EA Licenses Exclusive Star Wars Rights From Disney

Electronic Arts has scored a serious win today, as was announced this afternoon that the publisher has secured a “multi-year” exclusive license to develop new Star Wars games. Coming just 24 hours before the release of its Q4 2013 earnings report, the news is sure to set investors’ minds to rest after a brutal period of layoffs, developer closures, and controversy.

The announcement comes just one month after Disney shut down LucasArts. Under the agreement with EA, while Disney will retain the rights to make Star Wars games for the mobile and social space, EA will “develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres.” In other words, the second largest publisher in the world will essentially own interactive Star Wars for the forseeable future.

EA subsidiaries DICE (Battlefield) and Visceral Games (Dead Space) were confirmed to create new Star Wars games. BioWare was also mentioned in the announcement, though it is unclear at this time if their involvement concerns only further content for Star Wars: The Old Republic, or if they will also be developing other titles in the franchise.

Of particular interest here is the fate of the cancelled “mature” game Star Wars 1313. When LucasArts was killed, Disney kiboshed all existing projects. However, LucasArts reps soon clarified that Disney was “looking for proven external partners who can help us provide video games to our fans,” and that 1313 could be such a project.

A game like 1313 seems a natural fit for Visceral, and as it was already in production at the time LucasArts was shuttered, it would require fewer resources from EA to complete, which is important factoring the no-doubt huge expense of the Disney deal.

For now, however, the press release doesn’t disclose any specific games, nor does it reveal the length of the deal or the amount of money EA spent to acquire it. Despite this, the news has already prompted a positive response from investors. Less than one hour after the announcement, EA’s stock price has climbed almost 2 percent.

With this deal, EA has acquired a huge cache of guaranteed moneymakers at a precarious moment for the company. No doubt we’ll be hearing much more about this at tomorrow’s investor call; be sure to check in with Game Front tomorrow after 3 p.m. PDT for our complete coverage of EA’s Q4 earnings call.

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30 Comments on EA Licenses Exclusive Star Wars Rights From Disney

Kevin

On May 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm

In other words, if you were hoping for a good star wars game (one hasn’t been made since KOTOR2 in er….. 2004/5), EA being at the helm makes it all but certain you WON’T be getting one.

Quinsec

On May 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

We can now look forward to EA spitting out the bad, cash-in games with the launch of the new films. I can’t think of a better publisher for such exploitative titles.

Derek

On May 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I hope DICE does what they do best, multi-player shooters. Perhaps battlefront 3 on the frostbite 3 engine?

lol

On May 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm

@Kevin you are a moron. Guess which publisher owns Bioware who made Kotor?

Also I’m relieved to know no ty Wii-U ports.

Fester

On May 6, 2013 at 4:55 pm

EA didn’t buy bioware until Oct 2007, fyi

Fester

On May 6, 2013 at 4:56 pm

EA didn’t acquire Bioware until Oct 2007, fyi

Martin

On May 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm

To quote Darth Vader from Episode 3- “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!”

Tigerza

On May 6, 2013 at 5:55 pm

@lol Epic Fail on your part, Bioware was bought by EA in 2007, 2 years after KOTOR2

Mr Flibble

On May 6, 2013 at 6:04 pm

This is the only thing worse than there not being any more Star Wars games. I’d rather them just leave it be than to let EA strangle the franchise to death with sub-par titles. I can’t imagine how that conversation had to have gone.

“Hey, you know how people are kind of worried about us at Disney buying Lucas and canceling all the games?”

“Yeah.”

“I think I know how we can fix this.”

“Really? How?”

“We should give EA the rights to publish all future Star Wars games. They’re a big company, right? I’m sure the gaming community must love them!”

“Perfect! Let’s do it!”

Kieshdor

On May 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Im not sure myself if this is good or bad but there does seem to be a little hope in the future for the star wars series of games.

Dice spews out battlefield games all the time and battlefront was simply a battlefield clone, so we might actually see a new battlefront 3(probably not by that tittle) eventually. This time it wont be a clone.(battlefront wasn’t that bad but the gameplay was off, especially in 2)

As for Visceral Games they have a solid series of good games, so anything they produce will be new but it will also be solid, they probaly are the best choice for 1313 to restart production.

EA also own some other good groups so only time will tell how star wars fairs.

rkinne

On May 6, 2013 at 6:33 pm

No more Star Wars games for me, I won’t pay for anything from EA.

Swcloud99

On May 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm

http://nooooooooooooooo.com/

Michael

On May 6, 2013 at 10:48 pm

I don’t trust anything from EA no more. Look at what happened with Mass Effect. Anyone will be a total idiot trusting them with another space game again. Look at also the terrible job they are doing with SWTOR. That last expansion(or patch which I call it) was horrendous. When are we actually going to fight or use actual alien races that don’t have human features?

