There has been mixed reaction to the deal by UK retail, with some stores relishing the prospect of a publishing entity with the firepower to take on EA, while others are wary of what further consolidation means for the business.
Many from the front line of the industry are anticipating a slew of further conglomeration deals – believing the emergence of Activision Blizzard has set a precedent that the rest of the industry could soon follow.
I see a raft of acquisitions taking place now, with lots of middle tier publishers being acquired. Codemasters, for instance is up for grabs as is SCI/Eidos,” said Don McCabe, MD of Chips. THQ is teetering between the top and middle tiers at the moment, so they need to get a spurt on.”
Stephen Staley, managing director of Gameseek added: I wouldn’t be surprised if another merger is announced soon, so they can compete with the ‘big two’. However I would actually say it’s better to have a number of smaller firms. This usually leads to good communication, good prices and good honest relationships. In my experience, larger firms supply the larger stores and don’t bother so much with independent stores.’
However there is a feeling that a competitor of comparative size to take on EA is generally a good thing.
EA has been on top for too long so a bit of competition is always good news for gamers,” continued Staley. Now EA has some competition, I would like to think that it will bring out the best in both companies and we should be in for some quality games in 2008.”
Meanwhile Jim Lenton, assistant category buyer for games at Comet added: "We believe the merger is a good thing for the industry as both companies are experts in what they do. They both have very strong franchises that now have great opportunities to develop further and, most importantly are now in a great position to help translate gaming to a wider audience."