May 20, 2011 |
Walt Disney Co. wagered that its acquisition last summer of game developer Playdom Inc. would help bring Mickey, Snow White and other familiar characters to a new generation of fans who play games on social networks. The bet has yet to pay off. Disney's $563-million investment was a key component in a broad restructuring of its interactive group intended to put the perennially money-losing division on the road to profitability. It signaled a strategic shift away from traditional console video games, to focus on emerging opportunities online and on mobile devices.
May 14, 2011 |
Walt Disney Co. has agreed to pay $3 million to settle charges that online virtual worlds once operated by its Playdom games division violated federal rules designed to protect the safety and privacy of children younger than 13 on the Internet. The Federal Trade Commission charged that several sites, including one online virtual world targeting children called Pony Stars, illegally collected and disclosed personal information from thousands of children, in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Some 821,000 children registered with Pony Stars from 2006 to 2010, according to the FTC. An additional 403,000 children provided their information to some of the 19 other virtual worlds operated by Playdom, including 2 Moons, 9 Dragons and My Diva Doll.
February 25, 2011 |
Aiming to strengthen its offerings in online gaming, Walt Disney Co. has acquired Togetherville, a social network for elementary school-age children. Togetherville seeks to mimic the experiences of social networks such as Facebook, but in a way that's protective of children younger than 10 and allows for parental supervision. The site lets children connect with their real-world friends in its virtual neighborhood. "Togetherville is very focused on trying to really reflect what the adult community has been doing on the Web and build a real online experience that adults enjoy for kids, but do it in a safe, COPPA-compliant way," said founder and Chief Executive Mandeep S. Dhillon, referring to the safeguards established by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Dhillon said the acquisition, the terms of which were not disclosed, was completed Feb. 18. The Togetherville transaction is the latest digital acquisition by Disney, which in July bought social gaming company Playdom for $563 million and mobile application developer Tapulous.
October 13, 2010 |
Japanese mobile Internet company DeNA Co., intent on establishing a broad mobile games business in the U.S., has bought iPhone game developer Ngmoco Inc. for $300 million in cash, plus an additional $100 million if the company meets undisclosed financial targets before the end of 2011. Ngmoco, founded two years ago by former Electronic Arts Inc. executive Neil Young, develops mobile games, mostly for Apple Inc.'s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Its titles include We Rule, GodFinger and Flick Fishing.
October 4, 2010 |
Two years after Walt Disney Co. merged its video game and Internet units to better coordinate the operations, the entertainment company said Sunday that it would divide the responsibilities for its Interactive Media Group under two newly appointed co-presidents. John Pleasants, a veteran new media executive who joined the company with Disney's acquisition this summer of Playdom, will oversee the games business, including online, console, social and mobile play. He will also continue to operate Playdom, the publisher of games for social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.
September 25, 2010 |
The Walt Disney Co. executive who oversaw a vast expansion of the studio's online and gaming ventures, but struggled to achieve profitability, is leaving the company. Steve Wadsworth, president of Disney Interactive Media Group, sent an e-mail to his staff late Thursday, saying he had decided to leave after 11 years. He gained broad oversight of the media giant's sprawling digital operations in a 2008 reorganization, which combined the games group with the company's online operations.