Over the last few years, Star Wars fans have grown increasingly frustrated with EA and its handling of the Star Wars license. Over the last six years, we've received two Battlefront games, while two other projects have been cancelled. Despite all of that though, it looks like Disney is in fact happy with the current arrangement, despite rumours hinting towards the contrary.
After the Battlefront 2 fiasco, rumours started doing the rounds claiming that Disney was unhappy with EA's work and that other publishers were already being looked at for the future. Many fans had hoped that the ten-year exclusivity deal would come to an end. It doesn't sound like that will be happening though, based on comments made during Disney's latest quarterly earnings call.
Disney's Q1 2019 financial call took place last night. At one point, CEO, Bob Iger, was asked about Disney's plan for video games going forward. Iger responded by reminding investors that Disney hasn't been “particularly good at the self-publishing side” of gaming but has had much more success with licensing.
Iger then singled out Disney's relationship with EA as an example of the licensing approach working well: “we've had good relationships with some of those we're licensing to, notably EA and the relationship on the Star Wars properties. And we're probably going to continue – we're going to continue to stay in that side of the business and put our capital elsewhere.”
Right now, there are four years left on EA's ten-year Star Wars license. We are expecting to see Jedi: Fallen Order from Respawn Entertainment later this year, after that, we have no idea what EA is going to release next.
KitGuru Says: Star Wars will be staying under EA's banner for the time being. Perhaps in five years time, we'll see Disney adopt the Marvel approach, licensing out Star Wars to more talented studios, rather than one big publisher. However, that potential future is still a ways off.