Disney Pulls 'Tiny Death Star' From Mobile Stores Without Warning Developer, Fans

October 6, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Disney recently pulled a Star Wars- themed mobile game called Tiny Death Star from online app stores without warning players or its development team of the action in advance. A spin-off of Tiny Tower, Tiny Death Star is a business management game that pays homage to the Star Wars Death Star from the films. It was developed by NimbleBit for Disney.

The game, which is less than a year old, has now been pulled from the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store by Disney, which did not inform the game's developer NimbleBit that it was going to do so.

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Disney Acquires Maker Studios

March 25, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Disney has acquired YouTube video network Maker Studios. The company has paid $500 million to acquire the outfit, which is best known for carrying the videos made by YouTube star 'PewDiePie.' Last year PewDiePie beat such stars as Miley Cyrus and One Direction to become YouTube’s most watched star in H2 2013.

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Disney Cuts 700 Jobs

March 6, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Disney has confirmed that it is cutting 700 jobs, or 26 percent of its worldwide workforce according to reports in Variety and the New York Times. A good number of the cuts will hit Disney’s Playdom social games group.

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Report: Disney Interactive to Lay Off 'Several Hundred' Employees

February 4, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) is reporting that Disney Interactive is getting ready to lay off several hundred employees from its global workforce. The layoffs are expected to begin shortly after the company releases its latest quarterly results - which will happen tomorrow. Currently the company employs about 3,000 people across various studios.

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Three Million Disney Infinity Starter Packs Sold

January 20, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Disney's game and toy tie-up Disney Infinity has managed to sell through three million "starter packs" according to the New York Times. The game launched in August of 2013 and managed to move three million units. Starter packs come with the game, an Infinity Base peripheral, three character figures, three Play Sets, one Disc and unique Web codes for online and mobile content. The Xbox 360 version of the starter pack starts at right around $80.

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Disney Removes 'Energy System' from Free-to-Play Game Where's My Water? 2

December 20, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Disney is the latest company to receive pushback from gamers who are growing increasingly tired of free-to-play games having aggressive in-game micro-transaction schemes.

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Disney Reorganizing Games Division, John Pleasants Leaving Company

November 11, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The Walt Disney Company is reorganizing its video games and media groups under the auspices of Disney Interactive, according to a GII report. The company will merge the two group together and current co-president Jimmy Pitaro will take charge of the division. Co-President John Pleasants will be leaving his current post, but he will reportedly work closely with Pitaro "to ensure a smooth transition and serve as a strategic consultant to the business."

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Poll Results: Games that Use Toy Tie-Ins to Unlock Game Play

October 21, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Last week we asked our readers, "How do you feel about games that require you to buy toys to access game content (Skylanders, Disney Infinity)?" Nearly half of those who voted said that this practice of tying toys to video games to unlock access to characters, levels, and other game content is a complete rip-off for consumers.

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Toontown Online Shutting Down Sept. 19

August 22, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Disney announced that it will shut down its kid-friendly MMO Toontown Online in less than a month. The only silver lining for subscribers is that they will get unfettered access to all of the games extra services. Toontown Online is a fairly non-violent MMMO that lets kids fight against menacing toons called "Cogs" (who don't like fun) using pies and other non-lethal weapons.

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EA and Disney Ink Star Wars Game Deal

May 7, 2013 -

Electronic Arts announced that it has secured a multi-year, multi-title licensing agreement with Disney to create multiple Star Wars games. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, nor were any of the games that EA plans on making. The announcement was made by President of EA Labels Frank Gibeau on EA's official blog.

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Disney Closing LucasArts

April 3, 2013 -

Disney is closing LucasArts, the game development studio that has been a part of the LucasFilms family for decades. Disney said that its shift from an internal development model to a licensing model means that it needs to minimize its risks for its "broader portfolio" of games.

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LA Times: 50 Additional Employees Laid Off at Disney Interactive this Week

January 30, 2013 -

While the focus has been on the closure of Warren Spector's Junction Point Studios yesterday, the LA Times is reporting that additional employees working for Disney's games division were laid off as well. Citing an anonymous source inside the company who was "not authorized to discuss the matter publicly," the LA Times reports that 50 more employees lost their jobs at Disney Interactive yesterday.

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Warren Spector No Longer With Disney

January 29, 2013 -

Polygon has confirmed that Epic Mickey developer Warren Spector is no longer a part of Disney's games business. He along with everyone else at Junction Point Studios is now out of work.