There are so many other companies that can do a better job with this franchise. It’s just sad that EA and Activision are the ones with the big bucks and they are the worst two when putting out games. The best thing to do is not to buy.

R.J.

On May 6, 2013 at 11:12 pm

I was fully expecting this. When Disney said it was going to be licensing out future Star Wars games, I had a feeling EA would be the company to come up with this given how much they already sunk into making SWTOR. I also figured that if EA got it, they’d come out of it with an exclusive license so it wouldn’t have competition, like what it ended up doing with its NFL license. Why compete in terms of pricing and quality when you can just pay a bunch of money up front and have the whole thing to yourself?

Maay

On May 7, 2013 at 12:29 am

What worries me is not the fact that EA got licences from Disney for Star Wars, but the fact that it is exclusive. EA has to keep an audience to survive, and that is competition enough, but having exclusivity on Star Wars gives me the shivers…
I really hope most of the decision makers at EA are hard core Star Wars fans.

Mike

On May 7, 2013 at 12:43 am

@lol Are you just the dumbest mother f&$ker on the planet or what? Bioware was bought by EA right after the first Mass Effect and then went straight downhill from there. Bioware’s products have been getting progressively worse as time went on, and considering the clusterf%&k that is SWTOR, what in your tiny brain makes you think they can do justice to another Star Wars game?

Axetwin

On May 7, 2013 at 12:47 am

Time for me to be the voice of reason.

You know the number 1 reason why its hard to hate on EA? It’s because they actually do make good games. Yes, they do. Yes, they do. SHUT UP just listen to me. The Deadspace space games is a great franchise. Ok, yes, 3 was an even further departure from the horror genre than the second game was from the first. However, that aside, 3 is still a fantastic game. The MassEffect trilogy, ending debacle aside (which is really more Bioware’s fault, than EA’s), is very well made. ME2 was a massive critical success for EA/Bioware. Once you get past the “its a WoW clone” TOR is a pretty good game. It does several things WoW doesn’t, and I think the game is more fun because of it.

The problem with these game isnt that they’re “cash-in games”. EA has a lot of good talent working form, the problem is, that EA’s greed constantly gets in the way and stops these games from reaching their full potential. For ME/DS 3 it was the forced multiplayer (yes, I say forced) and microtransactions. For TOR, its the so many stupid restrictions on the non-sub players.

Going forward, what is going to hold these StarWars games back is EA’s mandate of; all game requiring multiplayer of one form or another and microtransaction system. If these games fail, its not going to be because they were bad, as a matter of fact I expect them to be quite good. Its going to be because EA was trying to squeeze every last cent out of the playerbase.

Lap Dance

On May 7, 2013 at 3:19 am

@Fester and Mike: ‘lol’ is the house troll. He takes the opposite opinion on absolutely everything, even when it means he’s flat-out advocating censorship or increased government control, in order to garner a reaction. He never justifies a single one of his vapid, biased words because he has no interest in entering the debate as an informed party. It’s honestly about time the moderation staff started to remove his pathetic comments because they’re often abusive and insulting to individual users as well as being uninformed and insular, plus it would be sweet irony considering he appears to endorse CISPA and other draconian legislation. Let’s see how the little bellend reacts when it’s his own nonsense being blocked from view.

I can only apologise to Kevin, who made a perfectly legitimate point and was called a moron by someone who probably required spell check or had to ask his mother where the ‘m’ was meant to be placed.

Quinsec

On May 7, 2013 at 3:35 am

An exclusive license, in and of itself, is just bad for the franchise – but we expected Disney to mismanage game development. Rather than EA having to come up with competitive game concepts to secure the license, they can just churn out the same crap over and over – see the Madden franchise. That’s really what EA’s good at – making a decent game from time to time, and then beating it to death with rushed sequels, DLC, forced multiplayer and microtransactions.

I guess I’m just sad to wonder what kind of games we could have gotten had the best studios been able to create new Star Wars titles, instead of EA, where good studios go to die.

Foehunter82

On May 7, 2013 at 7:40 am

And, if I’m not mistaken, Bioware didn’t actually make Kotor 2.

Freedonadd

On May 7, 2013 at 8:50 am

@Axetwin

I’ll have to agree in part with your post. I’ll agree that Visceral Games have made pretty good games so far (Microtransactions non-withstanding) and their take at an Star Wars game (hopefully SW 1313) could be an interesting one. “OH, But also DS3 was nowhere near frightening!” people might say. But tell me, what exactly IS frigthening in star wars? While that may be a subjective matter, Star Wars needn’t be anything besides Sci-fi.

