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EA Signs Exclusive Publishing Deal With Disney For Star Wars Games

by Mike Futter on May 06, 2013 at 10:16 AM

If only Star Wars Day hadn't been over the weekend, the symmetry would have been beautiful. Disney and EA have just announced an exclusive, multi-year deal that puts the publisher at the helm of new Star Wars titles for the "core gaming audience."

The arrangement, which was just announced, covers all platforms and the "most popular" game genres. Disney has not ceded all rights, retaining control to create new games for online, social, and mobile audiences. This explains the cancelation of Star Wars 1313 (which we had hoped might be reversed), the rumored Xbox Live Arcade Battlefront title, and more.

Unfortunately, this makes it unlikely we'll receive the Stardock- or Firaxis-developed strategy titles we hoped for, but maybe Battlefront will see new life with DICE. EA will report its fiscal year 2013 earnings tomorrow, and this is likely to help nudge investor confidence upward.

Frank Gibeau, President of EA Labels has also posted about the deal on the official EA Blog. Based on the call for ideas and suggestions at the bottom, it looks like they might want to stay internal, at least to start with. The blog entry indicates the Twitter accounts of DICE, Visceral Games, and BioWare. 

“The Force is strong with this one.”

I love that line.  It instantly transports me back to my childhood, to an epic world that had a powerful influence on my life. Like hundreds of millions of people, I am a true believer – someone who can’t get enough of the story, the culture, and the ethos of Star Wars.

Today, The Walt Disney Company has announced that they have chosen EA to create new Star Wars experiences for gamers worldwide.

The magic of Star Wars is interwoven into the worlds, characters, planets and amazing battles. It is a universe that lends itself perfectly to gaming.  Our agreement unlocks a whole new future of Star Wars games that will span consoles, PCs, tablets, mobile and more.

While we don’t have any details to share today on specific titles, our development teams are already brimming with design ideas.  The EA Studios that will develop these games are some of the most innovative and popular creative teams in the world, and include DICE and Visceral, in addition to the BioWare team, which is already developing for the Star Wars franchise.  These imaginative teams will make games that may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories.  Powering it all will be the Frostbite 3 development engine – guaranteeing incredible graphic fidelity, environments and characters.

We have lots of ideas, but we want to hear from you. Tell us what kind of games you want to play. Send us your suggestions and tag @EA_DICE @VisceralGames @BioWare and #starwarsnextgen.

Full press release on page two.

BURBANK & REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) and Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) today announced a new multi-year exclusive licensing agreement to develop and publish globally new games based on Star Wars characters and storylines.

Under the agreement, EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres, while Disney will retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories.

“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come,” said John Pleasants, Co-President of Disney Interactive. “Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.”

“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe,” said EA Labels President Frank Gibeau. “Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, interactive media, and consumer products. Disney is a Dow 30 company with revenues of over $42 billion in its Fiscal Year 2012.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company's game franchises are offered as both packaged goods products and online services delivered through Internet-connected consoles, personal computers, mobile phones and tablets.

EA has more than 275 million registered players and operates in 75 countries. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for critically acclaimed, high-quality blockbuster franchises such as The Sims™, Madden NFL, FIFA Soccer, Need for Speed™, Battlefield™, and Mass Effect™. More information about EA is available at http://info.ea.com.

Visceral, The Sims and Need for Speed are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. Battlefield is a trademark of EA Digital Illusions CE AB. BioWare and Mass Effect are trademarks of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. John Madden, NFL and FIFA are the property of their respective owners and used with permission.

About Lucasfilm Ltd.

Lucasfilm Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production. In addition to its motion-picture and television production, the company's activities include visual effects and audio post-production, cutting-edge digital animation, interactive entertainment software, and the management of the global merchandising activities for its entertainment properties including the legendary STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES franchises. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in northern California.

Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © 2013 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.