Illustration for article titled EA Once Turned Houser Away

Many analysts have theorized that Electronic Arts' ongoing bid for Take-Two has quite a lot to do with the talent in the Rockstar stable. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Rockstar's Sam Houser reveals he actually wanted to work for EA in the 1990s - and was rejected for a job.

Now, though, Houser tells the WSJ that in the event of an acquisition by EA, Houser wouldn't mind being "a much smaller fish in a much bigger pond."

The "talent" at Rockstar, as they're called internally, make star-caliber money and might find EA's more traditional pay structure jarring. In 2005, a particularly strong year, Take-Two paid royalties of $84 million, according to company filings. The bulk of funds, say people familiar with the matter, went to Mr. Houser and other Rockstar executives. If EA succeeds in acquiring Take-Two, some analysts believe EA's star developers might demand a bigger share of game proceeds.

Another possible kink: Rockstar's history of autonomy. If EA ends up with Take-Two, Mr. Houser says it's unlikely that he would go so far as to seek EA's approval for game content. Still, he calls Mr. Riccitiello "the real deal" and sees some appeal in an EA alliance, which he says would make Rockstar a "much smaller fish in much bigger pond."

"I'm not someone who has any kind of problem with that," says Mr. Houser, who says EA turned him down for a job in the late 1990s.


Studio Is Prize in Takeover Duel [WSJ Online]

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