At Casual Connect USA, the game conference for casual gaming, Disney executive Kyle Laughlin announced that Disney is overhauling its gaming strategy and are working with four new partners to develop titles featuring Disney IPs for mobile platforms. Laughlin revealed that Gameloft, Glu, Ludia, and PerBlue will be Disney’s new partners in the mobile gaming sphere and that all of them are working on a new game for the entertainment giant.
In the last few years, Disney has divested significant parts of its formerly robust gaming section. In 2016, Disney discontinued its “figures-to-life” Disney Infinity NFC figure franchise and shuttered both developer Avalanche Studios and Disney Interactive, its primary in-house game studio. Recently, Disney also shut down the MMO Marvel Heroes which was produced by the now-defunct studio Gazillion.
Laughlin says that Disney has been working to find the right partners, and wants to work with developers that have had success before. Disney’s new gaming plan will focus on new genres, like RPGs and beat-em-ups, and might not just be limited to mobile. Laughlin stated that Disney would be open to bringing games to new platforms in the future such as Steam on PC.
What this means for previous Disney IP-related mobile games is unknown. While Electronic Arts has been the licensee for Star Wars on consoles and PC since 2013, Disney has partnered with multiple studios for mobile games. In particular Star Wars: Force Arena is only a year old, but developer Netmarble Games’ name was conspicuously absent from the list of future mobile partners announced by Laughlin.
Whether or not this new approach to who and how Disney will lend its IPs to outside studios will affect console and PC games isn’t known at this time. After the massive disappointment in EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2, though, it wouldn’t be surprising if the big shots at Disney were having second thoughts about giving EA exclusive rights to the license.