Electronic Arts seems to have a reputation for buying successful gaming companies and eventually closing them. This appears to be what has happened with Maxis Emeryville, the developer of SimCity.
The games created at Maxis will still be around and they remain the property of EA. But, the development process of those games is being folded into EA’s other development studios.
The basic reason for closing Maxis is poor performance. The games from the Maxis studio were not paying the return on investment expected. Recent roll outs were handled poorly. Mostly described in gaming circles as: debacles.
In a free market there is always pressure to make the most efficient use of time, money, and human resources. In socialist and large government systems efficiency is not an issue. They just raise taxes and keep on with programs and agencies that don’t work, cost too much, and everyone knows they aren’t providing the benefits planned. In the free market someone gets fired, goes bankrupt, and learns how to do better next time.
So, while it seems sad, the closing will send the bright minds to new projects where they will be free to create new fun games.
I suppose many will wonder how this applies to Second Life and the Next New Thing… SL2, as I label it. I think it shows the pressure the Lab is under to succeed. It paints a picture of what people are up against if SL2 is not a success. Investors will be questioning the ability of this team to give them return on investment.
Other than showing us outsiders some of the motivations behind their efforts, I doubt it tells us much of anything specific.