decade seems to have been the decade of mergers. We can't live
now a day without hearing about some company merging with another,
creating a bigger company. It's a sad fact, but it's true, and
it affects us all whether we know of the company or not. Sometimes
you buy products from a company you don't even know of.
of game context, take Sylvania the lighting company-a very popular
company. You buy lightbulbs because you need them. You probably
don't even know this company has a parent. It does, and that company
is Siemens; another big and popular company with a wide range
of services and products. It's fortunate that both of these companies
stand out on their own, but in the game industry, things can seem
a lot different.
Arts over the years has acquired companies like Maxis and Westwood.
We often hope when our favourite game companies are taken over
by a bigger corporation that their identity will remain intact.
But that's not always what happens. We were holding our breath
with these two companies when they were bought by EA and now that
EA owns them, we have seen many mistakes come from them-especially
with Westwood games. Many don't have to argue that fact. Just
recently EA announced that they would be merging all their brand
identities into one single identity called EA Games. Now I don't
know about anybody else, but me, I like to know where my games
are coming from. Quite frankly, all this merging into one identity
has been the Pioneer in arcade racing sims starting with the Original
Test Drive. And with #4, they went downhill and have since merged
with Infogrames to become 'Infogrames North America'. Henceforth,
they lost their original identity making games as part of the
Infogrames lineup instead of their own creations like they used
to. Last week, Infogrames announced that Infogrames Entertainment
Inc and Infogrames North America would merge into one identity.
What does that mean? Accolade gets mashed twice! (Note: If I am
wrong about this statement, I will retract it)
mergers or reorganizations, one of the many things that come with
it is a relocation-and relocations are not an easy thing for employees
to deal with. People often get thrown around or even worse, get
layed off. Take Sierra for example. The original Sierra location
is in Oakhurst California. That's where it all started. It was
more than 2 years ago when Sierra decided an organization was
in order. They had split the company into mini divisions called,
Sierra Attractions, Sierra Home, Sierra Sports, Sierra Studios,
and Yosemite Entertainment (that being the original Oakhurst location).
Yosemite Entertainment was making the Babylon 5 sim and Navy Seals,
as well as "The Realm", but the Babylon 5 game was probably the
most noteable title in their queue. Sierra had assured them that
they could keep working on the Babylon 5 game and stay where they
are. Well, surprise surprise! A year later Sierra decides to kill
off Yosemite Entertainment and tons of people lose their jobs
although some of them were given a choice to relocate. This was
called Chainsaw Monday: a very grim day for employees of Sierra
and the gaming industry. And amidst those people layed off were
long time employees who have helped shape Sierra into what it
had become. In addition, it also killed off Babylon 5, which was
a game that was most certainly quite anticipated. Fans have shown
their outcry and have started a campaign for revival. This affects
us all, and quite frankly, it sucks!
good news is that Codemasters, a company once devoted to only
racing titles has bought Yosemite Entertaiment and hired some
of the people that had lost their jobs by Sierra and has continued
work on Navy Seals and took over The Realm, but there is still
no sign of Babylon 5. Hopefully that is a surprise they are keeping
under wraps. But at least these employees have a job.
was a rumour awhile back stating that Infogrames would possibly
aquire Eidos. That is French meeting English head on. 'Frenglish'
if you prefer the classy lingo. There's something to think about
if this were to even happen. First of all, would Eidos keep its
identity? Would it be run independantly? What would become of
the contrast between the two companies? I doubt the acquisition
will ever happen, because as I see it, both companies are in a
struggle-not just Eidos. But it's interesting to think about nevertheless.
all these changes, we don't quite know what we're getting. Sometimes
quality is sacrificed even though there is enough money for a
merger. With all these changes, the customer gets confused about
who the company really is and I don't doubt that employees are
also confused about where they are really working. I just wish
companies would stand still for once and realize what they are
doing when a merger occurs and whether it's good or not for a
company. It hurts the industry and quite frankly it sucks!
Tuned for Part II coming soon!
Next Week - Happy Gaming!