After Disney killed off Lucasfilm's video game division, there was a bit of uncertainty over what the media giant would do with its recently acquired Star Wars video game franchises. That was cleared up late Monday when Disney inked a deal with Electronic Arts.
Disney(DIS) and EA(EA) forged a "multi-year" partnership, in which three EA studios -- DICE (maker of the "Battlefield" game), Visceral ("Dead Space") and BioWare ("Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic") -- will exclusively develop Star Wars titles for consoles and computers.
The deal does not extend to mobile platforms and "online" titles, and the verdict is still out on some of Lucasfilm's quirkier titles, like the "Secret of Monkey Island" series. But the deal made clear that Star Wars video games will live on to fight another day.
The EA development studios involved in the Disney partnership are still top notch -- far more suited to make games for such a valuable brand such as Star Wars than the company's own struggling publisher had been.
All three studios at EA have produced high quality, critically-acclaimed games, and are comfortable working with sci-fi aesthetics and story lines. The types of games they produce --first-person shooters, third-person shooters, and role-playing games -- represent the core game-play of the best Star Wars titles from the past few years.
While some critics are correct to point out that the deal will limit the types of Star Wars games, and keep new studios -- studios with potentially fresh ideas -- away from the franchise, it does bode well for the present.
Both Disney and Electronic Arts are expected to announce earnings after the bell. Shares of Disney were up about 1% Tuesday afternoon, and EA shares were unchanged.