Despite early promises and success, EA’s plans for the Star Wars license that they picked up in 2013 have slipped and floundered. There’s been numerous delays, cancellations, poorly judged business decisions surrounding microtransactions, and general ill will from gamers through this.
Despite all of that, Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call this week that they still have a “good relationship” with EA and have no intentions of getting back into the game development business themselves. Instead, licensing deals to be the only cards on the table, allowing Disney to avoid having to invest money in a sector where they have an iffy track record.
“We’re good at making movies and television shows and theme parks and cruise ships and the like, we’ve just never managed to demonstrate much skill on the publishing side of games,” he said. He continued, “Over the years, as you know, we’ve tried our hand at self-publishing, we’ve bought companies, we’ve sold companies, we’ve bought developers, we’ve closed developers. And we’ve found over the years that we haven’t been particularly good at the self-publishing side, but we’ve been great at the licensing side which obviously doesn’t require that much allocation of capital.”
Still, fans remain disappointed in EA’s handling of the franchise’s AAA games – Iger’s comments come in stark contrast to those of Rogue One’s writer a few weeks ago. Star Wars Battlefront II is on an upswing now, but took nigh on a year for DICE to turn its fortunes around and regain favour with the Clone Wars themed content, and there’s a lot of interest in seeing what Respawn Entertainment can do with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order later this year, but the only other known project was Ragtag, which went from Visceral to being retooled at Vancouver Studio and eventual cancellation.