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Disney Confirms Closure of Warren Spector's Junction Point Studio

January 29, 2013 -

The studio founded by Warren Spector and later purchased by Disney has been closed, according to multiple reports and a confirmation from a representative at Disney. Spector's studio was best known for developing Epic Mickey and Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.

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Ron Gilbert Wants Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion Back

November 30, 2012 -

Double Fine's Ron Gilbert wants the Monkey Island franchise back from Disney. The creator of the popular point-and-click adventure game franchise lost the rights to Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion after he left LucasArts. Then the company decided to sell the franchise off to Disney. Gilbert thinks that Disney doesn't know what to do with the franchise and is just letting it languish. He describes the situation as very sad.

"Yeah, I wish I owned Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, you know?," said Gilbert.

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Three Walt Disney Company Executives to Keynote App Conference

September 14, 2012 -

Engage Digital announced that three different divisions of The Walt Disney Company will take part in The App Conference by providing a "unique and powerful keynote" at the event. The App Conference takes place October 18-19, 2012 in Santa Clara, California.

In its second year, the App Conference focuses on application development, marketing and revenue generation on mobile and tablet devices. The conference program features two tracks covering the important elements of product and business strategies in the mobile space.

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Disney to Spend $4.7 Million on Online Safety Campaign for Club Penguin

July 5, 2012 -

In the wake of Sulake's problems with Habbo, Disney has decided to spend $4.7 million on an internet safety campaign for its popular massively-multiplayer online game for kids, Club Penguin. The announcement was made by the game's co-founder Lane Merrifield today. The internet safety campaign hopes to target more than 100 million children and parents around the world who use Club Penguin.

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Disney Fantasy Cruises Get High Tech Game Technology

April 19, 2012 -

If you are taking your family on a Disney Fantasy Cruise any time soon, you may be happy to hear that video games are an important part of the cruise's entertainment offerings. The interactive entertainment offerings are in two brand new $1 billion ships sailing the Caribbean: the Disney Magic and the Disney Fantasy. 

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Disney Wants to Cash in on 'Seal Team 6'

May 17, 2011 -

According to a Forbes report, Disney has applied for the trademark "Seal Team 6," the military unit responsible for the death of notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden. A day after the raid (which took place May 3 in Pakistan), Disney applied for a trio of patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office related to "entertainment and education services," toys, games, and Christmas stockings, ornaments and snow globes.. Yes, Christmas items.

Disney has not publicly commented on the outed patents.

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Report: 80 Jobs Cut from Disney Interactive Media Group

March 15, 2011 -

Though not confirmed by Disney Interactive Media Group, at least 80 employees, or two percent of its workforce are rumored to be laid off. According to web site paidContent, co-president Jimmy Pitaro led the latest cuts, which follows the loss of around 200 employees in January. The company has lost a total of seven percent of its 4000 strong workforce in 2011.

Disney has been cutting staff as part of a reorganization plan that saw it close Turok developer Propaganda Games and laid off staff at Warren Specter’s Junction Point. paidContent further reports that this latest round of layoffs will be the last and was what Disney had called "targeted layoffs" as part of its restructuring plan.

Source: GI.biz

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Massive Layoffs at Disney Interactive Studios

January 25, 2011 -

Disney Interactive Studios has laid off a large number of its staff at multiple studios according to several published reports. While the exact number is unknown at this point (some are saying half of its 700 employees, others say around 250) the affected studios include Junction Point and Black Rock. Last week it was revealed that Disney closed its Propaganda Games studio.

A Disney representative told Variety: "As part of setting a strategic direction for future success in the digital media space, the Disney Interactive Media Group today began a restructuring process," Disney said in a statement.

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Disney Closes Propaganda Games

January 20, 2011 -

Disney Interactive Studios has shut down its Vancouver-based development studio Propaganda Games, according to this GameSpot report. Propaganda had just finished the development of TRON: Evolution for various platforms. The tie-in game to the film TRON: Legacy didn't do as well as Disney had hoped.

Propaganda Games was founded in 2005 by ex-EA employees and Disney. The studio hasn't had the best of luck in the last few years. The company saw layoffs in 2009 as it was developing a new Turok game and in October of 2010 saw additional cuts when Disney cancelled the action role-playing game Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned.

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Propaganda Games Layoffs Confirmed

October 15, 2010 -

While most will not care that Disney Interactive has cancelled the Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned, some will be discouraged to hear that developer Propaganda Games has laid off a number of employees as a side effect. The company is also working on the upcoming Tron: Evolution game and the DLC that will follow the game's release in December. That development team remains unscathed.

