Entertainment giant to continue ramping up its games focus, says CFO

Disney to triple games development spend

Tom Staggs, the chief financial officer of Disney, last week told journalists at a briefing in London that the company will keep spending significant cash on games development as it looks to build its Disney Interactive Studios business.

Last week, it’s publisher division celebrated its first UK number one, following on from the success of the Eurocom-developed (and Develop Award nominated) game tie-in for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. But the company plans to go beyond just turning films into games by creating properties that sell across its business, regardless of whether they begin as film or game ideas.

To ensure this, the company plans to spend $130m on games development this year – a rise on last year’s $100m. But Staggs echoed comments he made last year by outlining plans to almost triple this year’s spend up to $350m every 12 months.

"We are ramping up our investment in video games. It is a market where there is real opportunity," said Staggs.

"Over the next five years or so we are ramping up to about a pace of $350 million per year in video game investment, principally consoles and handhelds."

He added: "We are early on in the process of developing a video gaming capability" and that "as a developer and publisher our activities have been very limited" – but this seems likely to change in the future.

Disney plans to launch a Pirates of the Caribbean MMO later this year, and last year acquired Climax Racing. The studio has also opened a new Wii-only development studio, and continues to build its production team in Vancouver.

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