Is Disney about to buy out Electronic Arts? Here’s what we know

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Industry giant Disney may be looking to expand its empire into the realm of gaming with the acquisition of gargantuan publisher Electronic Arts.

According to reports, Disney CEO Bob Iger is being pushed by other executives to bring the company into the gaming industry. Bob Iger is currently “noncommittal” about the purchase, with no immediate plans for acquisition. The report notes that Iger is being viewed by some within the company as overly cautious.

All this comes after former Disney CEO Bob Chapek was released in November 2022, bringing Iger out of retirement to replace him. This report by Bloomberg isn’t the first time that reports have circulated regarding a possible Disney-EA acquisition. Disney is part of a list of large companies that have been courting EA over the last year and a half, alongside the likes of Apple and Amazon. If Disney were to acquire the game publisher, it would continue the recent trend of major acquisitions in the gaming industry.

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Why does Disney want to buy Electronic Arts?

Disney likely wants to acquire Electronic Arts to have an in-house gaming publisher to create and distribute games based on its IPs.

The multimedia giant would be able to make games based on major IPs in-house, without the need to license out rights to other companies. Disney currently licenses out the rights to its major IPs to various gaming studios, including Electronic Arts making games based on Star Wars, Sony Interactive Entertainment creating Spider-Man games, and Bethesda Softworks working on a new Indiana Jones shooter.

Alternatively, having Electronic Arts under its umbrella may be another way for the media giant to have its Disney+ streaming service remain competitive against Netflix. Netflix has been building up its own gaming operation, including developing its own games and letting subscribers play titles through the Netflix app.

Will Disney be able to buy out EA?

It is unknown if EA will be purchased by Disney or any other company, but this news comes at a time when there are signs of turmoil within the publisher.

Bioware is facing legal action after laying off employees who were working on Dragon Age: Dreadwolf. EA owns the studio, which has a souring reputation after two unpopular titles in Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem, and repeated delays for its upcoming titles. Alongside this, the Star Wars Jedi series may be in jeopardy after its director departed EA.

If Disney were to purchase EA, it may change how the company uses its IPs in video games. There could be more video games released using Disney IPs to tap into other demographics such as children’s games, or even more cross-IP games in the vein of Kingdom Hearts.

All of this is hypothetical, however. While there is more than a year’s worth of reportage regarding Electronic Arts being for sale, it’s unclear if Disney would be willing to beat out tech giants Apple and Amazon in a bidding war. There’s also no guarantee that EA will be sold at all. Even if EA and Disney start discussing an acquisition, it could take a long while to agree to terms and even longer to complete a merger.

Regardless, Disney looking at EA as a possible purchase joins a long list of acquisitions by large companies in the gaming industry. This would be unique as many of the recent purchases have centered around the “console wars,” with both Sony and Microsoft snatching up developers and publishers to ensure future console exclusives.

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Written by Cassie Gardner

Cassie Gardner has been playing games since she was but a child, starting with a Game Boy when she was 5 years old. The discovery of Pokemon led to a lifelong interest in role-playing games of both the video game and tabletop varieties.

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