John Riccitiello said:
"Change if you must, Will, but
Don't go away!"
Ace game designer Will
Wright took appraisal, then --
Shig'u Mi-YA-moto! --
Said: "I (Will) stay."
-- Double dactyl by Anders Bylund, ten seconds ago
Would you bank on a team that just lost the star player on its roster? The Miami Heat are nothing if you eliminate Dwayne Wade. Michael Jordan had an all-star cast around him in the '90s Chicago Bulls -- but His Airness was still unarguably the difference-maker. Nobody would bet on a leaderless team.
So this week, as legendary video game designer Will Wright leaves the payroll of Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts, formerly known as the #1 video game publisher in the world, has lost its crown to Activision-Blizzard
Well, the sky would normally be crashing down on EA's heads. Except that Will didn't exactly move a million miles away. Wright's new project -- named after his prize-winning Robot Wars team, the Stupid Fun Club -- is actually a joint venture. EA and Will Wright each hold a 50% stake in the company, and EA has right of first refusal to "develop game concepts that spring from Stupid Fun Club projects."
This means greater creative freedom for Wright -- if EA doesn't like his ideas, he can take them elsewhere. And a 50% stake in the business gives Wright a massive say on pretty much everything. Also, he leaves many of his former employees behind at EA, where he spent more than a decade building awesome games -- and networking. Expect EA to snap up the majority of Wright's forthcoming ideas.
Will Wright stands shoulder to shoulder with true legends of video gaming, such as Nintendo's (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) Shigeru Miyamoto (the man behind Super Mario, Zelda, Wii Fit, and more) and Sid Meier (Pirates!, the Civilization series, and others), who now works for Take-Two.
The JV looks like a brainiac move for all parties involved. EA gets a guaranteed flow of fresh game seeds, Wright strikes it rich -- and if everything works out to plan, so will shareholders when those seeds bloom and bear fruit. With sequels.
Further stupid fun Foolishness:
Take-Two Interactive Software is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Nintendo are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter service free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Take-Two, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. He is a huge fan (6'5") of all the great game developers mentioned, though. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.