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April 11th, 2019, 22:01
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
I don't quite follow. Are you saying that the employees of Bioware cannot have opinions on directives from their parent company because they are owned by that parent company? I don't know about you, but there were plenty of times during my career when I disagreed with higher ups. Maybe I couldn't do anything about it, but I was still free to have an opinion.
I'm saying Bioware has no employees, Bioware has no revenue, Bioware doesnt make decisions, Bioware doesnt develop or own IP, Bioware isn't a "thing". For all intents and purposes, Bioware is the name of a rotating scrum team.

EA has employees, EA has revenue, EA makes decisions, EA develops, EA owns the IP, EA is a "thing"

I just find it it funny how long they play the farce to further the perception for goodwill purchases. Everyone loves a David/Goliath story where the tiny oppressed company "struggles to release a superior product that will please the fans" but the dark overlords prevent them. Its actually brilliant and its their longest running farce, I just didn't think it would last this long.
Might as well pretend Mythic, Maxis, and Pandemic are still "things"

The ONLY studio that actually WAS a thing in tandem with EA was the massive sharepurchase of Ubisoft. Ubisoft still retained large control factors and some decision autonomy.

Thats all I meant, nothing against the individuals with an opinion.
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April 11th, 2019, 22:08
Originally Posted by Wisdom View Post
Thats all I meant, nothing against the individuals with an opinion.
I'm the same… I wasn't asking to be confrontational. What you write is factual… Bioware is "EA Bioware."

I don't know if I'm following the conversation correctly. Personnel in a department of a business oftentimes disagree with the direction of their higher ups even when they have no power to change course. That's all I was saying. The individuals at "EA Department Bioware" could still view frostbite as terrible even though they have to use it and if they're professional, make the best use of it.
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April 11th, 2019, 22:45
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
So the number of day-one-purchasers is about 3.5 million, yes?

Thanks for the fact check, but does that radically change any point I made?
Either way, EA said they expected to sell 5-6 million copies of the game before the end of March, so it's clearly been a colossal failure in that regard. Given how short of expectations it came, and how long it was in development, I'd have to think they lost a lot of money on Anthem, but we have no way to know for sure unless they tell us later in a quarterly report or something.
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April 12th, 2019, 00:26
Originally Posted by Wisdom View Post
Generally it's the underperforming widgets that want unionization. Anyone that truly has the skills can make absurd fortunes by switching to the right company. Yes it requires people to do some research, remain current in technology and coding, and not move to Detroit or Liverpool for a 3month contract then expect to find another job the next day.
I'd instantly hire anyone who could survive 3 months in Detroit.
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April 12th, 2019, 03:36
Originally Posted by Wisdom View Post
I'm saying Bioware has no employees, Bioware has no revenue, Bioware doesnt make decisions, Bioware doesnt develop or own IP, Bioware isn't a "thing". For all intents and purposes, Bioware is the name of a rotating scrum team.
I don't think that's true. As I understand it, Bioware is a subsidiary company, with its own revenue, employees, premises, IPs, and even its own subsidiaries. It's owned by EA, and obviously has to largely follow their orders if they issue diktats, but I think you misrepresent the degree to which it is a distinct "thing" in quite significant ways (certainly in terms of distinct culture and corporate structure.) Some subsidiaries are very independent from their parent.
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April 12th, 2019, 04:12
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I don't think that's true. As I understand it, Bioware is a subsidiary company, with its own revenue, employees, premises, IPs, and even its own subsidiaries. It's owned by EA, and obviously has to largely follow their orders if they issue diktats, but I think you misrepresent the degree to which it is a distinct "thing" in quite significant ways (certainly in terms of distinct culture and corporate structure.) Some subsidiaries are very independent from their parent.
Their ruse is working.

A couple of decent searches will show you IP ownership, revenue, employee shuffling etc. If you are connected with any employee via LinkedIn, ask them who deposits the salary. It's not Bioware, it's EA.
Like i said, its totally ok for people to think that. But it's mostly wishful thinking.
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April 12th, 2019, 05:05
Originally Posted by Wisdom View Post
Their ruse is working.

