This news might sting if you were unhappy with Star Wars: Battlefront II and were hoping that someone would come along and bring balance to the Force. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger is apparently very happy with the relationship between Disney and EA, and sounded optimistic about how that relationship might play out in the future.
First, some context. Iger was speaking in a conference call about the company’s Q1 earnings for 2019. Specifically, he was expanding on why he didn’t think Disney was particularly adept at video game publishing, and why the licensing model was better suited to the company. This is where EA comes to the fore, as it’s the developer that currently owns the license to produce video games for the Star Wars franchise.
“We’ve had good relationships with some of those we’re licensing to, notably EA and the relationship on the Star Wars properties,” Bob Iger said. “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.”
However, some Star Wars fans aren’t overly pleased with Iger’s praise of EA. The developer caused something of an internet meltdown in 2017 when it released the controversial Star Wars: Battlefront II, which was heavily criticised for its over-reliance on micro-transactions. On playing the title, gamers quickly realised that it would take around 4,528 hours of gameplay to unlock all of Battlefront‘s content, or an eye-watering $2,100 worth of in-game purchases (Republican Credits were not accepted.) Following the backlash, EA removed all micro-transactions from the game in order to appease the overwhelmed Jedi, although they discretely re-appeared a few months later. Hard to see, the dark side is.
I guess Iger’s comments hurt all-the-more given that many players are holding out for the year 2023, when EA’s exclusive Star Wars license is set to expire. But in light of the Disney CEO’s latest remarks, it could well be that said license is extended for another decade (think of it!) highlighting something of a disconnect between Disney and its core Star Wars gaming audience. Maybe Bob Iger could enlist Rian Johnson as the games’ lead scriptwriter as well? (*ducks)
On the other hand, the Disney CEO has good reason to be satisfied with the company’s relationship with EA. Star Wars: Battlefront II sold 9 million copies within the first month of its release, and its predecessor – Star Wars: Battlefront – went on to sell some 14 million copies, which is not too shabby. It’s also worth remembering that Iger’s words were directed primarily at shareholders, who tend to be more interested in the financial side of things. And there’s still some way to go before 2023, so a lot could still change, right?
How do you feel about Bob Iger’s comments? Would you like EA to continue to develop for the Star Wars franchise? Did you enjoy Star Wars: Battlefront II? Are you still grinding your way through the 4,000+ hours of video game goodness? Let me know in the comments below!