Disney Contemplates Diving Deeper into the Gaming Arena with Potential EA Acquisition
Disney is reportedly contemplating a major shift in its gaming strategy. As per recent reports from Bloomberg, senior executives within the company are nudging CEO Bob Iger to think about a grand move: acquiring a leading game publisher such as Electronic Arts (EA).
Disney's Gaming Ambition
The intention behind such a potential acquisition is evident. Disney aims to transition from merely licensing its properties for gaming purposes to becoming a formidable player in the gaming industry with significant first-party game development capabilities. Such a move could position Disney as a veritable powerhouse in the gaming world, adding another feather to its already illustrious cap.
However, it's essential to note that Iger, as of now, seems undecided about this monumental step. While the idea is being floated within the company's higher echelons, a definitive decision is yet to be made.
Bob Iger's Legacy of Acquisitions
Bob Iger is no stranger to big-ticket acquisitions. During his initial tenure as Disney's CEO, he was instrumental in the acquisition of renowned companies such as Pixar, Marvel Entertainment, Lucasfilm, and 21st Century Fox. These acquisitions have played a pivotal role in shaping Disney's current entertainment portfolio.
EA's Expanding Disney Portfolio
Electronic Arts (EA) already has a history of collaboration with Disney. The gaming giant has developed several titles based on the Star Wars franchise, most notably the Star Wars Jedi series by Respawn. Moreover, EA had previously announced plans to develop games based on Marvel characters, with Iron Man and Black Panther being some of the properties mentioned.
Is EA Up for Grabs?
Speculations about EA's future plans have been swirling for some time now, especially in the context of major mergers and acquisitions in the gaming industry. For instance, the recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft for $69 billion has set the stage for potential big moves within the industry.
When asked about EA's stance on a potential sale during an earnings call, EA's CEO Andrew Wilson remained cryptic. While he refrained from addressing the rumors directly, he emphasized EA's strength as a standalone entity, highlighting its growth across platforms, business models, and geographies.
Is This a Good Thing For Gamers? No.
Let's take a quick look at this through a historical lense and realize just how terrible the idea of this happening is (though let's be honest EA on its own isn't much better)...
Disney's Track Record with Video Games: Historically, Disney hasn't demonstrated proficiency in managing video games. Their previous ventures in the industry have seen varied success, casting doubt on their ability to handle a major publisher like EA effectively.
Prospects of Improved Management: Even with the acquisition of a giant like EA, there’s skepticism about Disney's capacity to improve its management style in the gaming sector.
Integration with Disney's Properties: One of the likely scenarios post-acquisition is Disney wanting to create synergy between EA and its vast array of properties. This might interfere with EA's autonomy in decision-making.
EA’s Autonomy Post Acquisition: Being under Disney's umbrella could mean that EA's game release decisions would be influenced by Disney's larger corporate goals. This might lead to an influx of titles based on Star Wars, Marvel, or other Disney franchises.
Developers' Concerns: Many game developers at EA might find the transition challenging, especially if they are nudged towards focusing primarily on Disney-related content. This could hinder creativity and originality in game development.
Consumer Implications: For gamers and fans, Disney's acquisition of EA could potentially mean that EA becomes the primary, if not the sole, developer of Star Wars and Marvel games. This would centralize the rights and might limit the diversity of titles available.
Impact on External Studios: Numerous studios, outside of EA, are currently working on intriguing Star Wars projects. These collaborations and projects might face uncertainty if EA, under Disney, monopolizes the rights.
Potential Restrictions on Marvel Titles: While it might not immediately affect established titles like Wolverine or Spider-Man, future development of Marvel games might become exclusive to EA, sidelining other potential innovative projects from different developers.
Quality and Variety of Titles: Some of the lesser-known but critically appreciated titles, such as "Guardians of the Galaxy", might not see the light of day in a model where Disney directs EA's focus. This could deprive gamers of unique and diverse gaming experiences.
What Lies Ahead?
While the future remains uncertain, the very idea of Disney contemplating such an acquisition speaks volumes about the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry. As gaming continues to gain traction, especially among younger generations, it's clear that traditional entertainment giants like Disney are pondering how best to position themselves in this dynamic environment.