Murdoch may organise a hit on wounded Eidos
Eidos hasn't been in the best of shape recently, shutting down one of Ion Storm's studios in the US and hoping that Hitman fans will buy Blood Money in droves to help revitalise the company's share performance. While EA takes a stake in Ubi Soft instead, the Brit developer has been linked to several other developers but the rumour is that News Corporation may finally buy the studio and give it much-needed new capital.
Tomb Raider and Deus Ex may have both suffered from critical maulings to the last instalments in the past two years, but the intellectual property of long-running and best-selling series are still attractive to the stock market, which is the only opinion that matters once a games company decides to float. Of course, the evergreen Championship Manager brand, even without original developers Sports Interactive, is a regular million-seller. However, even CM wasn't invulnerable to the curse of the past two years which affected the other series. It wasn't helped by less than stellar QA causing 500 bugs in the shipped version, which were solved by five patches. Football fans seem to remain forgiving, but the damage was done to the share performance over the long term. Like Hitman Blood Money, the next version of CM without the Collyer Brothers' oversight will either be the main attraction to Murdoch, or the company's swansong in its currently independent form.
Meanwhile Stock market rival SCi quietly overtook Eidos thanks to the quietly top-selling Conflict Brand which has spawned two Gulf versions and a Vietnam outing, changing markets at the right time, and is now the biggest British games developer in the eyes of the Exchange and greatly helped by overseas tie-ups with developers such as Take Two. If Eidos stayed out of the hands of more predatory buyers, then it will be a new chapter to have an Australian developer in the UK Market.