Disney closed its recently acquired LucasArts gaming division only to contract with Electronic Arts to make Star Wars games. The creative studio founded on the genius of George Lucas had been in operation for over 30 years. The first Star Wars movie came out in 1977.
After paying $4 billion for Lucasfilm and its Star Wars franchise last year, the mouse empire dumped LucasArts artistic abilities in favor of a licensing agreement with EA. Considering EA’s track record trying their own luck at a Star Wars MMO release, The Old Republic, which didn’t glean enough paid subscribers to warrant their estimated $300 million investment, it could be a gamble.
Electronic Arts previously tried their hand at a Star Wars theme
While EA looks forward to gleaning ideas from the upcoming release of another Disney Star Wars movie, a new Episode VII, Disney is turning to Disney Infinity. It is a game platform where Disney characters are available to come out and play in what is called a sandbox environment. The new offering was demonstrated earlier in New York by John Vignocchi, an executive producer at Disney Interactive. Infinity will allow users to create their own narrative in a mix-and-match environment rather than being relegated to a single theme.
Infinity, similar to a set top box, can be used with Wii, Sony or Xbox consoles. It’s coming in June at $74.99 for the starter kit which includes three action figures. Other characters must be purchased separately as well as the virtual worlds in which they will play, such as Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
EA now has the rights to develop and publish new Star Wars games for console type platforms worldwide. Disney is holding onto the right to develop games for the mobile device arena, for tablets and for on line gamers.
Both companies experienced a slight increase in the value of their stock after the announcement. Tuesday, Disney was selling at $65.88, Electronic Arts started the day higher but dropped to $18.25 near day’s end.
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