Disney Interactive is no longer a standalone pillar with The Walt Disney Company.
The corporation announced that it is combining its video game publisher wing with Disney Consumer Products. This new division is now known as Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI). In recent years, Disney has pulled back from some of its more ambitious attempts at tackling the gaming market, and it is now much more focused on smartphone and tablet apps. This signifies that — beyond its mobile and Disney Infinity business — the multimedia conglomerate wants to limit its exposure to the gaming space. In the past, the division has bled money due to having several in-house studios, but the company’s gaming strategy is now much leaner and focused.
The merger with the products division also comes as the Disney Infinity franchise continues to find success. The series combines games with interactive toys, and it is one of the top sellers over the last two years. It seems likely that the company may want more initiatives along those lines and DCPI could deliver that. Since publisher Activision kicked off the interactive-toy market four years ago with Skylanders, these kinds of games have generated more than $4 billion in sales. And a survey has found that parents regularly spend more than $100 on these kinds of products and toys every six months.
Disney Infinity and Disney Infinity 2.0 debuted during the last half of the year in 2013 and 2014, respectively. 2.0 focused on Marvel characters, and 3.0, which is coming Aug. 23, is all about Star Wars. With huge brands like that, Disney Infinity has started to grab a significant portion of the interactive-toy market — both in terms of software and action-figure sales. This has led to Activision firing back with a new Skylanders game that will include some Nintendo characters and vehicles, but it has also led to Warner Bros. and Lego agreeing to enter the space with Lego Dimensions. That game will bring together interactive toys from popular brands like The Lord of the Rings, Batman, and Back to the Future. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s Amiibo interactive figures are still so popular that they are often nearly impossible to find in stores and regularly outsell Skylanders and Infinity.
In a statement, The Walt Disney company chief operating officer Tom Staggs explained that “a shared innovation strategy will enable this new segment to create unique and engaging products and experiences that exceed consumers’ expectations.”
Disney notes that the consumer-products division and its gaming publisher have had increasingly similar objectives over recent years. The merger will enable the two companies to share their expertise in technology as well as their relationships with retailers.
Going forward, Leslie Ferraro and Jimmy Pitaro will jointly run the division. Ferraro was previously the head of Disney Consumer Products while Pitaro ran Disney Interactive.
In addition to the existing consumer products and gaming businesses — which include licensing, product development, and game development — Disney will create a new research-and-development division called DCPI Labs. This group will look into cutting-edge technologies to build new immersive products.