It’s been reported today that there’s been the consideration for LucasFilm and Disney dumping EA in favour of a new developer for Star Wars games.
EA signed a contract with Disney in 2013, granting it the rights to develop games based on the Star Wars universe.
EA Star Wars titles
The fruits of that contract haven’t been too bountiful with only Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefront II having been released. Battlefront was met with a lukewarm reception due to the lack of any single-player content and an egregious season pass and post-launch DLC.
Battlefront II was even more poorly received by fans in the wake of the loot box controversy. Not only did EA manage to secure the most downvoted comment on Reddit of all time, it also drew the ire of multiple Government officials and bodies.
The gambling authority for the state of Victoria in Australia even went so far as to claim that loot boxes in video games amounted to gambling. Other gambling authorities didn’t agree. Surely these PR disasters led the way for the idea of Disney dumping EA from Star Wars titles.
Star Wars is enjoying a massive resurgence lately due to the new trilogy and standalone films. Disney must be disappointed with the lack of market share in the video games space, however.
With only two released in the past five years, both of which were met with criticism, it makes sense to believe in Disney dumping EA from Star Wars titles.
What went wrong EA?
In 2013, Disney clearly chose to work with EA due to its size as a publisher and developer. EA had the capability to deploy multiple studios and hundreds of employees to each work on multiple Star Wars titles. Instead, only one studio, DICE, has released any Star Wars games.
Visceral was working on “Project Ragtag,” billed as Star Wars meets Uncharted, but the studio was shuttered by EA late in 2017. With no Star Wars titles slated for 2018, EA’s output from the contract is anaemic a best and according to sources close to Disney, the house of mouse is less than impressed.
Sources have claimed that Disney has reached out to both Activision and Ubisoft regarding the StarWars license. This is merely speculation based on the statement of anonymous sources at this stage.
The value of the Star Wars license is astronomical and Disney is unlikely to want it to remain in the wrong hands.
Details of EA and Disney’s licensing agreement aren’t fully known, so Disney dumping EA from Star Wars might not be as simple as it sounds.
Though in the case of IP contracts, it’s likely that there’s a get-out clause in Disney’s favour in the event of unsatisfactory results.
I’d say that so far EA hasn’t come close to delivering anything satisfactory.
What do you think of EA’s handling of the Star Wars license?
Do you think Ubisoft or Activision could do better?