A couple of decent searches will show you IP ownership, revenue, employee shuffling etc. If you are connected with any employee via LinkedIn, ask them who deposits the salary. It's not Bioware, it's EA.
Like i said, its totally ok for people to think that. But it's mostly wishful thinking.
Well, I don't know about the "ruse", but when you say that Bioware does not have its own revenue, its own employees, etc, and that it's not a "thing", I think you're wrong about that. Apparently Bioware was listed as one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers 2018". They certainly have their own premises and management, and I think a subsidiary company will always have its own revenue. Bioware is unquestionably a distinct but wholly-owned company, whether or not EA is exercising a light touch or tight control. In light of performance in the last few years, I can imagine it has shifted towards the latter.
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April 12th, 2019, 05:24
Yeah BioWare is a subsidiary of EA, not a division. Which means it is a separate entity legally. But not sure that means much in practice. I read Wisdom's post as just saying that there is no real differentiation between BioWare and EA because BioWare is just as controlled by EA as any other EA development team would be. Don't see any reason that wouldn't be true. EA has dozens of subsidiaries and probably all their games are developed by one or another.

Let's take a random game that's more associated with the "EA" label than a BioWare game might be. How about the FIFA games, since they were mentioned in that recent article about Anthem. Those are currently developed by "Electronic Arts Romania SRL" which is just another subsidiary of EA, listed in the same list of subsidiaries (from their 2018 annual report) that BioWare is. Anyone want to argue that Electronic Arts Romania has real independence because it's a subsidiary with its own premises, employees, management, and revenue? Didn't think so.
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April 12th, 2019, 05:38
Well, that's not my argument, and not my point. I'm disputing this:
Originally Posted by Wisdom View Post
I'm saying Bioware has no employees, Bioware has no revenue, Bioware doesnt make decisions, Bioware doesnt develop or own IP, Bioware isn't a "thing". For all intents and purposes, Bioware is the name of a rotating scrum team.
I'm saying that's demonstrably factually incorrect, and I think it overstates the case. If you want to say that Bioware is so tightly controlled by its EA parent that it has no independence worth talking about, that's possibly true, but I don't think we have enough evidence to conclude that, or that there is a ruse being performed.
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April 12th, 2019, 05:59
Ok, but I can't think of any real reason, for any purposes we care about here, to differentiate between the employees and revenue belonging to either BioWare or EA in a legal sense. It's EA in the end either way.

One major difference between BioWare and the majority of the dozens of other EA subsidiaries that make all their other games, is that they haven't yet renamed "BioWare" to "EA BioWare" or "EA Edmonton" or something along those lines. Even though it would change nothing in reality, I think we probably wouldn't be having this conversation if they already had.
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April 12th, 2019, 06:15
Well, I think it does speak to the core of the question, which is how much of a distinct entity Bioware is. The picture being painted is that Bioware is nothing more than a label, and I think it's clearly still more than that. I think the article about the Anthem debacle illustrated that there is quite a clear demarcation between Bioware and the EA mothership, and that a fair bit of the the blame lies with Bioware specifically.

With subsidiaries, there is obviously a spectrum between almost autonomous and nothing but a legal conceit. Naughty Dog, for example, is a subsidiary of Sony, but they've spoken many times about their independence and the lack of interference. I don't think we really know exactly what the circumstances are with Bioware, but the picture I get is that they're still their own entity, to a significant extent. Now, if you wanted to say that they've been infected by EA douchebaggery, that their top talent has gone, and they're no longer the Bioware we knew, I'd agree with that.
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April 12th, 2019, 07:09
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Well, I think it does speak to the core of the question, which is how much of a distinct entity Bioware is. The picture being painted is that Bioware is nothing more than a label, and I think it's clearly still more than that.
Most likely, every single EA game is made by a subsidiary. So how are BioWare games any different in that regard? The point is that them being a subsidiary, in legal terms, doesn't really matter for anything we'd care about here.
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April 12th, 2019, 10:19
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Most likely, every single EA game is made by a subsidiary. So how are BioWare games any different in that regard? The point is that them being a subsidiary, in legal terms, doesn't really matter for anything we'd care about here.
I explained above why I think them being a subsidiary is significant - it factually contradicts the claims made in the argument I'm criticising. When the first claims made to support a point are demonstrably false, and serve a misleading impression, that's obviously relevant to the debate.

As to your first question, I don't see how it supports your point. If every game published by EA is created by a subsidiary, that doesn't tell us anything other than that EA is a publisher. All the subsidiaries could be very independent, or all could be very directly controlled, or there could be a mixture - it tells us nothing about the independence of Bioware specifically. To return to the Sony example, all their games are produced by subsidiaries too, yet there is good evidence that at least Naughty Dog is highly independent, and definitely its own "thing". That doesn't tell us anything about the status of any of their other subsidiaries.

