EA still loves Star Wars, despite their break up

What gamers are talking about, boiled down, in 1:31 minutes.

What’s being boiled down today?

Despite losing the exclusive rights to make video games based on the Star Wars franchise, the massive game developer Electronic Arts (EA) is not ready to call the relationship quits just yet.

Please, don’t go…

Credit: EA

What’s the fuss?

EA lost their exclusive license from Disney to make Star Wars games, and gamers all over the world rejoiced. But a recent investor call from EA suggests they don’t plan on going anywhere.

The situation

When Disney acquired LucasFilm in 2012 for a whopping $4 billion, they dissolved the subsidiary LucasArts, the company’s games division. A year later, the company gave EA the exclusive rights to develop Star Wars based video games.

Earlier this year, Disney declared the return of LucasArts in the form of Lucasfilm Games, a proprietary games studio for a “new era of storytelling in Star Wars and beyond”. In addition, they announced that Ubisoft (another major games studio and a direct competitor to EA) was developing their own Star Wars game. More importantly, this signaled the end of EA’s monopoly over the franchise.

On February 2nd during an earnings call, EA affirmed their desire to make more Star Wars games even without exclusivity. Their CEO, Andrew Wilson, stating the following:

“I don’t think you should imagine that the fact that some other people will build some Star Wars games is going to change our commitment to that IP or our ability to build the appropriate number of games.”

With EA garnering over $3 billion from all of its various Star Wars titles (including games from before the exclusive license), it’s not wonder EA has attachment issues.

Boiling it down

Despite impressive sales numbers, EA has had a less-than-smooth handling of the franchise, especially in the view of Star Wars fans. Heavy microtransaction usage, missing features, and pay-to-win mechanics plagued their games initially. The resulting heavy backlash from fans caused them to reverse course on many of their initial decisions, such as removing paid loot boxes (the “capsule toy”-like practice seen by many as pseudo-gambling) from their games. Despite this, EA became a villainous entity in the gaming community for their anti-consumer practices.

However, EA’s latest Star Wars releases, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order and Star Wars: Squadrons, have been regarded as great video games — not only for their gameplay but because they are free of microtransactions. Perhaps these decisions were in light of losing their exclusive rights, in order to entice gamers their way over another developer. Perhaps they realized that fully realized games, free of microtransactions, sell a lot of copies. Nonetheless, a little competition isn’t a bad thing, and Star Wars games moving forward will be all the better for it (hopefully).

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