Layoffs at Disney-owned studios could signal increased focus on mobile and social

The Walt Disney Company is shifting its gaming focus to mobile, social, and the upcoming Disney Infinity.

Disney’s game division, Disney Interactive, reportedly laid off 50 employees yesterday. This is in addition to the closure of Epic Mickey developer Junction Point Studios in Austin, Texas.

The Los Angeles Times report, spotted by Joystiq, cites a source that is “knowledgeable” but “not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.”

According to the Times, the cutbacks come as Disney Interactive aims for profitability this fiscal year. Last quarter, the company reported that interactive revenues for the year decreased 14 percent, and quarterly revenues were also down 14 percent. It also noted a reduction console game development as part of an ongoing shift to the mobile and social sector. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two sold 529,000 units last year, reports the NPD.

The Times also obtained an internal email sent to employees from Disney Interactive copresident John Pleasants. In it, he mentioned the closure of Junction Point, noting that the “division operates in a rapidly evolving industry” and that it must “sometimes make difficult decisions to ensure we’re meeting market demands.” One of those decisions is increased focus on its upcoming project, Disney Infinity.

It’s likely that the ever-growing mobile and social space is taking priority for Disney’s gaming division, and Junction Point was one of the first casualties.

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