You may have heard of this little company called Disney. If you've ever watched a movie, read a comic book, or enjoyed anything in your entire life, chances are Disney was at one point responsible. That's especially true recently, with the company making big moves to buy the rights to all kinds of major franchises. Yet even though the mouse now owns X-Men, lightsabers, and everything in between, it is oddly complacent when it comes to video games. Now we know why: Disney just doesn't care about making games.
This revelation comes courtesy of Pocketgamer.biz, who reports that Disney aims to sell its FoxNet game development studio. FoxNet was acquired as part of Disney's purchase of 21st Century Fox. Interestingly enough, FoxNet actually develops Marvel Strike Force, a very profitable mobile game starring the Marvel superheroes Disney owns. Even so, Disney CEO Bob Iger flat-out said that the company wants no part of game development.
“We’ve just decided that the best place for us to be in that space is licensing and not publishing,” Iger said during a business call in February. Despite that statement, some senior Disney executives brought up the possibility of keeping FoxNet. Iger apparently shot down the idea with a reminder that he would rather have Disney license out its properties for others to make games.
This declaration does answer concerns fans have had for quite some time. Disney owns Star Wars and Marvel, two franchises that can and have made excellent material for video games. Recent handling, however, has been uneven. Star Wars game rights are famously in the hands of EA, a decision that led to the very controversial Star Wars Battlefront II. When EA tried to force microtransactions into the full-priced Battlefront II, gamers fought back hard. The ensuing attempt at PR led to the world-record worst Reddit comment of all time. The huge backlash endangered EA stocks and Battlefront II sales, to the point where Disney supposedly stepped in and had a talk with EA. That talk seemingly came to nothing, however, as EA is still set to make many more Star Wars games.
When it comes to Marvel, fans have the fantastic Marvel's Spider-Man on PS4. There's also Square Enix's Marvel's Avengers, which is getting more promising. Still, one has to wonder what it would be like if all of the Marvel heroes were united by one game development studio. Could we have an epic shared universe on par with that of the movies? Unfortunately, Disney is content with never turning over that stone. As long as the games based on its properties sell, it's happy to keep outsourcing.