EA Acquires Criterion StudiosIn a surprising move, EA today confirmed the acquisition of the talented Criterion Studios from Canon Europe; the studio behind the popular Burnout series and the highly acclaimed RenderWare Middleware package, used to create such titles as the GTA series and many more. The deal comes after EA snatched Burnout3 from the publishing duties of Acclaim, and grants EA Criterion’s Studio in Guildford; the Burnout series and the all-new title “Black”, along with more importantly rights to the RenderWare technology. "This is a great fit," said EA Chairman and CEO Larry Probst. "Criterion offers us studio talent and a proven management team, globally recognized intellectual property and technology infrastructure that will accelerate our readiness on the next generation of consoles." Although EA plans to combine its technology to create a common framework through the forthcoming RenderWare 4 package, the US giant did confirm that it still plans to continue licensing the technology to the hundreds of other developers that make critical use of it to create their titles – surely you can hear the collective sigh of relief from anxious RockStar executives. "Combining EAs tools and technology libraries with the existing RenderWare technologies will create a superior platform for game development," said Criterion CEO David Lau-Kee. "This system will provide the most powerful common technological framework for creating great games. Our work on RenderWare4, combined with EAs next generation efforts, will also boost development efforts on the next generation of consoles which are expected to debut over the next two years." "Our mission has always been to create exciting new franchises that appeal to the widest possible audience," said Fiona Sperry, Head of Criterion Games. "Within EA, we can now secure our future as one of the worlds leading development studios." Criterion will be managed from EAs UK Studio in nearby Chertsey, Surrey; the RenderWare business will remain in the UK at a separate location. RenderWare will be managed apart from EAs local studios. The acquisition is expected to close in 30-45 days, subject to regulatory clearances.