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Report: Disney execs keen to acquire a publisher like EA

A new Bloomberg report reveals Disney executives are looking to get further into games. Their solution? Acquire Electronic Arts.

Sources speaking to the outlet say executives under current CEO Bob Iger want him to perform a “bolder transformation” of Disney’s video game division. Rather than license out properties like Marvel and Star Wars, it should buy up a publisher with extensive game experience, and EA specifically was mentioned.

Iger is said to be “noncommittal”about the matter, but the two companies have had a somewhat stable relationship over the last eight years. In 2013,EA secured exclusive rights to make “core” Star Wars games, resulting ina reboot of the Star Wars Battlefront series from DICE and eventually Respawn Entertainment’s Star Wars Jediseries.

Despite the controversial reception ofStar Wars Battlefront II (2017),the success ofStar Wars Jedi:Fallen Orderled toEA making more gamesgames with the license (like 2020’sStar Wars:Squadrons), while letting other developers such as Ubisoft also do projects for the series.

At the same time, a handful of Star Wars games under EA were canceled, such as one from EA Vancouver—known as Project Orcaand originally from Visceral Games—and a Battlefront spinoff.

Currently, EA’s licensing relationship with Disney also extends to Marvel. Itssubsidiaries Motive Studio and Cliffhanger Games are presently developing single-player projects for a number of Marvel characters.

Whether or not EA does end up a Disney subsidiary, this isn’t the first time the publisher has been marked as an acquisition target. Last year, NBCUniversal was reportedly looking at buying the company, but those plans fell apart. A similar rumor concerned the developer being acquired by Amazon.

In response to NBCUniversal’s specific acquisition, EA CEOAndrew Wilson refuted those claims, saying the company was in an “incredible position.”He even bragged that the company was on track to be “the largest stand-alone independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment in the world.”

At the time, his statements werebeforeEA canceled a pair of mobile games, killed a single-player spinoff forApex Legends,and laid off hundreds of staff after “strong” profits. Currently, the publisher is being sued for allegedly shortchanging the severance of recently laid off BioWare employees.


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