Disney CEO Says the Company Has Never Excelled in Publishing Games, States Relationship with EA is Still Good
Disney seems quite content with how it currently is involved in the gaming scene, according to the company's CEO.
Since ending Disney Infinity back in 2016, Disney has largely stayed away from the video game scene. While it still licenses out its properties like Star Wars to publishers like EA, Disney itself has avoided getting back into gaming directly.
In the company’s recent financial call, Disney CEO Bob Iger explained more of why this has been the case and in simplest terms, it’s because he thinks they’re not that good when it comes to gaming. When answering a question about Disney’s future with video games, Iger said, “We’re good at making movies and television shows and theme parks and cruise ships and the like, we’ve just never managed to demonstrate much skill on the publishing side of games.” Even though many of Disney’s games that have been published in the past reached vast numbers in terms of sales, past titles like the aforementioned Disney Infinity and others like Epic Mickey were always rather well-received critically.
Iger went on stating, “We’re obviously mindful of the size of that business. Over the years, as you know, we’ve tried our hand at self-publishing, we’ve bought companies, we’ve sold companies, we’ve bought developers, we’ve closed developers. And we’ve found over the years that we haven’t been particularly good at the self-publishing side, but we’ve been great at the licensing side which obviously doesn’t require that much allocation of capital.” It seems that Iger and the rest at Disney are currently quite content with how things run when it comes to gaming.
Speaking of being content, Iger also commented on Disney’s current relationship with Electronic Arts and how they have handled the license. Despite EA continuing to drop the ball by canceling projects or closing studios when it comes to Star Wars properties, Disney seems happy with their work. “We’ve had good relationships with some of those we’re licensing to, notably EA and the relationship on the Star Wars properties, and we’re probably going to stay on that side of the business and put our capital elsewhere,” Iger said. If you were hoping that somehow Disney would be able to back out of its Star Wars licensing deal before the end of the contract, that doesn’t seem likely to be happening.
Whether or not Disney gets more directly involved down the line with video games remains to be seen but at the moment, it doesn’t seem like Iger wants to change a thing. It’ll be interesting specifically to see what Disney does a few years down the road though when its Star Wars deal with EA comes to an end.