Consolidation is a necessity in the crowded computer games marketplace, and now two of the liveliest players, Electronic Arts Inc and Maxis Inc, are to merge. San Mateo-based Electronic Arts will purchase Maxis Inc, of Walnut Creek, California, in common stock transactions worth $125m. Electronic Arts specializes in interactive online games running on multiple platforms, and its titles include FIFA Soccer, PGA Golf and Road Rash. Maxis, of course, is famous for its PC-based Sim City city building game and its various spin-offs, which have sold over 7 million units. Sim City 3000 is due to be previewed in two weeks time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, and is due to ship in the months before Christmas. Electronic Arts, which posted revenues of $625m in fiscal 1997, has stonger distribution channels, particularly outside of the US, and believes the Maxis purchase will help it achieve critical mass and takes its business to the next level. Maxis has 230 employees and revenues of $48m. Electronic Arts has acquired best selling games before: in 1992 it picked up Wing Commander III from Origin Systems Inc by acquiring the company for $35m (CI No 2,006).