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Electronic Arts, Disney Sign 'Star Wars' Deal

May 7, 2013

The Walt Disney Co. and Electronic Arts Inc. have inked a licensing deal that will see the video game developer make and publish new "Star Wars" games, the companies said Monday afternoon.

Under the exclusive, multi-year agreement, Electronic Arts will develop titles for "all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres" related to "Star Wars." Disney retains certain rights to develop games for mobile, social, tablet and online platforms, the companies said.

The announcement comes a little more than a month after Disney's Lucasfilm Ltd. subsidiary, which is responsible for the "Star Wars" franchise, said it would no longer make video games.

"Collaborating with one of the world's premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world," said John Pleasants, co-president of Disney Interactive, in a statement.

In April, Burbank-based Disney's Lucasfilm announced that its video game unit would stop making games and instead would look to license its intellectual property. Lucasfilm's video game division, LucasArts, was founded in 1982 and is best known for a slew of "Star Wars" video games.

As a result of the LucasArts decision, there were "layoffs across the organization," though Lucasfilm did not say how many employees at its San Francisco-based gaming division were affected. Disney completed its $4.06-billion acquisition of Lucasfilm in December.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Electronic Arts, one of the world's biggest gaming companies, is known for sports franchises "Madden NFL" and "FIFA Soccer" and other series such as "Need for Speed," "The Sims" and "Medal of Honor."

EA Labels President Frank Gibeau said in a statement that the new games "may borrow from films" but will be original, with new stories and gameplay.

"Every developer dreams of creating games for the 'Star Wars' universe," Gibeau said. "Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for 'Star Wars' fans."

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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