Warner Bros. Excels Where Disney Fails in Their Foray into Video Games

With the release of Disney’s third quarter 2011 fiscal year results last week we have further insight into Disney Interactive’s failure in the console video games space as they now transition to focus on mobile and casual games. In contrast we have Warner Bros. who like Disney (both starting the strategy around the same time in 2005) have made acquisitions of independent video games developers to build up their presence in the industry but have been doing much better job at it. The difference is with their approach to developing games and how they work with their acquired studios as well as the quality of the studios they are acquiring and building up.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment with the acquisitions of studios such as Monolith Productions, NetherRealmStudios (formerly Midway Chicago), Traveller’s Tales, and a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios have got it almost perfect in identifying the right studios to boost their video game strategy. With subsidiaries like DC Comics Warner Bros. have the properties and the talent to develop high quality games as well as coming up with original properties. Or like with NetherRealm Studios and the Mortal Kombat series they have successfully rejuvenated popular game properties for critical and commercial success.

Disney on the other hand have laid off a large percentage of staff at their Black Rock Studios and shut down Propaganda Games along with it’s projects. Recent acquisitions of Playdom and Tapulous are aiming to capture the casual and mobile markets but they still have Junction Point Studios who made the game Epic Mickey to mixed reviews. Junction Point is headed by industry veteran Warren Spector and they are still hiring and working on unannounced projects but they look to also be developing more social and mobile games.

Disney’s gaming division incurred a 115m operating income loss last quarter with investors questioning their approach to the video game market. With their focus on the Facebook and iOS gaming markets they are looking for the quick buck which may or may not be sustainable in the long run but at least they are acquiring the right sort of talent for the strategy.

As for Warner Bros. the future looks strong with Mortal Kombat selling well, Rocksteady Studios building a lot of buzz with their next Batman Game, Batman: Arkham City, and whatever MMO project Turbine is doing next. Also Monolith Studios just announced today that they are developing a downloadable XBLA/PSN/PC game in the Batman universe that will be a competitive multiplayer shooter, the next project by the creators of the F.E.A.R. games.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is a subsidiary of Time Warner (TWX).

Disney Interactive is a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company (DIS).

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Posted on May 17, 2011, in Articles, Business, Entertainment, IOS, iphone, News, Technology, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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