Here is the official statement from an unnamed Disney Interactive representative (from Joystiq):

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Rumor: Disney in Talks to Buy Playdom

July 23, 2010 -

Walt Disney is in talks with social game company Playdom to buy them out for an estimated $500 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing sources familiar with the situation. Those "people" say that Disney's plan is to use the Mountain View, California-based company to incorporate its popular brands and characters into social games. Disney already has a deal with Playdom to develop social games using Disney's ESPN brand and is an investor in Playdom through its Steamboat Ventures venture-capital fund. The Disney fund recently participated in a $33 million financing round, bringing to $76 million the total financing raised by the start-up, Playdom said in the past.

Of the biggest social game makers, Playdom ranks third behind Zynga and Playfish. The company has 42 million active users playing its game a month on Facebook, compared to Zynga's 211 million. Still, Disney is less interested in Playdom's games and more interested in its ability to create them. For them this acquisition is more about developing its own properties and less abpout originality.

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EA, Ubi, SCEA and Disney Target of Voice Recognition Suit

November 16, 2009 -

A Texas-based company has filed a lawsuit alleging that a group of game makers violated its patent related to voice recognition technology.

Filed on November 10 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, plaintiff Bareis Technologies, LLC names Ubisoft, Inc. Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc., Electronic Arts, Inc. and Disney Interactive Studios, Inc. The lawsuit revolves around a U.S. Patent for “Optical Disk Having Speech Recognition Templates for Information Access,” which Bareis owns.

The games specifically called out as infringing in the complaint are Ubi Soft’s Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Lockdown, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Jungle Storm, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2 Summit Strike, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon 2, and Tom Clancy’s EndWar, SCEA’s SoCom: U.S. Navy SEALs, SoCom II: U.S. Navy SEALs, SoCom III: U.S. Navy SEALs, SoCom Combined Assault, EA’s NASCAR 06 and NASCAR 07 and Disney’s Phonics Quest.

The plaintiff is seeking a jury trial and “all damages caused by the infringement of the ‘407 patent, which by statute can be no less than a reasonable royalty.”

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Disney Might Buy EA, Says Wall Street Journal

December 11, 2008 -

Has the hunter become the hunted?

Electronic Arts, which pursued GTA publisher Take-Two Interactive for much of 2008, may now be an acquisition target of Disney.

According to financial website The Motley Fool, the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column suggested yesterday that Disney might be eyeing EA. The WSJ apparently based their speculation on comments made by Disney's Chief Financial Officer during a conference call on Tuesday. From the Fool:

Asked if Disney's focus would be on developing in-house games over buying more developers, [CFO Tom] Staggs responded, "I don't want you to conclude that those are in the long term mutually exclusive." He went on to say that a "strategic and attractive" purchase would be "a possibility" for the family entertainment giant.

Did he say Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS)? No. However, a combination of EA's battered share price and Disney's desire to ramp up its gaming presence dovetail nicely in the rumor mill.

The Motley Fool offers five reasons why a Disney takeover of EA makes sense:

  • Disney has acquired game companies before (Avalanche Studios, Club Penguin)
  • EA Sports and Disney's ESPN would have synergy
  • Disney's MMOs haven't worked out so far, but EA has Warhammer
  • Racing is a major theme is Disney's films and parks; EA has Need For Speed
  • Convergence of Disney's theme parks with EA's strong IP

Still, The Motley Fool views the chances of a Disney-EA deal as slim. And, it's pretty clear that, when it talks about acquisitions, family-friendly Disney isn't thinking of Take-Two and GTA.

49 comments

Wall Street Journal: Disney Should Buy EA

November 3, 2008 -

Turnabout, as they say, is fair play.

While Electronic Arts spent the better part of 2008 in a futile bid to acquire Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive, the Wall Street Journal suggests that EA itself has the makings of a tasty takeover morsel.

Word comes via Barron's that the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) proposed on Saturday that Disney acquire EA:

In a bold call in Saturday’s Heard On The Street column, the Wall Street Journal proposed that Disney (DIS) ought to buy Electronic Arts (ERTS). The piece note that the timing is right, after a significant earnings miss last week knocked down the video game publisher’s stock 18% on Friday. The piece concludes that “Disney would be gutsy to step up during the current economic uncertainty. But it might be better than waiting for better times and paying top dollar.”

...EA does have a lucrative sports franchise that includes the Madden football games; Disney owns ESPN. It’s an interesting theory. But I would note that it appears simply to be a theory, not something that the Journal believes is happening right now.

