Thursday, June 25, 2009
Mythic merges with Bioware - Mark Jacob leaving
So the big news is that EA merges their two RPG / MMO subsidiaries Mythic and Bioware. That probably makes business sense, because there are obvious synergies in having all MMOs under the same roof. But of course if you merge two companies, you have one General Manager too much. So Mark Jacobs left EA.
I've read one nasty bunch of comments from people that were previously fired by Mark, and other comments wishing him well for the future. But most comments expressed surprise at him leaving Mythic. Well, I'm not surprised at all.
To me it appears obvious that when EA bought Mythic three years ago, Mark had to give them certain promises about the expected performance of Warhammer Online. We don't know what exactly he promised, but he did publicly announce his criteria for failure: Less than 500,000 subscribers and servers having to merge. Earlier this year EA announced that WAR had 300,000 subscribers, and there were server mergers. Now I'm not saying that Mark is personally responsible for the failure (as defined by his own criteria). But he was the boss. The buck stops here.
I don't know if Mark was pushed or fell on his sword voluntarily. But I do give him credit for this being a lot cleaner than when Vanguard failed and merged with SOE, and all employees were fired on the parking lot. Of course Warhammer Online didn't fail that hard, and is probably even making money. But not as much money as EA required and expected. Being held responsible was part of Mark's job description. Must be hard on him now, but if even Brad McQuaid can stage a comeback, I'm certain that Mark Jacobs will find another good job in the industry.