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