Business Insider has an interview with the father of the Ultima franchise, Richard Garriott, dealing with his career, from Richard's humble beginnings to his current interest in social games. Here's on the acquisition of Origins by Electronic Arts:
BI: How did you come to sell Origin to Electronic Arts in 1992?
RG: We were looking for a bigger partner. Origin was always one of the top ten game makers from the beginning, and as an industry matures, ten isn't enough. As the big box retailers like Wal-Mart were coming into existence, they would buy their games from a variety of sources, they would talk to big companies like EA and other big distributors but they didn't want to talk to every game maker that existed or buy the product from every game maker because suppose you're a small game maker that shipped them one game but it didn't sell, and they may need to return them, but if you only have one product in your stable, it's too risky to buy from you. You really needed to be in the top 3 as the industry began to shake out and it became obvious to us that since we weren't in the top 3, we had to find a consortium of a group of us to create a top three or sell to a top three.
For a six-month period we went on a diligent process of looking for options, we debated on merging with Broderbund and a couple of other smaller companies that would have put us in the top three but at the time, EA was the best match.
BI: As part of that deal, did you relinquish the rights to the Ultima brand?
RG: I did. Up until that moment, I owned Ultima personally -- Origin didn't own it. When we began the talks, EA didn't know I owned it personally. They said, "If we acquire Origin, the only value of a company other than it's people, are it's intellectual properties." That was Ultima, which I owned, and Wing commander, which Chris Roberts owned. They said, "The discussions are going to stop here unless we roll those into the deal, because otherwise we're acquiring nothing." It was clear that was the only option.