In an interview with Develop, EA Games President Frank Gibeau stated that “the days of licensed-based, 75-rated games copies are dead like the dinosaur.” In the past, EA was well-known for releasing a large number of license-based games, though the total number of such titles being published by EA has dwindled over recent years.
According to Gibeau, one of the reasons for focusing less on these titles is concerned with the relation between the publisher and the licensor. With the total amount of royalties a publisher owes the licensor on the rise, EA saw profit margins drop for such titles in recent years. Additionally, Gibeau indicated that working with a non-licensed IP generally allows for greater creativity and generally better results, given the fact that the amount of money and number of man-hours that need to be spent on creating a license-based game are not all that different from those needed to create a new IP.
Concerning two of the most “unique” IPs launched by EA in recent years, Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space, Gibeau stated that while Dead Space made money, it still failed to hit expectations. Similarly, Mirror’s Edge did not manage to live up to expectations as the developers did not polish the game enough, and did not manage to take all of the concepts in the game as far as might have been desirable. However, Gibeau indicated EA will not give up on either IP as he stated that the potential payoffs for success could be huge, even though an increased risk is generally involved when handling a new IP.
It is unclear if EA will fully cease to release license-based titles, or if it will merely cease releasing such titles aimed at a core-audience. EA’s most recent license-based game, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One) was released on November 16th.