and leave destructive collaborators and parasites like Activision so far behind they won’t know what century they’re in.

      • woodsey says:

        Pretty sure your sarcasm detector just experienced a major malfunction.

      • Corb says:

        whoa! Down boy/girl! It’s ok, you can breathe now. So…tell me how you really feel.

        (you can also list the games you play so we can all call you a hypocrite).

      • ucfalumknight says:

        Well, I do have to say, coming from the left side of the Atlantic, I kept reading that as fOtuses. I was not sure what a fOtus was, I then realized that’s what we Yanks call a fEtus. Isn’t globalization amazing!

      • Continuity says:

        You sir, are an ass.

      • Pepe Thunder says:

        Why you gotta be like that? Can’t you see this guy’s blatant sarcasm?

  2. int says:

    If I had a magic lamp I’d wish that all the former Westwood people would get together and make a new Dune RTS.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      “make a new Dune FPS. but with America, and regenerating health, and loads of scripted interuptions to gameplay”

      /\ What EA read you comment to mean.

      • LordNeidhart says:

        Hello, TACTICAL Private Blake Silas Shotgun Rex McHardstuff. This is TACTICAL Central Command, we are designating you to a high level TACTICAL priority mission. Your handler will be TACTICAL General Amanda Stockings, your extremely serious, extremely TACTICAL and yet terribly scantily-clad commanding officer. We are sending you to a sensitive TACTICAL location on the middle east where a terrorist group led by the TACTICAL russian terrorist Vladimir “Baron” Harkonen (sic) is agitating the populace and preparing for a secret TACTICAL strike against the US of A using a new unknown chemical TACTICAL weapon called Spice. Get on the ground, stop Harkonen’s plans at all costs, and prove american TACTICAL supremacy above all evil. TACTICAL.

    • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

      Oh man now you’re making me all sad again! Last time I put my Dune 2000 disc in the drive XP just gave me errors; I’m on w7 now but I can’t imagine it will run any better. :[

      • Beanbee says:

        If you have Win7, you can download Windows Virtual PC for free from microsoft. It’s like having a computer within your computer as long as you have a copy of windows 98 kicking around or whichever operating system. Or you can find a copy of it. I run all my old 98 titles on it with no problems so far :]
        http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=3702

        • LionsPhil says:

          You can also get VirtualBox for free, although it’s 98 support is pretty lacking. (Takes a fair bit of doing, and there’s no 3D passthrough…guess nobody wants to write guest drivers for it any more.)

  3. TillEulenspiegel says:

    I’d be a bit worried if I were an EA investor – first Playfish, now this? Unless they’re being replaced with bigger and better things, that’s a whole lot of diversity being slashed from the EA product line.

    • scatterlogical says:

      I’m amazed there are people in this world who are stupid enough to actually invest in EA. I’d rather burn my money, I’d know then that it was being used in a rational, self-sustaining process and giving me at least warmth in return.

    • Vagrant says:

      Those are the people behind all this in the first place. EA Partners has produced many great gems that no one bought, while the heavy-handed EA games continue to sell millions. EA tried to be gamer-friendly once, for a year or two, and it was a dismal year for them.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Why would you be worried? The stock is significantly up since that simcity debacle.

    • Corb says:

      well…it depends. The first slash was a line that was just being a money sink (licensed stuff that nobody wants) and now they’re getting rid of another line that is causing money sinks for them. It makes sense business wise but they also seem to be consolidating power into more publisher control.

  4. Dowr says:

    I wonder if we’ll still be complaining about EA 20+ years from now, of if it’ll just be that thing we nag on about to our kids and grandchildren whilst they try to stuff us in retirement homes.

  5. Danda says:

    They should keep EA Partners open and close down EA.

    • JR says:

      That would solve quite a few problems, yes.

      • HamsterExAstris says:

        Would it? I thought the EA Partners games were more or less funded by the developer. Unless you’re someone like Valve who’s sitting on huge cash reserves, most developers couldn’t afford to publish an EA game in that scenario.

  6. mrsandman says:

    Ive been an RPS reader for years. Im american and for some reason that has held back my confidence to join this wonderful punny crowd.

    But now the chains are off good sirs!

    Does anyone else remember C&C Renegade? The campaign was horrible, but the multiplayer was unlike anything ive ever seen. If nothing else can be said, its originality is very underrated. It gave me some of the fondest gaming memories i’ve had when i was younger with that game. I grew up knowing that EA killed what could have been Westwood’s competetor for the CODs and more importantly the Battlefields of the this generation.

    • MajorManiac says:

      They did kill allot of dreams.

      Not played the C&C Renegade multiplayer. If you’ve played it, is it similar to the Giants Citizen Kabuto multiplayer? That was amazing and no one I know has ever heard of it. It involved building up a base and unlocking researched items whilst capturing flags around the map.

      I reckon the Battlefield games could benefit from the RTS style of game play.

      • sockdemon says:

        Le gasp!

        I thought I was the only one!

        Giants was an amazing game, I’ve never seen the concept of scale dealt with in such a great way before or since.

        • BooleanBob says:

          While we’re talking about monstrously neglected PC multiplayer, who else here fell utterly, utterly in love with Deus Ex’s multiplayer? I’ve never played anything like it. Perfectly translated the emergent amazingness of the campaign into the best deathmatch shooter of all time (clunky engine notwithstanding).

