Disney merges games and toys divisions

Matthew Jarvis
Disney merges games and toys divisions

Disney's Interactive games publishing arm has been folded into its consumer products division in an apparent effort to double-down on toys-to-life.

The merging of the consumer product and interactive areas comes as Disney moves to release its upcoming wearable Playmation toys, as well as ahead of the launch of Disney Infinity 3.0 later this year.

The newly-combined division will also embrace Disney's publishing unit, which was formerly part of the consumer products arm. This will include the production of children's books, e-books and apps.

The merger comes as a "response to changing consumer preferences in a marketplace increasingly influenced by technology", Disney said in a statement following the announcement.

Disney's Interactive division struggled for years with losses as it attempted to break into the console market, before transitioning to try its hand at mobile and social in 2010 with the acquisition of Tapulous and Playdom.

The difficulties resulted in the closure of all contributing studios and projects, including Black Rock Studio and Junction Point.

It was only in late 2013 and with the launch of the first Disney Infinity toys-to-life instalment that the publishing outlet become consistently profitable – making a focus on the nascent genre logical.

The investment in toys-to-life is set to expand with the introduction of Playmation, a set of wearable devices that tie into game-like experiences.

The range will launch with more than 25 Avengers, Frozen and Star Wars products, starting at $120 for a recreation of Iron Man's Repulsor Gear.

The first Avengers set is slated for release this year, with Star Wars and Frozen SKUs following in 2016 and 1027, respectively.

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