EA's Gordon Speaks on Acquisitions, Renderware vs. Unreal, Original IPs

By Chris Faylor, May 23, 2007 1:55pm PDT A new Gamasutra interview with Electronic Arts chief creative officer and executive VP William "Bing" Gordon (pictured left) sheds some light on a number of hot topics surrounding the company, from acquisitions and buyouts to middleware development and the importance of original content.

Speaking on the subject of acquisitions, Gordon touched on EA's possible hostile takeover of French publisher Ubisoft. "I think everybody is for sale," he noted. "If you do an acquisition, you have to think about whether the intellectual property can succeed without the people, or if the important people want to get promoted in a big organization."

In late 2004, EA purchased a 20% stake in Ubisoft. "We are not safe from a hostile action from Electronic Arts, which it would be difficult to block if they make a genuinely interesting offer," commented Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot in 2005.

As for the company's choice in using Epic's Unreal engine for current-gen development instead of the next iteration of EA subsidiary Criterion's Renderware engine, Gordon admitted that, "Renderware didn't get the next-gen parts that we needed." The last version of Renderware was frequently licensed to aid in multiplatform development across the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. The executive went on to describe the current state of Criterion, the studio responsible for the Burnout series, as "mostly a dev house."

"We actually underestimated Epic [and its Unreal engine] early on," he said. "We had a couple of teams that were waiting on Renderware. We probably stuck with it too long."

Gordon also revealed that each EA location has at least one new IP in development, illustrating the company's recently stated emphasis on wholly-owned content. "In some cases, there are multiple things," he continued. "It's kind of exciting. It feels like a pretty rich vein of stuff. It's invigorating, and we like it."

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