EA: We want more studios to partner with

EA: We want more studios to partner with

By Rob Crossley

December 8th 2010 at 3:56PM

Yet the publisher is 'not dying for more acquisitions'

Electronic Arts is hoping to expand its popular Partners initiative, a key exec from the company has said.

EA Games president Frank Gibeau told Develop that the games industry is “relatively small” from a talent standpoint, and that the publisher’s Partners programme is one of the best ways to attract the best studios around.

“There just are not that many producers or creative directors that know how to make big hits,” he said.

“We have to create an organisation and a culture that is, frankly, engaging for them. They are talent and we need to give them reasons to come to us. EA Partners was, actually, one way we moved into this approach, because we want to attract the best and brightest developers in the world.”

EA Partners is a co-publishing arm dedicated to distributing games developed by third-party studios.

The initiative allows studios to remain independent when signing up, typically retaining their IP, with the publishing might of Electronic Arts behind them.

Numerous developers have taken on the scheme, from Crytek to Epic Games, Valve and, more recently, Respawn and Insomniac.

When first announced in 2008, Signal Hill analyst Todd Greenwald said scheme was indicative of EA's marketing and publishing strengths, “but doesn't say much for their development talent”.

Gibeau appeared unfazed by such criticisms. He told Develop EA “will change our entire business practices, and we will change how we bring games to market, based on who you are”.

With such significant ties being made, EA could be in a better position – at least tactically – to acquire more studios. Yet Gibeau said he’s “not dying to add capacity”.

“I’m very happy with the studios that we have and now I’m trying to optimise that and make it powerful,” he said.

“In terms of our Partners programme, yeah we want it to grow. We want to continue to find great independent talent out there.

“I’m obviously not going to say no to every single acquisition opportunity, because who knows what’s around the corner. But I think we have enough.”