Electronic Arts makes a lot of money, thanks to best-selling franchises like "Madden NFL" and "The Sims," but its dependence on sequels has cost it the devotion of people who like innovative video games. The Canadian studio BioWare has developed some of the most inventive games of the last decade, titles like "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic,""Jade Empire" and the forthcoming "Mass Effect."
So the news that BioWare and its sister studio, Pandemic, are going to be assimilated into the EA collective was greeted with howls of anguish from BioWare's passionate fans. A typical reaction, from the Slashdot tech Web site: "No. No no no no no."
The deal between EA and Elevation Partners, the studios' owner, is worth $860 million, the biggest in EA's history. BioWare and Pandemic ("Destroy All Humans!,""Mercenaries") are experts at role-playing and action-adventure games - genres that have been lacking in EA's portfolio.