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Disney Interactive lays off nearly 700 workers, focuses on mobile

UPDATE Disney Interactive cut 26 percent of its staff today as part of a restructuring effort to significantly reduce the size of the company's internal development teams and focus on mobile games.
The New York Times reports that Disney Interactive cut 26 percent of its staff today as part of an internal restructuring effort to significantly reduce the size of the company's internal development teams. Nearly 700 Disney Interactive employees reportedly lost their jobs. Last month we reported on rumors that Disney was planning to cut several hundred positions, primarily in its Playdom social games division, and today's layoffs seem to bear that out. "We're not exiting any businesses, and we will pursue licensing partnerships in which we retain a lot of creative input," said Disney Interactive president James Pitaro in an interview with a Times reporter. "But this is a doubling down on mobile and an effort to focus much more intently on a core set of priorities." This isn't the first step the company has taken to scale back its focus on social games. In November, Disney dropped Interactive co-president John Pleasants, the former CEO of Playdom up until its acquisition by Disney (to the tune of $563 million, with a possibility of $200 million more in payouts) in 2010. For the moment, the company's fortunes seem to be tied up in console and mobile development. The Walt Disney Company's most recent earnings report claims that Disney Interactive's revenues were up 38 percent from the previous year due to the success of Disney Infinity and the growth of the company's mobile game business in Japan. “At the same time we are reducing our focus in some areas, we are making strategic investments in others, and the Japan business is one,” said Pitaro. Gamasutra has reached out to Disney Interactive for further comment on today's layoffs. If you have any information about this news or were affected and want to share your story, please contact us via [email protected]. UPDATE: A Disney representative has confirmed to Gamasutra that Chicago-based Wideload Games, acquired by Disney in 2009, has been shut down as part of the restructuring.

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