Disney dumps 700 employees
The Walt Disney Company announced Thursday that it is eliminating positions in its interactive division. The interactive division includes video games as well as numerous online properties. Although Disney declined to name a specific number, an anonymous source told the press that approximately 700 workers will soon be unemployed. If this figure is correct, this would mean that Disney is eliminating almost a quarter of the section’s entire workforce.
The press statement, first released by the New York Times, states that “Disney Interactive has consolidated several lines of business as part of an effort to focus the division on a streamlined suite of high quality digital products.” While the Walt Disney Company has an overall enviable scorecard in terms of creating hit films, their line of interactive games and related merchandise has not comparatively speaking garnered great success.
James A. Pitaro, president of Disney Interactive, stated the company is attempting to sustain both “profitability” and “scalability.” While the company put out more than 20 titles last year, this year they will be scaling down in-house development by almost half and will shift their focus on other outside licensing partnerships. Pitaro stressed: “We’re not exiting any businesses, and we will pursue licensing partnerships in which we retain a lot of creative input.”
Disney Interactive will be making additional changes well. They will be merging their floundering social games section with its successful mobile game business section. While Disney picked up Playdom—a company which creates social games for online sites such as Facebook—back in 2010 critics note they haven’t “had a breakout hit since.”
These newly announced layoffs come in the wake of other fairly recent firings. Disney Interactive eliminated over four dozen positions and shut down Junction Point Studios in Austin, Texas at the start of 2013. JPS had developed all the “Epic Mickey” line. Disney also laid off 200 employees when they closed Propaganda Games the studio which produced the “Tron: Evolution” video game in January of 2011.
(Image courtesy of The Walt Disney Company)