EA drops Take-Two bid, fumbles Spore

Video game company Electronic Arts' bid to acquire Grand Theft Auto maker Take-Two Interactive has met its timely end, with increasing focus coming to EA for the widespread piracy of its long-awaited Will Wright title Spore.

Last night, Electronic Arts announced that it was terminating discussions with Take-Two that began more than half a year ago. After a series of bids and refusals, EA allowed its takeover bid to expire so Take-Two could present its case for needing a better offer. Considering the materials Take-Two presented, EA backed down.

Following the company's announcement, Take-Two's Chairman Strauss Zelnick released a statement, saying "We remain focused on creating value for our stockholders and our consumers. This has been our goal since EA launched its conditional and unsolicited bid six months ago, a bid which was repeatedly rejected by our stockholders."

While Take-Two is still riding on the success of Grand Theft Auto IV, its successful first person shooter Bioshock is being turned into a Hollywood motion picture. Entertainment industry publication Variety reported that Take-Two received a multi-million dollar advance against gross points on the movie, believed to be the biggest amount advanced on a video game-themed movie in the last three years.

Lately, EA has been concerning itself with the reported piracy of its banner title Spore. TorrentFreak reported this weekend that the highly-anticipated title by Sims creator Will Wright has become the "most pirated game ever." The title has reportedly been downloaded more than half a million times on BitTorrent.

The massive number of downloads has been coupled with a catastrophic user backlash against it for having DRM built into the game. On Amazon.com, for example, the game has received 2,134 one-star reviews out of 2,370. The biggest complaint of users is that the game can only be installed three times per license.

"We simply changed the copy protection method from using the physical media, which requires authentication every time you play the game by requiring a disc in the drive, to one which uses a one-time online authentication," said EA corporate rep Mariam Sughayer in a Gamasutra interview.

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