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Should 'Hatred' have been removed from Steam Greenlight?:

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Matthew Wilson@phx you beat me to it. how do you screw up tetris?! my ubisoft this is just stupid. no one should ever preorder a ubisoft game again! ps people should never preorder any game regardles of dev.12/17/2014 - 6:28pm
PHX Corphttp://www.ign.com/videos/2014/12/17/what-the-heck-is-wrong-with-tetris-ps4 I give up on ubisoft12/17/2014 - 6:01pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://comicbook.com/blog/2014/08/16/exclusive-original-unaltered-cut-of-star-wars-trilogy-to-be-rele/ Yeah, this'll never happen.12/17/2014 - 5:03pm
NeenekoThey have and exercise control over which games are allowed on their privately controlled 'open forum'. Their endorsement is fairly minimal since it is only 'we do not reject this', but it is still an endorsement of sorts.12/17/2014 - 3:58pm
NeenekoHistorically there have been issues with libraries allowing some groups but not others. Perhaps 'endorsement' is too strong a word, but their editorial control IS a preapproval process, even if the standards are pretty minimal.12/17/2014 - 3:56pm
E. Zachary KnightLet's put this a different way. My local library allows any group to reserve and use multipurpose rooms. That does not mean that the Library endorses all events that take place in those rooms.12/17/2014 - 12:54pm
E. Zachary KnightValve's editorial control comes from removing problem games and accepting games to Steam. They make no claim over any games otherwise.12/17/2014 - 12:52pm
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, It is not at all a form of endorsement. Grenlight is an open forum for game developers to pitch their game to Valve/Steam and Steam users. Does Valve have some editorial control? Yes, but not to the point that they preapprove games.12/17/2014 - 12:51pm
Neeneko@EZK - I disagree. Greenlight is built off Valve's brand. While not an explicit endorsement, it is a form of it, otherwise Greenlight would have no value over other platforms.12/17/2014 - 12:05pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.latino-review.com/news/exclusive-viola-davis-bags-amanda-waller-role-in-suicide-squad Latino Review says Viola Davis will be Amanda Waller. History of Latino Review says "wait for a REAL news site to confirm".12/17/2014 - 10:48am
PHX Corphttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/17/7407869/assassins-creed-unity-glitch-broken-problems-xbox-one-patch -Facepalm- Screwup means Assassin's Creed Unity's patch is the 40GB full game on Xbox One12/17/2014 - 10:17am
PHX Corphttp://www.theverge.com/2014/12/16/7401769/the-mpaa-wants-to-strike-at-dns-records-piracy-sopa-leaked-documents Sony leaks reveal Hollywood is trying to break DNS, the backbone of the internet12/17/2014 - 10:05am
E. Zachary KnightA Game being on Greenlight is not an endorsement of said game by Valve, Steam or anyone related to Valve or Steam. Greenlight is a combined sales pitch to Steam and its users.12/17/2014 - 9:51am
E. Zachary KnightThe Life cycle of a Greenlight game: A game gets made->Developer puts it on Greenlight->Gamers vote for it->Valve decides it is worthy of a Steam release->Game is sold on Steam. While the game is merely on greenlight, it is not available for sale on Steam12/17/2014 - 9:50am
InfophileGreenlight games may in the future be sold through Steam. A game there may be "greenlit" and then sold on Steam proper, or it may not, and never actually be sold on steam. That quote refers to them selecting some games from Greenlight which they will sell12/17/2014 - 9:39am
MechaTama31"Today we’ve Greenlit another batch of 50 titles to advance through Steam Greenlight, and be offered worldwide distribution via Steam." Am I missing something here? Because it sounds like Greenlight games are sold through Steam.12/17/2014 - 9:00am
MechaTama31From the Greenlight page: "Browse through the entries here and rate up the games you want to see made available via Steam"12/17/2014 - 8:59am
MechaTama31Greenlight games aren't sold through Steam? Then what exactly *is* Greenlight?12/17/2014 - 8:58am
prh99I just wish if they are going to curate (as selective and rare as that is) for content, they'd do little for quality (like does this game actually function at all). Personally, I avoid GreenLight and Early Access like the plague because of lax standards.12/17/2014 - 1:34am
prh99EZK: My point wasn't that they are responsible for people's purchase decisions, but that their policies and criteria for approval needs some work. As far as refunds go, you know it's bad when EA has a better policy. EA, former worst company in America.12/17/2014 - 1:21am
 

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