During the UBS Global Technology Conference 2017 in San Francisco, Electronic Arts Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen gave more color on the recent acquisition of Respawn Entertainment.
Jorgensen admitted that Electronic Arts has a “checkered past” with acquisitions over the last ten years, but they feel that they’re currently in a much better position. According to Jorgensen, Respawn Entertainment is “special” because the partnership with EA has been going on for a long time. The studio includes “two of the best game teams in the world,” and Vince Zampella is a “fantastic, creative developer” and has “put together a group of developers that are world-class.”
Basically, Jorgensen continues, it’s one of those acquisitions where “you feel that you have dated for a long time before you choose to get married.” Electronic Arts likes that type of deal, and it’ll be very easy to integrate.
We also hear that Respawn itself was “extremely interested” in becoming part of Electronic Arts, as they’re finding it harder and harder to have scale. They have 200 developers, but they don’t have the ability on their own to do some of the things that they would like to do, like live services management, access to additional assets like artwork and security. EA Has been helping them with those aspects, but having them embedded within the team as part of the publisher is going to be “very helpful.”
Jorgensen also explained that ultimately Respawn might move to the Frostbite engine. While he is not sure on “what that looks like,” there is a “certain interest in continuing to leverage the system that EA built and is running their game studios.”
According to him the acquisition process should be “very seamless,” and EA hopes to integrate Respawn “very quickly,” and continue to work on the next Titanfall and Star Wars, on top of starting to “look at what the future looks like,” whether that is new franchises or the next iteration of existing ones.
Incidentally, Jorgensen also mentioned that Electronic Arts “certainly sees” that there are other studios that “could become sub-scale over time and will want to be part of a large organization.” EA tries to keep good relationships with everybody in the industry and thinks that there are opportunities to continue to look at mergers and acquisitions outside of its core business. The company would like to beef up certain sectors in its business and there “might be ways to do that through acquisitions as well.”