The impression I get, and I think it tallies with the recent articles, is that Bioware is somewhere in the middle. I think it is moderately independent, and works on its own ideas and creates IPs, but that it is also often pulled around by the demands of the parent - using a prescribed engine, focusing on "live services", etc.
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April 12th, 2019, 12:23
Still not sure I follow. What I see is Wisdom saying EA and BioWare are one in the same, then you saying "no, BioWare is a subsidiary of EA", then I say that for all intents and purposes on these forums, it doesn't matter if they're a subsidiary, that just makes them the same as the rest of EA because everyone who develops games for EA is a subsidiary. Then you seem to even be agreeing with that:

Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
If every game published by EA is created by a subsidiary, that doesn't tell us anything other than that EA is a publisher.
Yep, indeed, BioWare being a subsidiary doesn't tell us anything at all - exactly my point. But yeah if Wisdom was being literal then you're right and he's wrong, I just don't see the distinction mattering for our purposes. Anyway this is pointless to keep going in circles about.
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April 12th, 2019, 12:51
Originally Posted by Stingray View Post
Still not sure I follow. What I see is Wisdom saying EA and BioWare are one in the same, then you saying "no, BioWare is a subsidiary of EA", then I say that for all intents and purposes on these forums, it doesn't matter if they're a subsidiary, that just makes them the same as the rest of EA because everyone who develops games for EA is a subsidiary. Then you seem to even be agreeing with that:
I think the point is fairly straightforward, and I don't think it's semantic.

Wisdom's claim is that Bioware is no more than "a rotating scrum team", with no employees, no revenue, etc, and that the idea of Bioware as its own entity is a ruse by which some of us are duped. That's quite a large claim, and some of the facts contradict it. The form of my argument is not "Bioware is a subsidiary therefore it's fully independent" , but rather, "We don't really know how independent Bioware is, but being a separate subsidiary company contradicts some of those specific claims that are being used to portray it as no more than a rotating team within EA." I think my earlier post was quite clear about that.

But I think we are getting overly fixated on that specific point. What I'm disagreeing with is the idea that "EA and Bioware are one and the same" - I think there's good reason to think Bioware is a discrete entity, and that some of the recent coverage attests to that by discussing the tensions between Bioware and EA itself.
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April 12th, 2019, 13:52
EA let their studios run independently, it's like they kept the publisher/contract studio model with their studios. It doesn't work like Ubisoft where all Ubisoft studios are like a huge monolithic entity spread across the world.

BioWare ex-studio manager (Aaron Flynn) loved to say that they always gave you enough rope to hang yourself with it. It was Aaron who decided to go with Frostbite for all of BioWare games starting with DAI as an example.

Even the "all games need live services/multiplayer" isn't really a company line, but studios have to justify the budget they ask for and EA goes" our analytics says live services makes lots of monies for Ubisoft, Activision and FIFA" so studios feel forced to add it in to compete.
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April 12th, 2019, 14:07
I'm back with more articles.

EA, Let My Bioware Go - The Koalition
EA needs to understand what happened with the release of Anthem, and see that fans want (and expect) better from a studio like Bioware. If you want to make money, you need to allow Bioware to steer their games in their own creative direction. Give them the freedom to develop the games they want, with the engines that are necessary for the job. And if you canít do that, then let Bioware go. Sell them to a company who understands the value in prioritizing creativity.

Of course, this will not happen. Because executives canít deal with the humiliation of a rival company profiting from supportive fans, all because the rival company understood what they didnít.

Electronic Arts would rather see a studio crumble to pieces than allow its strength to shine. They want studios to produce games the way they view as the profitable way, and if the studio canít do that then itís completely acceptable to burn them to the ground.

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the video games business in 2019.
Bioware Proves It's Time for the Game Industry to Unionize - Bad Bit Games
More and more, companies try to give the idea of unionization a bad name, which makes one wonder why? Many industries have unions like construction, film, teachers, writers, and even your local supermarket. The basic function and the reason why unions exist in the first place to make sure wages are fair. Which in the era where more and more games are seeing loot boxes or microtransactions in games, which is already a billion-dollar industry in itself. One would think that some of that income trickles down to the individual, like books sales or the reruns of on tv, but they donít. A lot of hires are usually contract work, so by the time one is finished with a game, theyíre usually looking for another job. The other basic function is to help create safe work environments and healthier work hours, which at this point in the article its obviously not.

