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Electronic Arts Wins ‘Star Wars’ Game License From Disney

Yoda in a still from the movie Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith, 2005. Photographer: Industrial Light & Magic/Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation via Everett Collection
Yoda in a still from the movie Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith, 2005. Photographer: Industrial Light & Magic/Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation via Everett Collection

May 7 (Bloomberg) -- Electronic Arts Inc., the second-largest video-game publisher, reached a multiyear agreement with Walt Disney Co. to create games based on “Star Wars” characters after Disney said it would stop making them itself.

Under the agreement announced yesterday, Electronic Arts, based in Redwood City, California, gains the right to develop new “Star Wars” titles for game consoles, computers and mobile devices. Disney will “retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The deal, terms of which weren’t disclosed, expands upon an existing agreement Electronic Arts had with Lucasfilm Ltd. to license “Star Wars” characters for an online multiplayer title for personal computers called “Star Wars: The Old Republic.”

Disney in October agreed to buy Lucasfilm in a cash and stock deal valued at about $4.05 billion, adding to franchises it already owns including Pixar and Marvel. In April, it said it would shutter LucasArts, the San Francisco-based game-making branch of Lucasfilm with the plan of licensing other companies to make “Star Wars” games rather than develop them internally.

“Our agreement unlocks a whole new future of ‘Star Wars’ games that will span consoles, PCs, tablets, mobile and more,” Frank Gibeau, president of Electronic Arts’ Labels unit, said in a blog posting yesterday.

Electronic Arts rose as much as 2.8 percent in extended trading after climbing 1.9 percent to $18.29 at the close in New York yesterday. Disney, based in Burbank, California, rose less than 1 percent at the close to $65.06.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at cedwards28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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