11:32am PT by Graeme McMillan
EA/Disney 'Star Wars' Deal to Last 10 Years, Expand Past Movies
The deal between the Walt Disney Company and Electronic Arts to produce Star Wars video games -- a deal announced a month after Disney closed Lucasfilm's own video game studio, LucasArts -- is a long-term one, according to EA CFO and executive vice president Blake Jorgensen, who told investors that the partnership will last at least ten years.
"We had a long relationship obviously with Lucas on the original Star Wars, and when Disney took over Lucas, they really wanted to maintain a video game business around Star Wars," Jorgensen explained during an appearance at the UBS Global Technology Conference. "They came to us because of our partnership and they knew that we could help them develop really great games, and we struck what we believe is a fantastic deal, which allows us to be able to build games in many different genres across multiple types of platforms over 10 years, and we'll leverage the strength of the Disney marketing associated with the Star Wars properties both in movies and other things that they may do over the timeframe."
The mention of "other things that they may do over the timeframe" may be important, as Jorgensen went to lengths to point out that the EA games will not be tied to the movies. "We've done movie games over the years, and we wanted to make sure that we weren't doing a movie game -- i.e., game based on the movie," he said. "The beauty of the Star Wars franchise is that it's so broad and so deep, you don't have to do a movie game, you can do a game that's very focused on the world that's been created around Star Wars."
Later, he returned to that point, saying that EA planned to "align [the games] with that marketing power that Disney has so it will get aligned with timing around the movies, but it won't necessarily be aligned with the movie." Instead, he said, the games will be "very much [based] around the historical types of games as in play, plus new games that we're inventing around their content, around the broad Star Wars content, and around some of the new assets that they may produce over time as well."
The first Star Wars game to be released by EA is expected to be Star Wars: Battlefront, due 2015.