The Empire Strikes A Deal: 10 Years Of EA Star Wars Games
A long time to go
Unless JJ Abrams does something so spectacular and most of all so charming with his Star Wars sequels that my 15 years of ennui towards the house that Lucas built then liberally daubed with some sort of turd-based paint, I can't say I have any particular issue with EA being sole providers of Galaxy Far, Far Away games for the next decade. There's plenty of other science-fiction, you know, though in fairness not much of it is afforded the same kind of budget as Star Wars stuff enjoys. But if you were holding out hope for an Obsidian-developed Knights of the Old Republic 3, or fun little experiments from random indie chancers, you probably shouldn't, given the 10 year deal between EA and Disney likely covers the full span of Episodes VII-IX and thus is likely to be very focused on whatever they do.
The EA-Disney deal for Star Wars games entails "games in many different genres across multiple types of platforms over 10 years", the only planned fruit of which we know about so far is the DICE-developed shooty-bang Battlefront-style game, teased earlier this year:
Oh, and EA are continuing work on disastrous MMO The Old Republic, which is the point where I question quite why Disney would give EA the keys to their most lucrative castle for quite so long.
EA claim the WoW-aping squib is now profitable however, though continue to blame its poor reception on a dimished appetite for MMOs rather than on, y'know, it being deeply tedious. "Yes the original expectations obviously were very, very large," CFO Blake Jorgensen said at a People With Lots of Money Conference recently (as reported by Eurogamer) "and obviously the multiplayer MMO world has - the popularly has come down over time and we tried to restructure the Star Wars business to better match the economics. It's a great business that's very repeatable. We brought the economics in line so it's a profitable business for us."
They also hint that the MMO might get a shot in the arm as Disney steps up its Star Wars funding'n'marketing game. However, the other Star Wars games they're planning "won't necessarily be aligned with the movie." Hopefully that means no quickly-made, dispiriting tie-in, but I'll believe that when I see it.