There may not be a company that had a tougher year than Electronic Arts did in 2017. Does that mean the firm might be on the block? Reports began surfacing on Monday afternooon that EA might be up for sale and the company that might buy them is Microsoft.
The deal makes quite a bit of sense for both entities, which probably means it’s not going to go through. For Microsoft, it would allow them a studio that could put together quite a few Xbox only games. For EA, it would mean that they are teaming up with one of the titans of the video game world. They might also be able to repair some of the problems we’ve seen in the last few years if there was another set of eyes looking at the products EA is pushing out there and telling someone they need to be rethought.
The two firms are a couple of the biggest in the video game world. As Polygon points out, Microsoft could likely make the purchase of EA without making much of a dent into their profits. The firm that has just launched the Xbox One X is valued at somewhere in the neighborhood of $130 billion. EA, on the flipside carries a value of about $35 billion.
Those are big dollar values being through around, but in what is becoming very big video game business, it appears as though EA could be had by Microsoft for chump change. It should be pointed out that rumors about takeovers like this are almost always going strong this time of year. There are some rumblings that have made this set of rumors seem to have a bit more traction underneath them. When you’re talking about Microsoft’s cash and EA’s PR problems, a sale could indeed be on the horizon.
If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the last month then you’ll surely know how much trouble EA seems to have gotten into with the problems that loot boxes have given the company. EA’s most prominent title of 2017, Battlefront 2, was so riddled with microtransaction problems that there was an internet-wide revolt against the title, plummetting EA’s stock prices as a result. Many have weighed in to argue that loot boxes are just an extension of gambling and as such should be regulated or eliminated. It looks like New Zealand’s government may not agree.
New Zealand’s prominent regulation group, the Gambling Compliance Department, weighed in on loot boxes and came to a surprising decision. The group made a comment to Gamasutra earlier this week saying, “The Department is of the view that loot boxes do not meet the legal definition of gambling.” Department head Trish Millward admitted that loot boxes do appear to be a form of gambling, because you are paying money for the ‘chance of improvement’, but that the legal definition is vaguer Millward went on to say that her department would continue to monitor loot boxes in case things change in the future.
Right now the problem of loot boxes in gaming reaches far and wide and players seem to be close to giving up on them altogether. Unfortunately, a smaller percentage of gamers is more than willing to pay for the chance to be better than their opposition. This means that money is continuing to flow in and thus gaming companies have no reason to go away from the lucrative concept.
EA. reacted to internet-boycotts by saying that they would re-evaluate how the company approaches items held in loot boxes. Previously, gamers could obtain items that severely increased their ability to win in matches. Now, EA is considering using more aesthetic items that improve your cosmetics rather than your actual ability while playing the game. The question is, will EA follow through?