          All the weapons, skills, augs, systems (turrets, terminals, cameras etc) were present and correct, meaning that countless playstyles available from the combination of the above could be tried out, experimented with, refined and mastered – and all of that on the fly, to boot, allowing you to react to your opponent’s own strategies.

          And the most amazing thing was it was all completely balanced! There was no one approach that couldn’t be rendered ineffectual through smart counter-tactics and skilful play – excepting perhaps LAM abuse, as most people back then were on dial-up and the grenades didn’t always track properly in high latency environments.

    • lordcooper says:

      Our colonial brethren are always welcome here.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I hosted a C&C Renegade server during the beta, I think it was. An interesting and strange game, but honestly Starsiege Tribes mods had already done everything better at that point.

  7. MajorManiac says:

    If only they would let me buy their games without me having to jump through hoops. They would have allot more of my money by now.

    • StranaMente says:

      I still don’t accept their policy with the treatment of personal infos with Origin, and dislike all their choices with recent games. That’s why I haven’t bought a game published by EA after Mass effect 3. By the way, you might want to read this, I’m sorry to be a spelling nazi.

  8. mandrill says:

    Like EA being hands on has ever been anything but good news… :/

  9. maximiZe says:

    Amalur wasn’t brilliant though.

    • BTAxis says:

      That took longer than I thought! And it was at least decent.

      • frightlever says:

        Not as good as Darksiders 2, but certainly decent.

        I am, I would estimate, about a quarter of a way through the game + DLC with around forty hours played. It’s a huge time sink but I mostly enjoy it.

        Skyrim with combat more like Amalur and some of the Darksiders 2 boss fights would be quite the game.

        • lowprices says:

          What I’d really like is Skyrim with Dishonored’s combat. And Obsidian on writing and lore duties.

          And while we’re at it, I’d like a magical unicorn who could give me advice on being successful in relationships. And fly.

    • lowprices says:

      Agreed. Combat was fun but everything else was pretty uninspiring.

      • Megakoresh says:

        There’s also the best Open World I have seen to this date. That’s no small feat considering they managed to beat Elder Scrolls and Fallout games with how well locations are presented. And how unique they all are. It’s the only open world that I ever felt compelled to have 100% playthrough. Never could bother with Elder Scrolls or Fallout, it’s always the same thing. No game paid this much attention to side-characters and unimportant locations as Amaleur.

    • HadToLogin says:

      It’s much better than Skyrim, through. Only thing Skyrim has better is mod support.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      There always has to be “that one guy.” You’re “that one guy,” this time.

  10. mattevansc3 says:

    You can’t pin Amular’s failure on EA. It was advertised, had cross-promotional activity so it piggy-backed on the success of existing IPs and sold extremely well, especially for a new IP.

    • frightlever says:

      KoA would have had to sell twice what a typical COD game does for them to have had a chancee to keep going as a studio. As it was it sold pretty well and was fairly well received. It was just the financial mess that the studio had gotten into that sunk them. They were trying to make a multi-game, multi-platform franchise from day one.

  11. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    This could in some way have to do with Riccitiello stepping down. I am not sure who’s in charge of EA now, but it’s quite possible it’s someone who wants to take things in a differemt direction.

    • tormos says:

      Words of corporate wisdom from Jack Donaghy: “Well, sometimes you need to change things that are perfectly good just to make them your own”. I sense some of that here, and if a little bit of fat is trimmed off the bloated whale carcass that is EA, all the better for anyone still credulous enough to invest in them.

      • Arglebargle says:

        I think that goes something like this, ‘I piss on it so everyone will know its mine’. And by cutting things, regardless of the actual worthiness of the project, you make the immediate bottom line look like you are doing something good. Standard corporate turf marking.

    • PedroBraz says:

      Larry Probst, the old boss who ran EA from 91-07.

  12. kwyjibo says:

    I guess they’re killing this because they don’t see much future in physical retail. Lower margins, no access to the DLC money, and next-gen undoubtedly having more focus on digital distribution.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      That doesn’t have anything to do with it. The games published under Partners could easily be digitally distributed.

      • kwyjibo says:

        Yeah, they could easily be digitally distributed without having to give EA a cut.

  13. Tetoro says:

    This would not be surprising, after the many studios cosed. EA is undergoing a huge reorganization to optimize its already huge revenus.

  14. aliksy says:

    Is this more internal politics, where that gibeau guy tries to dismantle everything touched by Riccitiello?

  15. Crosmando says:

    I think video games and publicly-traded companies just don’t mix, there’s just something to be said that when your company is so short-term focused on making the next fiscal quarter, that quality video games cannot be produced in such a short timeframe. Of course, I guess Activision found a way around this problem by simply releasing the same game every year with a new content patch, but this isn’t sustainable and doesn’t apply to anything else except Call of Duty.

    I see the future of video games being dominated by non-public private companies like Bethesda.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Until Virgin/Disney/EA/Actiblizzard or another usual suspect buys them up.

  16. engion3 says:

    So I can buy the next Syndicate on steam. Neat.

  17. MadTinkerer says:

    Well that confirms it: EA are doomed. Regardless of what you might think of the games, corporately EA Partners was the best part of the company, and the only part I would have been willing to do business with if/when I go pro.

    Unless they create an even more Indie-friendly division, or finally learn how to create mid-tier games (yeah, right), they are mathematically fucked.