EA to AOL: Pay to Play, Please

In a sign of how far AOL has fallen in the eyes of just about everybody, video game publishing giant Electronic Arts is asking AOL to pay them to keep EA games a part of AOL’s service.

When AOL was ascendant, it had EA paying it for the privilege of being on the site. Now EA is in the driver’s seat as its place as the pre-eminent worldwide game company continues to solidify. Under the terms of the new agreement AOL will pay a reported $27.5 million for a two-year deal with EA. Previously EA paid AOL $81 million for a five-year deal that began in 1999.

In a related story, Time Warner execs say they want to drop the "AOL" from the company’s current moniker, AOL Time Warner. Since the merger of the two companies in 2001 (the largest corporate merger in history), the fortunes and stock price of the company have been pummeled, largely because of the troubled Internet provider. Many analysts say dropping AOL to a division of Time Warner is symbolic but will do little to alter the challenged economics of the corporation.