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Business  7, Mar 2014

Disney’s video game division lays off 700 employees

Disney Interactive cutbacks due to Disney’s decision to combine mobile and social games businesses, and scale back in-house development

Even with the success of the figurines-based game Disney Infinity worldwide (3 million units, in fact), things do not look so good for the developers behind it. Disney Interactive has laid off a quarter of its global workforce: about 700 employees to be specific (via New York Times).

The staff cutbacks represent 26 per cent of the company’s global workforce, and is the repercussions of Disney’s decision to merge its mobile and social games businesses. Other reasons include Disney’s decision to scale back in-house game development and increase its reliance on third-party production.

Disney Interactive President James A Pitaro said that the large-scale changes were made to achieve sustainable profitability and scalability. The company will cut down 50 per cent of its annual output, which will be less than the dozen releases it pushed out in 2013. “We’re not exiting any business, and we will pursue licensing partnerships in which we retain a lot of creative input.”

Meanwhile, the company experienced a thriving mobile scene in Japan, most likely due to the country’s favoritism towards portable and mobile gaming (DeNA, GREE, Nintendo’s 3DS; the list goes on). The Tsum Tsum Disney app was downloaded more than eight million times since its release in the country on January 29.

“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,” added Pitaro.

Jonathan Toyad

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

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