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Significant layoffs at Disney's Interactive Group

January 24, 2011 |  5:54 pm

Disney Interactive Media Group laid off a “sizable” number of employees Monday as part of a restructuring of the money-losing digital unit, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

It is unclear exactly how many people have lost their jobs in the reorganization. Cuts include “minimal” job reductions at Junction Point Studios in Austin, Texas, the development group within Disney Interactive that created the top-selling Epic Mickey video game, a company spokeswoman said. She declined to say how many employees were let go at Disney Interactive's eight development studios, or how many people work for the digital group. 

Disney acquired Junction Point in 2007 to bring acclaimed game developer Warren Spector's brand of storytelling into the company. Spector did not respond to requests for comment.

The interactive group's co-presidents, James A. Pitaro and John Pleasants, are under pressure to staunch the losses at the unit, which produces video games, creates online virtual worlds and manages the company's portal.

Since Pleasants and Pitaro took the helm last fall, some key Disney interactive executives have exited, including Graham Hopper and Paul Yanover.

Earlier this month, Disney closed its Vancouver studio, Propaganda Games, putting 70 people out of work. That unit had recently completed work on Tron: Evolution, a weak-selling console game that explores the world of Walt Disney Studio's sci-fi film, “Tron: Legacy.”

--Dawn C. Chmielewski