"More creativity in Europe" - EA

Reckons US is risk-averse.

EA Partners' Nick Button-Brown has told GamesIndustry.biz that he believes European developers are more creative than US studios, as North American teams are focused on making money rather than taking chances.

As director of business development for EA Partners, Button-Brown sees rich pickings in Europe as the publisher continues to work with independent studios - a new deal with a German developer is expected to be announced very soon.

"There's more creativity in Europe than there is in America," said Button-Brown, speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz. "The Americans are much more refined in their processes, it's all about the money. There are less chances taken and there is more money being thrown at developers in the US."

"Taking less chances means there's less failures, but I can't see the US having ever come up with Grand Theft Auto. There are a lot of really good European developers and they all bring slightly different things and there are big cultural differences as well, that they are willing to exploit," he added.

EA is currently working with Germany's Crytek on PC shooter Crysis, and has snapped up RTS specialist Phenomic and Battlefield team Digital Illusions in the past 18 months.

The multiculturalism of Europe is one of the markets strengths, says Button-Brown.

"So many developers are multinational. Go to Crytek and they have 27 national languages there. And that's interesting because they are bringing in so many different areas and ideas to the studio, particularly with the influx of Eastern Europe - you're getting such a wide range of experiences to pick from.

"We like that multiculturalism. What we're getting now are more worldwide titles. We used to have the German industry that produced German titles, the UK would deliver tongue-in-cheek games, but now it's become much more globalised and what we are seeing is European titles that can sell worldwide," he continued.

2007 has been a busy year for consolidation and acquisition in Europe. As well as headline grabbing acquisitions like the Acitivision and Bizarre Creations deal, a number of developers have forged closer relationships with each other to face future challenges.

Gears of War developer Epic Games acquired a majority stake in Polish outfit People Can Fly, and Germany's 10tacle Studios has bought a 29 per cent stake in UK developer Climax, after swooping for Hungarian specialist Stormregion.

But EA Partners isn't put off by the consolidation as it leaves room for new studios to grow. Although Button-Brown admits that EA would rather partner with established teams than start-ups.

"There's still a lot of good European developers out there, they are being bought up with some frequency but that means there's room for new ones to come along as well," he said.

"EA doesn't normally pick up complete start-up developers because it's quite risky, but Crytek is a good example. We signed them up as they finished off Far Cry and they'd done the hard work of setting up the company and we felt they were ready to deliver something big," he added.

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