What Iím not saying is that unionization is the end all be all. It is not the sole fix the industry needs. There are downsides to the idea of unions, but the one thing developers have begun to notice are that big publishers donít care for the idea. Big companies within the industry are resistant to unionization and out right against the idea entirely. One must ask themselves why? I think the answer lays with the status quo, is fine the way it is right now for a big publisher. The relationship from the outside looking in seems completely one sided.
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April 12th, 2019, 17:48
Alright, last post on the matter from me. You can believe whatever makes it warm and fuzzy for you. If it makes you happy to think that "any day now" Bioware could just break free of the EA chains and create the best experience ever.. then great!

Any actual developer, employee or shareholder can verify any of this information. Its not wishful thinking, its fact.
Any talking head position (CEO, CFO, CMO, SSH, SSM) will let the lines blur between labels. Its intentional.

The negotiations to purchase Bioware and Pandemic started long before 2007. When EA finalized the purchase of VGH they "paid" 860m of which a staggering 420million was "goodwill". Goodwill includes the brand value and the fuzzy warm feelings you get when you see the word Bioware stamped on your screen. (Coincidentally 100% of the IP's owned by Bioware were transferred unequivocally to EA at this time.)

Your comments about it operating independently (ignoring the fact that Bioware as a legal entity had already ceased to exist) retained some validity from 2008-2011. 2010/11 was the first major restructure that absorbed the majority of remaining autonomy that Bioware was used to. It was also the last time "Bioware" filed separate earnings. Even this last filing was not the full contingent of Bioware staff, but more of a Mass Effect earnings report filed as Bioware earnings.

From 2010-2014 it bumbled along, still enjoying the goodwill from the brand, further promoted by the creation of Bioware Montreal, Bioware Sacremento, Bioware Mythic, Bioware SanFran. During the bumble period they rotated devlopers in and out of the teams including from Waystone, Victory and EA Mobile groups. (Don't forget the majority of these studios were closed or reabsorbed by end of 2014/15)

2013 they dropped part of the charade and amalgamated all the remaining studios into the EA Labels. Any "Bioware" staff working on mobile/social projects were assigned to EA All Play division, and any remaining were assigned to EA Games label (renamed to EA Studios 2 years later). It was also the start of the "One EA" internal restructure that wouldn't be named One EA until later. Essentially agile principles that removed borders between divisions. ALL IP's, trademarks etc were reassigned according to EA label but still owned wholly by EA.

From 2013 - today Bioware is considered a project team and a label that is stamped on the final consumer product to enjoy the last vestiges of the goodwill they purchased. The "One EA" principle in the last three years has been evident in any division with cross team function, outsourcing, reused code, online services, software metrics etc.

I will agree there are developers that would like to build RPGs that work on the Bioware team. I will agree that there are developers that do not like Frostbite. I will agree that official talking head positions reinforce the idea that they produce their own products.

I do not agree with the fantasy that Bioware still exists in any form comparable to 2000's Bioware. When news companies post articles about the struggling Bioware and how they yearn to be free from EA, its a mythconseption and based on wishful thinking and creative writing.

PS. Someone posted above that "online services is not a company line". I would find that debatable. 2018 financials for EA find Net Revenue from services exceed Net Revenue from Products for the first time. (Edit - I was incorrect, it didn't exceed technically, they ended up deferring 30mil of service income in the final report for 2018 or it would have exceeded. It ended up Product 2.58b Service 2.56b), it was 2017 was almost neck and neck. Products 2.6billion, Services 2.2 billion. Compare this with Cost of Revenue where Products is twice what Services is…. Its not hard to see why every single organizational goal has been redesigned to include the words "games and services". Lack of successful service is even one of their largest identified risks.

Spoiler – "Risk"


Even better is their overarching value commitment
Spoiler – Live Service Commitment
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April 12th, 2019, 18:00
Yep it's EA as the CEO called consumers stupid as we don't know what we want. That same CEO said pure single-player is dead as it's not profitable for the company.

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April 12th, 2019, 18:57
This is boiling down to the Ship of Theseus debate asking if a ship can still be called that if all of its components replaced.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus

One of my favourite posits, is if all of its old timbers were used to rebuild it, is it the ship or the ship that was still called it the ship?
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