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EA not planning on shipping new Star Wars games before April 2014

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Electronic Arts is not planning on shipping a new Star Wars title in its current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2014, according to executive chairman Larry Probst.

The publisher said in its quarterly investor call today it will factor in expenses related to developing new Star Wars games in its fiscal year 2014, which started April 1. EA is developing new Star Wars games at three of its studios: Visceral Games, DICE and BioWare.

Disney, which acquired Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise earlier this year, said during an investor call today that it's in the process of planning new video games for mobile devices, tablets and the web based the license.

Electronic Arts announced this week it had signed an exclusive deal with Disney to publish games based on the Star Wars franchise aimed at the "core gaming audience, [and] spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres." EA studios DICE and Visceral Games will produce new Star Wars games as part of the agreement, while BioWare will continue to develop Star Wars games, including massively multiplayer online role-playing game The Old Republic.

"The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay," EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said in the deal's announcement.

Gibeau explained today that the licensing deal with Disney does not represent a shift away from fostering original, wholly-owned intellectual property.

"As it relates to our overall portfolio, [Star Wars] is very complementary to our wholly-owned IP plans," Gibeau said during today's call. "Wholly-owned IP is the centerpiece of our portfolio. We're going to continue to invest and grow that. The Star Wars products and ideas we have are very complementary to what we're planning over the next couple years. It gives us an opportunity to reach new audiences that will be potentially accretive over the long term."

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