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Disney purchasing Star Wars


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#1 andersb25

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:10 PM

Do you think the right for FFG to publish SW products might change now when Disney own SW? I guess that the existing contract will not be affected but when happens when that runs out? And when will that happen is another question.

Would be sad if the exciting plans for SW RPG is only going to be realized halfway…



#2 Toqtamish

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:56 PM

Nothing is going to change. The deal still exists between Lucasfilm and FFG.



#3 andersb25

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 07:57 PM

That is good. But I wonder about the expiration date of the contract and will Disney want to renew it when it expires….



#4 Toqtamish

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 02:39 AM

That is still years away and will depend on how successful the license has been for FFG and Lucasfilm/Disney.



#5 flyingcircus

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 03:09 AM

 Disney likes money so they probably would renew.



#6 MechaBri.Zilla

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 05:44 AM

If anything I would think that Disney may bring more stability to the contracts.  For whatever reason, no one ever seems to want to renew contracts with Lucas.  This is what, the 4th incarnation of a SW RPG?  If you seperate the D20 and the Saga edition.

I'm hoping that someone who actually understands their franchise a little better, like Disney, might stabalize things enough that we could see something a little more long term.



#7 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:42 AM

MechaBri.Zilla said:

If anything I would think that Disney may bring more stability to the contracts.  For whatever reason, no one ever seems to want to renew contracts with Lucas.  This is what, the 4th incarnation of a SW RPG?  If you seperate the D20 and the Saga edition.

I'm hoping that someone who actually understands their franchise a little better, like Disney, might stabalize things enough that we could see something a little more long term.

Well, in regards to the RPG, WEG lost the license due to bad financial decisions with the end result of them winding up in breach of contract for failure to pay the necessary licensing fees.

As for WotC, there simply wasn't a big enough return on investment in comparison to D&D, a product for which they own the IP instead of having to pay a hefty sum to use somebody else's IP.  But they did renew their license at least once, as they had it for little more than a decade; the last Saga Edition book, Unknown Regions, was published in May 2010, and they had the license since at least 1999 given lead time on an RPG product for Wizards is roughly one year, possibly more for a corebook.

So the license changing hands isn't due to a lack of any kind of stability, but ultimately due to financial reasons, something that could very much still occur for FFG.


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#8 MechaBri.Zilla

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 10:54 AM

I don't know the details of the WEG issues, but that is sort of my point.  If your license fee on SW is so high, that no one can make money on one of the most valuable IP's in history, then you are doing it wrong.  Clearly Lucas didn't put any time into understanding the RPG business.  Of course, it didn't really matter, because someone will always think that they should be able to make some money on SW, so there will always be someone ready to give it the old college try.



#9 aramis

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

MechaBri.Zilla said:

I don't know the details of the WEG issues, but that is sort of my point.  If your license fee on SW is so high, that no one can make money on one of the most valuable IP's in history, then you are doing it wrong.  Clearly Lucas didn't put any time into understanding the RPG business.  Of course, it didn't really matter, because someone will always think that they should be able to make some money on SW, so there will always be someone ready to give it the old college try.

WEG made STUPIDLY good money on it - but mis-spent that money, and forgot about long-tail sales distribution when renewing, plus book returns, and had too many other licenses, and the combination of all that really ran them into the red. Indianna Jones, Tank Girl, Necroscope, Hercules & Xena, MiB, and Batman were their other licenses. They had too much riding on the others, without the cultural phenomenon to drive sales for those. Plus the whole Torg line - excellent, but not for everyone. It was a case of they thought their success with SW would generalize, but it didn't. LFL, however, learned the real value of board and roleplaying games from WEG's success.

Wizards made rather decent money at it - enough to justify a 14+ book line on the 3rd of their editions (SWSE had a core rulebook, 13 sourcebooks, and a lot of freebies). Based upon the way the news of the release was leaked, it looked like Wizards and Mongoose both were talking to LFL, and FFG secured the license out from under Wizards. 

FFG thinks they can make money at it - they've taken and made money on less well known licenses. They can keep the quality up and the price, well, not down, but at least not too high. I'm expecting a $60 core book… glossy, full color hardcover, because that's the price point for other lines. 



