Disney acquired Star Wars about a year ago for roughly $4 billion and already they’re growing the brand so much further than George Lucas could, which is really saying a lot. Lucas helped make Star Wars a property worth $4 billion thanks to his insane merchandising strategy but Disney and LucasFilm are already updating that strategy for the 21st century.
According to Variety, Lucasfilm’s decade long deal with Electronics Arts, better known as EA Games, is for non-film related video game franchises — in other words, not film related tie-in games.
The deal will be centered around Star Wars, but the games won’t be tie-ins with the films that will be released over the ten year period of the deal. Disney’s current plan is to release Star Wars Episode VII in December 2015 and follow it with a film release each year, with every two or three years being marked by another episode film.
But while traditional movie studio deals with video game production companies are for tie-in material, EA and Lucasfilm are partnering to produce original material, something that will further grow the Star Wars brand in the Disney garden.
This isn’t a new strategy per say, as the previous batch of Star Wars game obviously haven’t been tied to a film as one hasn’t been released since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. There was hope that the new Star Wars: 1313 would be a trip into a darker Star Wars video game world, but the game was cancelled upon Lucasfilm’s sale to Disney.
Still, games like Star Wars: Battlefront and the two Star Wars: Unleashed games as well as the wildly popular Knights of the Old Republic games seem to be the way the franchise is trending and the ten year deal with EA will specifically focus on such ventures.