EA: "We blew it with Bullfrog, Westwood"

Written by Joe Martin

February 11, 2008 // 4:55 p.m.

Tags: #acquisition #bullfrog #westwood

Companies: #ea #electronic-arts

John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, has spoken at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas about how some of the acquisitions EA has made haven't turned out well.

"We at EA blew it, and to a degree I was involved in these things, so I blew it," Riccitiello bluntly.

"The command and conquer model doesn't work," Riccitiello told industry experts at the summit. "If you think you're going to buy a developer and put your name on the label... you're making a profound mistake."

EA bought up Bullfrog, made famous for games like Theme Hospital and Populous, in 1995 after head-honcho Peter Molyneux left. Unfortunately, a lot of the talent fled from the company after EA acquired the developer - much of it following Molyneux to Lionhead Studios in 1997, which was later bought out by Microsoft.

Riccitiello said that the problem occurred with other companies, including Command and Conquer developer, Westwood, and that it was probably because EA tried to enforce a management structure on companies which were used to more creative freedoms.

"When I talked to the creators that populated these companies at the time, they felt like they were buried and stifled," Riccitiello said.

So, what does this mean for the recently acquired BioWare and Pandemic Studios? Not a lot, hopefully. Riccitiello has promised that EA is working very hard to keep the company culture alive in those studios - but what do you think? Let us know in the forums.
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