Industry analyst Michael Pachter has questioned the viability of Star Wars games after massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic saw subscriber figures fall before going-free-to-play less than a year after launch.
Speaking on Bloomberg TV, the Wedbush Securities analyst bluntly stated, "One has to question: is the demand still there?"
His comments came in response to the recent Electronic Arts-Disney agreement that will see EA become the exclusive developer of "core" Star Wars games. New projects are already in development at Battlefield studio DICE and Dead Space outfit Visceral Games.
Pachter described the Star Wars brand as a "huge fanboy experience," noting that its appeal may be starting to fade away as time moves on. He explained that he personally attended the original Star Wars movie premiere, pointing out it was more than 30 years ago.
"The fanboys are pretty old. They're getting long in the tooth," he said.
Despite his misgivings about the health of the Star Wars brand, Pachter said EA and Disney can be successful with the series by drawing on games from the past.
"Now, the past Star Wars games have been really successful. And two of the most successful ever were made by studios owned by Electronic Arts," he said. "One of them was Pandemic; they made Battlefront. That studio's been shut down so I don't know if they can do anything with that. The other, though, is Knights of the Old Republic. That was a huge seller on the Xbox only. It sold something like 7 million copies. So it would be really profitable, even with the big fat licensing fee to Disney."
Ultimately, Pachter said he believes that if EA and Disney can get it right, both companies stand to make a "ton of money."
EA will report earnings this afternoon after market close. More information about the EA-Disney Star Wars deal and the recent wave of layoffs is expected to be divulged.