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Disney erases video game studio

Disney Interactive Studios has closed its Vancouver, Canada-based game development studio Propaganda Games, representing another in a series of shake-ups since John Pleasants was installed last fall as head of the games group.

Propaganda recently completed work on Tron: Evolution, a console game that explores events leading up to the conflict in the film "Tron: Legacy." Even though it featured voice talent from the film, sales have been weak. Disney has sold only 190,755 copies, according to NPD Group.

The Canadian studio had been hit with a round of layoffs last October, after Disney cancelled Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned, a role-playing game inspired by the movie franchise. Propaganda employed about 70 people.

Propaganda's closing signals a new emphasis for the games group under Pleasants, who was brought into Disney with the acquisition last summer of online social gaming company Playdom, where he was chief executive. He oversees all of Disney's video game business, including console titles, mobile and online games, and Web-based virtual worlds such as Club Penguin and the recently launched World of Cars.

In a recent earnings call, Disney Chief Executive Robert A. Iger noted that the games business is undergoing a shift away from consoles toward social and mobile games.

"We've seen a pretty big shift in games from console to what we'll call multiplatform, everything from mobile apps to social networking games," Iger said on the call. "By putting John Pleasants in to run games, not only will he focus on turning those businesses to profitability, but diversifying our presence in the business."

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski and Ben Fritz


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Screen shot from Tron: Evolution, The Video Game, a video game from Disney Interactive. Credit: Disney Interactive Studios


Comments () | Archives (4)

This isn't good, there is NO "shifting away" from consoles, what is happening is MORE people are playing simple games, which happen to be on mobile platforms and online. However, that being said, core gamers, and the gaming industry (though numbers have been down, that is a reflection on the products being released) but essentially, is all about polish, which DIMG has NOT been addressing. Social media games are popular but they will not satisfy a demand for console games which will always thrive so long as products are sent out FINISHED and POLISHED, even Epic Mickey wasn't completely polished, but the numbers are still very good for the SOLO-"console" game. let me run DIMG, acquire game studios that emphasize completed products and I could run it better than these people.

I guess gamers are becoming more aware that games adopted from movies and vice-versa isn't nearly as good as games created out of real creativity!

Can't really blame Disney for this one in light of the absurd valuations that Farmville is getting for Zynga. If spammy Facebook games are the future, then spammy Facebook games it is. Social is king these days. I hope somebody will still make good console games that aren't motion-based or online, but maybe not.

I think the decline in sales has more to do with the poor quality of games they produce then games being available in multiple platforms. Gamers are privy to the sloppy work put into games which accompany movie releases.


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