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Disney boss urged to buy EA or a company like it, according to reports

But CEO "noncommittal"

Darth Vader in Star Wars Jedi Survivor
Image credit: EA

The consolidation of the games industry threatens to continue apace, as rumours surface that senior Disney staff are urging CEO Bob Iger to acquire a major game company, such as Deluxe Paint and Shaq Fu publisher Electronic Arts (who also publish Battlefield and Apex Legends, if I remember correctly). Apparently, the aforesaid senior executives think Disney are losing out for merely licensing Disney properties to developers, but Iger is said to be "noncommittal".

All that comes from a new Bloomberg feature (beware paywall) on the current state of the House of Mouse. As VGC notes, Iger is no stranger to big purchases of this nature: now in his second run as CEO, he oversaw the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm and 21st Century Fox during his original tour of duty. Disney have published their own games in the past, but all that effectively came to an end in 2016 with the closure of Disney Infinity studio Avalanche.

EA have recently published several games based on Disney-owned franchises - in particular, Respawn's Star Wars Jedi series. They're also working on a number of new games set in the Marvel universe. EA have also reportedly been looking for a buyer for some time. Back in 2022, it was claimed that the publisher had held acquisition talks with Amazon, Apple, Comcast-NBCUniversal and, indeed, Disney. NBCUniversal were said to be on the verge of inking a deal, but the talks fell through at the last minute.

Asked about these potential acquisitions during an earnings call last summer, EA CEO Andrew Wilson declined "to comment on rumors and speculation from some small red media outlets", adding that "I don't think we could be in a stronger position as a standalone company", which you could read a number of ways. Is the subtext that EA are ripe for the plucking, or that they're stronger as an independent operator?

My feelings about stories like this are a balance of "astronomer watching stars collide" and Ken Watanabe in the Godzilla 2014 adaptation saying "let them fight". Amongst other things, let's not forget what Disney did to LucasArts.

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