#10 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:39 PM

aramis said:

Wizards made rather decent money at it - enough to justify a 14+ book line on the 3rd of their editions (SWSE had a core rulebook, 13 sourcebooks, and a lot of freebies). Based upon the way the news of the release was leaked, it looked like Wizards and Mongoose both were talking to LFL, and FFG secured the license out from under Wizards. 

Sorry, but that's not entirely correct.

Wizards voluntarily chose not to renew their license (there was even announcement saying they had decided to let the license lapse rather than renew it), which then began the frenzy of other RPG publishers trying to scoop up the rights, amongst which were Mongoose and obviously FFG.  It wasn't the case of WEG where the license-holder defaulted, as WotC was certainly making enough money off the minis line even when there wasn't an actively supported RPG to to pay the LFL licensing fees and still be in the black.  Given WotC's increased focus on digial media for D&D (Insider and the character generator amidst other tools), the fact that they couldn't really do digital products for Star Wars may have been the deal-breaker for them and a leading reason why they opted not to renew their license.

If Wizards had wanted to keep the license, we wouldn't be having this discussion, as they would have simply renewed their license and FFG wouldn't be involved in Star Wars gaming at all.  After all, there was a point when WotC announced a license renewal about six years ago (around the time that RotS hit theaters), during which time the RCR had been put on "indefinite hiatus" and Saga Edition wasn't anywhere close to being a concept.  From a business perspcective, WotC chose to focus their RPG efforts on properties they owned, thus enabling them to keep a much larger share of the revenue as well as having the freedom to do what they want without having to go through a lengthy approvals process; after all, WotC had to delay publishing on The Force Unleashed campaign guide (slated to be the first supplement after the core rulebook was released) because LFL wanted a whole big "media tie-in event" for the game and LucasArts couldn't deliver the goods by the originally scheduled release date (methinks a lesson was learned regarding rushed products and upset fans courtesy of KOTOR2).  That had to be annoying for the WotC top brass, to pretty much have a product that was ready to go the printers and that staff had already been paid for, but now had to wait several months before they could have a chance to seeing a return on investment.

It seems that in the case of licenses for RPGs, whoever nabs it has the option of enewing the license before the IP-owner can go looking for a new partner.  In fact, it's probably a requirement so that a gaming company doesn't have the license suddenly yanked out from under them while in the midst of a successful product line and thus left with a bunch of product that they can't legally sell because they no longer hold said license.  Given how must gaming companies operate on a pretty slim profit margin, they'd want some degree of assurance that the IP-owner won't just pull the rug out from under them on a whim or simply because another company promised a better return on investment, and a renewal option would be the most likely means of doing so.

Given the fiscal resources at Wizards' disposal thanks in no small part to D&D, then there's no way any other RPG company really would have been able to "buy the rights" out from under them.


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#11 aramis

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:36 PM

Donovan Morningfire said:

Given the fiscal resources at Wizards' disposal thanks in no small part to D&D, then there's no way any other RPG company really would have been able to "buy the rights" out from under them.

It happened with the Star Trek license - Decipher made a bid that resulted in LUG not gettting renewed by Paramount.

To the point where Decipher served LUG a C&D letter right after LUG announced their lineup for the following year, and Paramount's rep returned LUG's renewal check.

Most gaming licenses allow either party to terminate for any reason at conclusion of the term (I've had this confirmed for the Traveller license, for example, and Kenzer & Co was quite clear about similar for the HM4 license. HM5 is a response to HM4 not being renewed.) Matthew was pursuing the license BEFORE WOTC announced not going for it. (His first post on the subject was about 2-3 months prior to WOTC's announcement. It wasn't quite open, but in retrospect, and based upon his leaking that the license had NOT been picked up by WOTC nor Mongoose, and that it was a major company noted for board games, miniatures, and RPG's - which was a fair clue that it was either FanPro or FFG, and FanPro immediately said "Not Us"…).

Matt's leaking of the information was extremely unprofessional of him, IMO.






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