What do two companies that have successful existing intellectual properties but no earthly idea of how to grow themselves and their fanbases because of
1. The IP’s inherent inability to grow any further
2. The IP’s original creators having either left, descended into cocaine or just plain turned crap
3. The fanbase’s stable but culturally solidified state
do about it?
Bioware, a company which specialises in D+D roleplaying game conversions and has had massive trouble with getting its own independent IPs to be successful (Jade Empire: lukewarm, Mass Effect:likely the same). So what do they do? Merge with Pandemic. Who, by the way, have nothing whatsoever to do with Bioware’s core kind of game, so the merger is basically the same as a cheese company and a soup company merging on the basis that they both make food, and therefore their experience is valuable to each other. It is only if you want to make choup.
The newest, even more hilarious merge is that of CCP (they of the moderately successful EVE Online who clearly have some money but no second-game strategy) to merge with White Wolf (a company’s whose main successful product line self-detonated about three years ago and has provided the fodder for a couple of unsuccessful cross media efforts, other roleplaying games likewise, and whose forays into markets have essentially been creatively stalled since about 1994).
It’s a match made in heaven. The rpg’s answer to the Sisters of Mercy is teaming up to fight crime with the MMOG Elite guys. Surely the fruition of this creative genius will create…. um… Vampires in Space? World of Dullness MMOG? Superheroes of the Exalted World of Darkness in Space?
Rule number Three since this seems to be a theme: When two developers merge it’s because one of them has no money and both have no ideas (but the money developer’s CEO hasn’t done his homework and doesn’t realise). These mergers ALWAYS fail, resulting in one of the companies getting eaten by the other and a consequent large staff overhead that dwindles resources, brand values and all the rest of it.
What they should actually do is this: CCP should keep working on making a better EVE and their owners should found a new company instead to develop a new idea. EVE is about to have some actual competition for the first time since it launched (Firefly etc) and if they’re not ready then they’re going to lose out Big Time. Meanwhile White Wolf should be left to die a long-overdue death because their properties have close to zero value in the clear light of day.
They won’t. What they will do is work on some half-assed project for three years, spend every penny they own and end up selling the remaining hulk to whomever wants it, having lost EVE’s salient advantage to more focussed companies and spend as long trying to figure out a way to make the Vampire bell ring, which it ceased doing a very long time ago.
You heard it here first sports fans.