Disney triples game dev effort

According to this article, Disney is reaching out and grabbing itself a piece. Last year Disney spent about $100 million on game development, which has increased to $130 million this year and, over the next five years, will further grow to $350 million “per year in video game investment, principally consoles and handhelds,” according to CFO Tom Staggs.

Of course, awestruck by what I from now on will refer to as the “MMOG-bubble,” Disney will also develop some online multiplayer variety of its successful “Pirates of the Caribbean.” After shipping (not selling) about 700,000 units of Spectrobes (Jupiter Corp. JP) three months ago, it yearns, for more.

Staggs’ language reveals nothing new about Disney’s strategery: “I am comfortable that it warrants a sequel in the games business. We would like to see video games become a vibrant creative venture.” Unsurprisingly then is that 70% of development expenditure will go towards establishing “content franchises.”

I ‘m guessing that Disney figures it’s more profitable to develop things themselves, rather than having a slew of mediocre companies develop the life out of its franchises. Since EA already has a licensing agreement for Disney’s ESPN, small developers will be shut out from accessing the tried-and-true Disney stable. </innovation>

As a final indication of Disney’s exhausted ideas, Staggs mentioned the company is exploring opportunities for gaming initiatives in virtual worlds. Kind of like a freaky online Disney World, I suppose. Considering how lucrative fun parks have been in terms of obfuscating revenue, there’s no reason to assume a virtual variety can’t serve the same purpose. [unrelated but relevant, “Disneyland Resort is taking video gaming 4-D“]

To end on a high note, I do hope that Disney will use its leverage responsibly. Since the company does hold a significant stake in keeping consumers engaged, maybe making a few games will give it some new ideas.

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