Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Disney Video Games

The "Wreck-It Ralph" type environment hasn't been Diz Co.'s strong suit.

... Since industry veteran John Pleasants was named head of Disney’s games business in late 2010, the company has cut hundreds of jobs ...

"The games business for Disney has not been profitable and not met the same level of excellence we have in ABC or our parks or Pixar," Pleasants said in an interview. "If we’re going to be here, we want to make high quality stuff and keep doubling and tripling down.

There have been various runs at the video game brass ring over the years.

Eighteen years ago, Disney had a video game division that TAG was dragged into sideways. The company had a division in Glendale that was cutting jobs like mad. Trouble was, most of the staff had term contracts, and management was bullying employees into taking small, lump sum buyouts.

A dozen staffers contacted us and we strategized with them, helping the group to fight back. We talked most of the artists into pushing for more money, and it worked.

Management doubled their original offer. I guess we had more leverage than we knew. ...

What they owned were contracts with date-certain completion dates. And the House of Mouse wasn't keen on having its employees hire lawyers and go to court, which some were threatening to do. Amazing what a term services agreement can get you when you refuse the first, low-ball offer.

So now it's decade and a half later, and Disney has retrenched yet again. Maybe this time its video games will take flight.

3 comments:

DAVID WILSON said...

Steve it may be worth noting that Disney Interactive just released a trailer for it's anticipated savior, Disney Infinity. It's pitched as a melding of Skylanders platform and the sandbox development of Minecraft. It was developed by the Salt Lake City, UT studio Avalanche. The project is well into animation and testing currently. Here's a link to the trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96U2gkgK0o4

Christopher Sobieniak said...

And yet I can't stop thinking of the days when I played this on the Atari...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDW3SHd3hxc

Steve Hulett said...

David,

Thanks for the note. The article covers Infinity well. Maybe this time the Mouse will have ignition and lift off.

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