In gaming, few companies are as influential and successful as Microsoft and EA. Both have made significant contributions to the industry, with Microsoft known for its Xbox console and EA for its popular game franchises like FIFA, Madden NFL, and The Sims.
With their respective achievements, it’s natural for people to wonder if there is any connection between the two giants, leading to the question, does Microsoft own EA?
To answer this question, we will explore these companies’ history, collaborations, partnerships, and much more. Now let’s kick off our discussion by answering the question,
Does Microsoft own EA?
No, Microsoft does not own EA. Many wrongfully assume that Microsoft owns EA because of their extensive and successful partnership. However, that’s not true.
As a publicly traded company, EA has numerous shareholders, and its ownership is not limited to a single entity. Anyone can invest in EA and become a shareholder.
While Microsoft holds a portion of shares in EA, these two companies are completely different entities with separate operations and structures.
A Brief Background Of EA
The company was established in 1982 by William M. (“Trip”) Hawkins, an entrepreneur with a vision for creating immersive and innovative gaming experiences.
Throughout its history, EA has become known for its diverse product line, which includes popular franchises such as The Sims, Battlefield, Mass Effect, and Madden NFL.
Its headquarter is in Redwood City, California, has been at the forefront of the gaming industry for several decades.
The company’s commitment to delivering high-quality games that cater to a broad audience has earned it a loyal fan base and numerous accolades.
Before establishing EA, William M. Hawkins had worked at Apple Inc. However, in 1982, he decided to venture out independently and founded Amazin’ Software.
Later that same year, the company was rebranded as Electronic Arts, marking the beginning of a new era in the gaming industry.
A Brief Background On Microsoft
Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975, Microsoft Corporation is a global technology company known for its software products and services. ‘
While the company initially gained prominence through its operating systems (OS), like MS-DOS and later Windows, it gradually expanded to encompass various sectors such as productivity software, cloud computing, hardware, and gaming.
Microsoft entered the gaming industry in 2001 with the launch of the original Xbox console. Despite stiff competition from established players like Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft’s dedication to innovation and strategic acquisitions helped solidify its position in the gaming market.
Notable acquisitions like Rare, Mojang, and ZeniMax Media allowed Microsoft to gain ownership of iconic gaming franchises and studios.
Moreover, the integration of Xbox Live, an online gaming service, and Xbox Game Pass, a subscription-based gaming service offering a vast library of games, cement its place in the gaming ecosystem.
So Who Owns EA?
As mentioned earlier, Electronic Arts is a publicly traded company with a diverse ownership structure.
The majority of the company’s shares, 89.12%, are owned by institutional shareholders, including pension funds, mutual funds, and other large investment firms.
In addition to institutional shareholders, EA has 1.67% of shares owned by insiders directly affiliated with the company, such as executives or board members.
Retail investors, which include individual investors and small investment firms, make up 9.21% of Electronic Arts’ ownership. These retail investors are typically smaller players in the market but can still significantly impact the stock’s performance.
Among all shareholders, the largest individual shareholder of Electronic Arts is the Public Investment Fund, which owns 24.81M shares representing 9.10% of the company.
The current valuation of their EA shares at $3.40B further underscores their substantial financial investment in the company.
How Much Is EA Worth?
Market capitalization is often used as a key metric when determining the worth of a company. It represents the total value of a company and is calculated by multiplying the current stock price by the number of shares outstanding.
As of July 21, 2023, the net worth of EA was reported to be $37.3 billion. The figure signifies the company’s overall value in terms of its assets, revenue, and market position.
While EA’s current net worth on July 21, 2023, provides an accurate snapshot of its value at that specific moment, it is subject to change based on market dynamics and company performance.
Partnership Between Microsoft And EA
The collaboration between Microsoft and EA was a strategic move to benefit both parties involved by leveraging their strengths to create innovative gaming experiences for players worldwide.
To provide Xbox Game Pass subscribers with added value, EA collaborated with Microsoft to offer the basic EA Play service at no extra charge. Xbox Game Pass subscribers can now access a library of EA games as part of their subscription.
The feature was made available to Xbox users on November 10, 2020, coinciding with the release of the Xbox Series X/S.
However, the launch for Windows was postponed from its initial date of December 15, 2020, and rescheduled for March 18, 2021.
Microsoft’s Acquisitions in the Gaming Industry
Microsoft has made several significant acquisitions in the gaming industry over the years, solidifying its position as a major player in the console and PC gaming market. Here are some of the acquisitions made by the tech giant.
Rare is known for creating iconic titles such as Banjo-Kazooie and GoldenEye 007. Microsoft acquired Rare in 2002, aiming to strengthen its first-party game development capabilities.
Although Rare’s output has been relatively limited recently, they continue contributing to Microsoft’s gaming ecosystem with games like Sea of Thieves.
Microsoft’s announcement to acquire Activision Blizzard in 2022 for approximately $68.7 billion represents one of the most significant acquisitions in the gaming industry’s history.
Activision Blizzard is responsible for popular franchises such as “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft,” and “Overwatch.”
If completed, this acquisition would grant Microsoft ownership over a vast array of successful titles, studios, and a massive player base, solidifying its position as a dominant force in the gaming industry.
Mojang, a Swedish game development studio, became famous for creating the immensely popular sandbox game “Minecraft.”
In 2014, Microsoft acquired Mojang for approximately $2.5 billion, which surprised many due to Mojang’s early resistance to corporate involvement.
Nonetheless, Microsoft’s acquisition allowed them to harness the massive Minecraft community and integrate the game into their platforms, including Xbox and Windows.
ZeniMax Media (Bethesda, id Software, Arkane)
In 2020, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, id Software, Arkane Studios, and other notable game developers, for approximately $7.5 billion.
This purchase provided Microsoft with ownership of highly acclaimed franchises such as “The Elder Scrolls,” “Fallout,” “Doom,” and “Prey.”
4 More Games To Shut Down By EA
Electronic Arts announced the closure of online services for four of its games, as is common in the gaming industry.
The affected titles include Syndicate, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Shadows of the Damned, and Warp.
Removing online services is common for aging games as players migrate to newer titles, making online features less necessary for older ones.
Some famous games, like Battlefield: Bad Company 2, will be delisted, making digital copies unavailable.
While the Shadows of the Damned, Warp and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning are backwards compatible on modern Xbox consoles, digital purchases for Syndicate, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and Shadows of the Damned will no longer be possible. However, Warp can still be obtained on PC via Steam.
Does Microsoft own EA? As seen in this piece, Microsoft does not own EA. However, they have a long-standing partnership and have collaborated on various projects, which has led to exclusive game releases and features for the Xbox platform.
Additionally, Microsoft has made other strategic partnerships and acquisitions in the gaming industry, such as acquiring game development studios like Mojang and Rare strengthening their position in the industry.