But I said “in part” didn’t I? Here’s why:

DICE is good at what they do, and that is multiplayer shooters. Right? Well, if said shooter is called BattleField maybe so (and that isn’t even a constant). A BattleFront 3 made by DICE, I’m afraid, will simply be a reskin of whichever BattleField is coming next (We WOULD’VE had that already if EA/DICE weren’t so afraid of mods) costing $60 bucks plus piecemeal contents.

And EA/Bioware? Yeah they’ll make a decent enough Action/Third Person shooter as well… just don’t count on a brilliant writing at the end.

and worst of all: it’ll be all on Origin Only…

BoBALOSA

On May 7, 2013 at 9:38 am

well…it looks like i wont be buying any star wars game for the next four years or so, until EA lets go of the copyrights. i’m still holding my stance to boycott EA, star wars or not, EA makes non-user friendly games.

EA will say the same old statement, something along the lines of “We’re going to listen to the fans, and give them what they want.” -EA will just say whatever to ease and please the average gamer to buying their games. good or bad, half completed or mostly finished, EA cares not. actions speak louder then words, and EA has no credibility that can be taken serious. their past actions have proved that.

Jay

On May 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

Yup, looks like no Star Wars games for me.

Hawke

On May 7, 2013 at 10:51 am

All I can say is….

http://nooooooooooooooo.com/

Drizzt

On May 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

I’m “eagerly” awaiting titles like “Battlefield: 20 BBY” or “Dead Space: In the Outer Rim”. Disney did what all corporations of a certain size upwards (can I say AAA megacorps?) do: looked at the short term money flow for the license. Damn it.

But since I’m an (early) backer of Star Citizen, all my space needs for the foreseeable future should be served. RPGs are covered by Shadowrun Returns and Torment: Tides of Numenera. And tactical strategy will – hopefully – be served by Jagged Alliance: Flashback, for which the Kickstarter (with original dev on board!) is still running: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2079547763/jagged-alliance-flashback

Mike

On May 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm

@Drizzt

That’s what I’m talking about! Star Citizen (Vice Admiral backer here by the way) is gonna scratch that space sim itch that first started with X-Wing, was exasperated with Tie Fighter, and finally pushed me into quarantine with X-Wing vs Tie Fighter. Since no one has the balls to simply make another dedicated space sim set in the universe that I love so much, I will fully accept the fantastic lore and universe structure that Chris Roberts has created.

Kevin

On May 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm

@lol, if you can’t figure out how to troll, let the grownups do it for you. As others pointed out, Bioware was their own company when it came to KOTOR. Yet I didn’t mention KOTOR. I mentioned….. KOTOR2. That product (a true flawed masterpiece if one ever existed) was put out by Obsidian.

@axetwin, the problems with TOR were way beyond the restrictions on nonsubs. The game bled subscribers and money before going F2P. It wasn’t the whole “it’s a wow clone” thing. It was they didn’t really innovate on anything besides voiceovers (wait for it!), it was a hot buggy mess, and they believed that voiceovers were why people would play the game. Calling it a wow clone, that’s an insult to wow.

Yes, the dead space trilogy has been good, but it’s gotten progressively worse as time went on. Same with Dragon Age. (Which you don’t mention, and I think for good reason. :p ) Same with Sim City.

And saying something is Bioware’s fault and not EA, they aren’t two distinct entities. They are one.

EA does put out good titles. It’s just been a long time since they’ve put out consistently good titles, and people are getting sick and tired of the way they treat their customer base.

Tommy B Rude

On May 7, 2013 at 11:03 pm

The primary beef with EA isn’t that they haven’t made good games in the past, its that making good games is fairly low on their list of priorities. They don’t strive for tiness out of sheer spite, they just lose sight of quality in the face of things like cashing in on DLC or pumping games out as quickly and cheaply as possible. I don’t blame companies for looking at the bottom line, its just EA has reached the point that hey come off as a parody of a big soulless corporation instead of a real organization operating under realistic expectations.
Also their customer satisfaction is more in tune with cartoonish supervillainy than anything else. Most companies accept that they can’t please everyone and calculate losses based on decisions they’re forced to make. EA actually banks on the fact that the ‘hardcore’ gamers who complain the most will buy their crap no matter what, so who gives a damn about pleasing anyone? Think about that for a moment. Their core marketing strategy revolves around people being too brainwashed to NOT buy a game.
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? Irrelevant for me and possibly bad for Disney because I won’t be buying any of their games, period.

Wapuni

On May 8, 2013 at 2:49 am

EA, huh? That means we’re gonna need ORIGIN to play these games, huh?

Yeah, no, thank you. Since Battlefield 3 I have not bought a single EA game and I will keep it that way, even if it hurts.

Red Menace

On May 9, 2013 at 5:08 pm

THERE IS NO GOD.