News Article

Disney Interactive Cuts Around 700 Jobs, A Quarter of Global Staff

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Mobile and Disney Infinity likely to remain as priorities

In news surprising for its scale if not, unfortunately, its occurrence, the Disney Game and Internet Division — better known as Disney Interactive — has laid off around 700 employees today. The strong performance of Disney Infinity last year helped improve the financial performance of the group, but ongoing issues in some areas have led to a dramatic reduction in workforce of around 26%.

As reported by The New York Times, areas of strength for the company are currently in console games — primarily Infinity — and mobile products in Japan. Strategic moves include merging the successful mobile division with the struggling social games area, while internal development on all games will be reduced with a greater focus on external licensing; game production will also be reduced by around 50%, following the division's release of over 20 games last year that included some relative flops. Disney Interactive President James A. Pitaro said the following.

These are large-scale changes as we focus not just on getting to profitability but sustained profitability and scalability.

We’re not exiting any businesses, and we will pursue licensing partnerships in which we retain a lot of creative input. But this is a doubling down on mobile and an effort to focus much more intently on a core set of priorities.

At the same time we are reducing our focus in some areas, we are making strategic investments in others, and the Japan business is one.

These lay-offs are unlikely to affect successful products such as Disney Infinity, but will reduce — as indicated above — the division's overall output. Our best wishes go to those affected by today's job losses.

[via nytimes.com, gamasutra.com]

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User Comments (13)

unrandomsam

#1

unrandomsam said:

The only thing Disney could have done that I was that bothered for would have been another Rogue Squadron (HD would be a nice upgrade). But seen as they gave EA exclusive rights to Star Wars that couldn't be done. (EA wouldn't do it right anyway). I liked those games better than Starfox.

brewsky

#4

brewsky said:

I hope they give everyone ample time to prepare their portfolios and to look for other jobs. Losing a job sucks so much, especially if it's the thing you love doing.

rjejr

#5

rjejr said:

I thought I read about this last year on /. Maybe that was just the rumour though?

I don't really see Disney as a gaming company, I honestly didn't even know they made Disney Infinity. I thought they just licensed everything out to Lego, who then licensed it out to Travelers Tales. OK I knew they made Where's My Water?, but how many people do they need employed for that? 3?

Sad as always to see the layoffs, but I understand why Disney just wants to spam the licensing. Disney, Dreamworks, Star Wars, Marvel - they should just keep making the movies and license out the rest. (I know they also have all that HS Musical stuff on their TV channel but I try not to think about it.)

Daemonite

#6

Daemonite said:

@rjejr You didn't know Disney Interactive made games like Disney Infinity. seriously??? They are DISNEY! They own almost EVERYthing (except Dreamworks, as you stated) ;) and are (mostly) in control of their own licensing ...And not unimportant, since Disney Interactive is one of the few 3rd party developers still supporting the WiiU!

Ichiban

#7

Ichiban said:

Thats a shame. I still have my fingers crossed for a Lion King 20th anniversary remake. Or better still, a Lion King game built fom scratch. It really deserves it

DualWielding

#8

DualWielding said:

not surprising they have said they would focus on licensing their properties to third parties than on making the games themselves, it makes sense from their point of view, less risk..... good thing is if they are not making games themselves they be more willing to licence capcom to do remakes of older games

19Robb92

#9

19Robb92 said:

That's a TON of people. Poor souls. I hope they find new jobs.

I kind of get it though. It must be easier to outsource projects to other studios, like how EA are getting to work with the Star Wars license.

ToniK

#11

ToniK said:

Phew, the bosses get to keep their millions after all. Good for them.

sinalefa

#12

sinalefa said:

@ToniK

Of course they do. Only crazy CEOs like Iwata take a hit themselves and keep employees in their jobs.

JebbyDeringer

#13

JebbyDeringer said:

Some people seem to forget you can't survive on making crap. Just because you made a video game featuring well known characters and you yourself are a well known company doesn't mean you can just pat yourself on the back. When you have a bunch of non-gamers pushing for products for gamers their judgement is completely skewed. How can someone who has no idea what a good game plays like decide their game is good enough to sell? So many huge companies are so detached from what they sell and what their customers want. You might as well put ties on all your game boxes so we know their all business.

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