New Disney Interactive games division co-President John Pleasants says that he expects the division to turn a profit by 2013, according to statements reported by the LA Times. The division laid off a significant number of employees in January and expects to take measures to reduce another 25% of the division’s “operational overhead” in the future. Pleasants said that the January layoffs by themselves were enough to help the division save millions in overhead costs.
Pleasants and co-President John Pitaro say they plan to restructure Disney Interactive’s games business around mobile and online games. The division will divert resources away from console development, which will reduce Disney Interactive’s spending by 50% over the next four years. Disney Interactive will not phase out retail games entirely, citing high sales of the Wii game Epic Mickey. Pleasants says the division will narrow its output to a focus on four to six “major franchises.”
Disney Interactive plans to produce more content, including original IP, that can take advantage of emerging international markets and new freemium business models. Original IP generated by Disney Interactive could then be leveraged by other Disney divisions, such as merchandising. Pleasants looks cites virtual world Club Penguin as the model for this sort of new IP development in the future, in light of the virtual world’s 400% growth in the last three years.
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