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Disney awards 'Star Wars' video-game rights to EA

"Star Wars: The Old Republic" was published by Electronic Arts, which now has exclusive game rights to the franchise.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Electronic Arts will have exclusive rights to "Star Wars" video games
  • After acquiring Lucasfilm, Disney shut down the LucasArts games division
  • EA already makes the multiplayer "Star Wars: The Old Republic"

(CNN) -- Electronic Arts will be the exclusive provider of games based on the Star Wars series, Disney and the game developer announced jointly on Monday.

Following Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm last year, it shut down the LucasArts game development division, indicating its preference to license console games rather than develop them in-house. Now, Electronic Arts will be the only publisher creating Star Wars games for a "core gaming audience," according to today's press release.

Electronic Arts said that its in-house game teams DICE (Battlefield) and Visceral (Dead Space) will work on Star Wars titles, in addition to BioWare, the team behind EA's existing Star Wars MMO The Old Republic.

Meanwhile, Disney will "retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories."

My initial take: While this might seem like a great arrangement for Electronic Arts and Disney, I cannot see how taking away the element of competition will be good for the quality of Star Wars games.

Individually licensing out Star Wars games to different publishers and developers might have ushered in a variety of creative ideas and directions for the franchise, but locking out anyone that isn't affiliated with Electronic Arts seems like a commitment to the same old, same old.

"Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe," said EA Labels President Frank Gibeau.

And now, unless they go work at EA, they can't.

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