Rumors of a buyout have kicked into high gear ever since the alleged marketer purportedly came clean about his work for EA. A lot of what was detailed in his post was very interesting, and a lot of the information at least lined up. Meaning that if he were trolling he did enough homework and enough actual work (and spending his own money to give away games on Origin) to basically turn his troll into a legitimate job. Alternatively, it actually could have been his job.
Anyways, according to the confessions of the EA viral marketer, his boss slightly alluded to EA being on the prowl for a fan-favorite company, saying "EA's going to buyout another firm soon and a lot of people won't be happy about it."
It's complete speculation and hearsay, however it's not unlikely. Also, keep in mind that EA's main goal is be the number one in the world and that means beating out Activision with something hard hitting enough to further eat into the market share value of Call of Duty. And as we all know, EA had said it themselves that Battlefield 3 was the first step in eating into CoD's market value, and they plan to continue the assault until Call of Duty dies.
First and foremost, we all know Valve is off the table, they're worth more than EA can afford at an estimated $4 billion according to Hooked Gamers. Now for those who read about the comments from the ex-viral marketer, they've mostly jumped to the speculation train that THQ's financial woes make them a prime target for EA...or rather, THQ's assets. NeoGaf has a lengthy discussion about Volition, Vigil or Relic Entertainment being prime suspects for EA. This carries some weight given that Vigil's upcoming DarkSiders 2 is already being pegged as a potential unit-mover, and of course, Volition Software's Saints Row franchise could help put EA back in the running within the open-world market, competing against Activision's Protoype and Take-Two's Grand Theft Auto. The only reason all THQ's high-profile, core assets may be off the table is because the company's financial bleeding came from poor casual and social game sales, not their core sales. In fact, Saints Row: The Third and WWE 12 are what saved them in 2011, so it's highly unlikely that the company would sell off assets that could keep them afloat.
Speaking of GTA...according to JoyStiq, Take-Two Interactive's Q3 2011 performance was down year-over-year, and despite their being the reasonable explanation that they didn't have anything in the previous year quite as hard hitting as Red Dead or Grand Theft Auto, investors and shareholders don't care about stuff like that, they only care about the numbers. In such regards, with an estimated 2012 revenue forecast of $790 to $840 million, which is almost equivalent to what EA spends on marketing. Meaning, EA could sweep in once again like they did back in 2008, as reported by PC Mag, to try to take over Take-Two and more importantly, their highly beloved subsidiary Rockstar Games. This would finally put EA in control of one of the most popular and influential gaming properties in the history of the business...Grand Theft Auto. Most people are pinpointing this as the possible buyout attempt, but I'm doubting Dan Houser and crew from Rockstar would be willing to cave in like that, especially knowing that EA would drive the property into the ground with more microtransactions than a Nexon game and more disc-locked content than a Capcom title. Heck, they'll probably be the first software company to make you pay real money to take a hooker for a "ride". Is that even legal?
Anyways, a few other names were tossed up around the discussion table, including a company who has a very, very, very dedicated fanbase as of late, CD Projekt Red. These guys are responsible for the DRM-free digital distribution company Good Old Games, and have become renowned for offering great products at can't-beat-prices without punishing paying consumers the way AAA publishers do with DRM, Online Passes, and always-on security protocols. If EA decided to pick up CD Projekt Red it would be big moral blow to the community given that it would put EA in control of properties such as The Witcher and potentially leverage them on the digital distribution front with Good Old Games and Origin.
One of the last and least of the bunch is Obsidian. They've earned a lot of respect from gamers for making popular sequels based on established franchises, such as Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic and Fallout: New Vegas, but they've also been criticized heavily for their lack of quality assurance, which turns out is the publisher's job, according to inXile's Brian Fargo. Anyways, the only reason people aren't too keen on this being the case is that Obsidian is like a poor man's version of BioWare, and if EA is attempting to create a public monopoly on the software publishing industry, it doesn't seem likely that they would bring in another company equivalent to one they already have.
The final rumored buyout from EA is completely different from what a lot of people might be expecting. Some have gathered that it could be a fan-favorite Japanese firm such as FromSoftware, the guys who brought you Dark Souls, or perhaps Platinum Games the talented folk behind Vanquish and Bayonetta. It seems unlikely but knowing EA, it's not impossible.
If the buyout rumors are true, who do you think they would go after to further their market share value and increase their profitability?