As if being the sole retail distributors for Valve's Orange Box wasn't good enough, EA has just managed to get its hands on a couple of other promising titles, not to mention the developers behind them. By grabbing holding company, VG Holdings, EA has managed to net both Mass Effect's, BioWare Corp and Mercenaries 2 makers Pandemic Studios.
The deal has cost EA a not insubstantial $620 million cash, $155 million equity to 'certain VG Holdings employees' and a loan of up to $35 million to the company. Obviously that is a huge wad of cash, but presumably the up-coming Mass Effect has pushed up the price.
EA is fast becoming not just a huge publisher of big games, for example Crysis, but also a vastly eclectic developer in its own right. Bringing BioWare and Pandemic into the mix will add RPG, Action and Adventure genres to EA's already successful range of Sports games and Battlefield, which still remains popular with FPS fans.
Of course there is always the worry that all we'll see from the acquisition is an RPG/action/adventure Sims spin-off, but EA should be smart enough to see that the best way to get a decent return of its investment is to start BioWare on a new KOTOR game and let Pandemic get to work on Star Wars: Battlefront III. I'll be taking all the credit if this come to pass.