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Disney: Shift To Social, Casual Platforms Amid 'Challenges' For Console Space

Disney says it's ready to follow the game consumer to mobile, social and digital platforms, shifting some of its attention away from a console space that's "obviously facing challenges," according to CEO Bob Iger.
As the traditional console retail game market has faced recent growth challenges alongside new business models, Disney says it's ready to shift its attention in order to be profitable. It's already made its digital and social intentions clear with the up to $763.2 million purchase of Playdom, and CEO Bob Iger says the company wants to keep diversifying. Disney's Interactive Media division saw losses narrow 21 percent in its recent fiscal quarter -- thanks in large part to Club Penguin revenues -- and on the company's call to investors, Iger talked games strategy. "On the games front, 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, and by putting John Pleasants in to run games, not only will be the focus on turning those businesses into profitability, but diversifying our presence in the business," he said. "So, we’re not reliant on one platform that’s obviously facing challenges," Iger continued. "It’s our goal not only to be profitable, but obviously to get there by shifting our investment and reducing our investment too." That means less investment poured into the high-risk console space, he clarified: "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." Observing a shift in consumer behavior to encompass a wide range of platforms like casual, social and mobile, Iger said it's simply a matter of following the consumer in a fashion moves like the Playdom buy reflect. "We felt for a while that we should be both a licensor, which we do in some cases, but also a publisher," he said. "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." It's not the first time that Iger talked about the shift in resources from the boxed game business to the digital side. In August, he said, "As you look at our strategy, you’d see a blend of investment and some reallocation of investment from the console side to basically this multifaceted side [social games]," he said."

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