Valve’s Doug Lombardi Talks About EA And Acquisitions


Valve Vice President Doug Lombardi says things are going pretty well in the company’s new partnership with Electronic Arts, and that he’d be happy to talk to companies interested in acquiring the development studio.

Valve’s new relationship with Electronic Arts is “really good,” Lombardi said in an interview with Gamasutra. “EA was very progressive about saying, ‘We understand who you guys are. We understand what Steam is. We don’t want Steam to go away.’ Well, they might want Steam to go away, but they’re not asking us to make Steam go away.”

Emphasizing the recent “personality change” at EA, Lombardi compared the current situation at EA Partners with Ubisoft and the final glory days of Sierra. “I came out of Sierra, and at the time, Sierra was Half-Life, Homeworld, the Caesar games, and a couple other games that were really great,” he said. “There were some good people there, and if you asked developers and whatnot, ‘What publishers have got things going on?’ they’d say, ‘Oh, I met the guys from Sierra Studios, and they’re really cool, and they’ve got a bunch of great games.'”

“You know, in the late 90s, they [Ubisoft] weren’t the powerhouse that they are today,” he continued. “And EAP has obviously become a powerhouse now, with us, Crytek, Rock Band, the announcement with Carmack and the id guys. So, you know, they’re enjoying some great days, and we enjoy working with them.”

Lombardi also touched on conversations between Valve and id Software regarding id’s decision to publish its upcoming FPS Rage with EA Partners. He said that Gabe Newell, managing director at Valve, had prejudices toward EA similar to those expressed by id’s John Carmack, who in July claimed that until recently, he thought of EA as an “evil empire.” “Gabe had the same reaction when [COO] Scott [Lynch] and I came home from our roadshow of meetings with all the publishers, and we said, ‘We think EA’s the right choice.’ He’s like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!'” Lombardi said.

“But it’s turned out that all those scary stories – which, you know, maybe some of them were true, and maybe some of them are history, I don’t know – haven’t appeared to us; we haven’t seen the boogeyman,” he added.

Despite the current good times, however, Lombardi said he would be “happy to have that conversation” with anyone compared interested in acquiring the studio. “By the same token, the company’s doing pretty well and we’re really happy with what we’re doing,” he said. “So we’ll see. I mean, anything is possible.”

Doug Lombardi’s full interview with Gamasutra can be read here.

About the author