Disney losing its console appetite

Entertainment behemoth Disney has hinted at a move away from console gaming as the firm looks to the growth being enjoyed in the social and mobile game sectors.

The business’ Interactive Media division has just reported a loss of $234m for the fiscal year ending October 2nd – a slight improvement on the $246m loss seen in the year before.

Revenues climbed from $712m to $762m with the biggest boom coming from subscription games such as Club Penguin.

Perhaps disgruntled that 2010 racer Split/Second was unable to impress consumers to the same degree that it impressed critics, Disney is now hinting at a move away from the sector.

We’ve seen a pretty big shift in games from console to what I’ll call multiplatform – everything from mobile apps to social networking games,” CEO Bob Iger explained.

It’s our goal not only to be profitable, but obviously to get there by shifting our investment and reducing our investment too. We probably will end up investing less on the console side than we have because of the shift we’re seeing in consumption and have a presence, albeit with probably less investment, in terms of game manufacturing on some of the newer platforms.

We felt for a while that we should be both a licensor, which we do in some cases, but also a publisher. And I would say the shift that we’ve made in terms of personnel and ultimately in how we invest our money and how we distribute this product is going to continue to reflect that philosophy, but in a slightly different manner.”

In July Disney acquired both iPhone developer Tapulous and social games firm Playdom.

Disney is not the first company this week to suggest that it’s having more trouble than it expected adapting to the console market. Yesterday MTV-owning Viacom put developer Harmonix up for sale, admitting in the process that it wasn’t up to the task of making console games.

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