Spielberg: Selling to EA was 'the smartest and dumbest thing I ever did'

Spielberg: Selling to EA was 'the smartest and dumbest thing I ever did'
Michael French

By Michael French

May 14th 2009 at 4:42PM

Celebrated Hollywood director admits he under-estimated success of first game productions

As one of the games industry's thousand pound gorillas, EA is no stranger to acquisitions.

But what do the people selling their studios to Electronic Arts think of the move?

According to Steven Spielberg, selling his Dreamworks Interactive studio to the publisher was both "the smartest and dumbest thing I ever did".

Speaking to Reuters, the director of Schindler's List, Raiders of the Lost Ark and many, many other great films, has been recounting his experiences making games on the eve of Boom Blox: Bash Party's release.

The game is the second title he has produced with the company under a multi-game deal to produce action and family titles.

But it's not his first encounter with the firm - it also published the Medal of Honor games, which it took over after acquiring Dreamworks Interactive, spun out of his Dreamworks movie production studio.

"The smartest and dumbest thing I ever did was to sell my company to EA," said Spielberg. "Medal of Honor was almost done and we made the decision to sell Dreamworks Interactive to Electronic Arts and had we not sold, we would have been able to stay in business just based on the success of Medal of Honor.

"But it was very smart also for us to sell to a company that was better equipped and better managed to be able to take Medal of Honor into the international market and really make a commercial success out of it."

And despite the supposed convergence of movies and games, Spielberg says the 'minutia of technology' proves the difference between them.

"The technology involved at every level to create a videogame is only similar to the technology involved that created the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park," he said.

"There is no production, like I'm very accustomed to. There's no hiring of actors or building sets… the minutia of technology takes over."

But he's not ruling that kind of synergy out:

"So far, there hasn't been a major success in the videogame industry based on a motion picture, nor has there been a very successful motion picture based on a video game.

"There's not been convergence, thus far. There will be. When it happens it will be dynamite."