Anyone who has observed EA’s publishing and development of their Disney-licensed titles over the past several years may be forgiven for assuming the relationship is a rocky one. Not so, says Disney CEO Bob Iger.
The Disney CEO told The Hollywood Reporter, “we have good relationships with some of those that we’re licensing to, notably EA.”
The comment is an interesting show of support for EA in a rough time for their development of Disney titles, particularly Star Wars titles. The release of Star Wars Battlefront 2 and the loot box controversies that followed brought a lot of negative publicity for the company and for Disney. The issues led to a massive loss in stock value for the company. Furthermore, EA recently announced the rumored open-world Star Wars title was no longer in development but reiterated its commitment to Disney’s IP in a bid to control damage made by the announcement.
Few would be surprised if Disney chose to look elsewhere for developers of their Star Wars games. Disney has seen success licensing to companies other than EA. The recently-released Kingdom Hearts 3, for which Disney licenses locations and characters to Square Enix, was a significant success. The game has shipped 5 million units since release.
In addition to looking at other companies, it is surprising that Disney hasn’t considered setting up its own game development arm within the entertainment giant. This seems unlikely as Iger believes “we haven’t been particularly good at the self-publishing side.”
Bob Iger has chosen an intriguing time to reassure EA of Disney’s confidence in them. There is a possibility the EA Star Wars titles could turn around with the release of Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order in the fall. Hopefully, this show of encouragement goes some way to motivating EA to finally produce a hit Star Wars game.