Disney: "It's such a disruptive time in the industry"

Vice president of product development Bill Roper says in 19 years he has never seen such a state of disruption in the business.

Never in the past two decades has the industry been in such disruptive state, according to Disney Interactive vice president of product development Bill Roper.

"It's such a disruptive time in the industry right now. You've got mobile just exploding; the Wii U came out last year; you've got Xbox One and PS4 coming out this year," Roper told GameSpot during a recent press event in San Francisco. "In the 19 years I've been doing this, it's easily the most disruptive time, which is saying quite a bit because we've gone through a lot in the past."

Roper further explained that Disney's gaming division has implemented a strategy of "intelligent diversification" to combat this level of advanced disruption. This equates to making "smart bets" on projects that Disney believes will be successful by partnering with the right external studios and internal companies as development sees fit.

Disney Infinity, developed by wholly owned outfit Avalanche Software is one of these projects, along with Fantasia: Music Evovled, from Guitar Hero and Rock Band creators Harmonix.

Even with Disney Infinity and Fantasia: Music Evolved, Disney Interactive is not as embedded in core gaming as it used to be. In recent years, the company closed Propaganda Games and Black Rock Studios, and canceled role-playing game Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned.

Asked if Disney Infinity will be a core component of Disney Interactive's business going forward, Roper said the game doesn't have to be, because the company has other endeavors, like an upcoming Planes tie-in, Fantasia: Music Evolved, and its mobile and social game businesses.

"I don't know if it's the core of the Interactive business," Roper said. "I think the great thing is that we're so diversified with our strategy. It's where a lot of our focus is, obviously not all of our focus. But we do see it as a platform. We designed it to be a platform for all things Disney: past, present, and future. And we want it to be something that continually grows and expands to be even better and more fun."

Roper previously held executive-level positions at Blizzard Entertainment, Cryptic Studios, and Flagship Studios.

Disney Infinity launches next month, while Fantasia: Music Evolved arrives on Xbox 360 and Xbox One sometime in 2014.

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Discussion

104 comments
karin_2049
karin_2049

Besides the Kingdom Hearts franchise... what other relevant game/franchise have they (Disney) offered during the last... 5... 10 years? damn... even probably 15 years! I really can't remember anything good coming from Disney

Gamer-Geek
Gamer-Geek

We've been so busy worrying about consoles we forgot about the actual game developers who are going to produce our games. The quality of gaming will only get worse.

topherlee94
topherlee94

I think there is a point here. This IS a very disruptive time for gaming. Games are supposed to be a stress relief and relatively pleasant, innocent distraction. Right now, there are so many things being interlaced with gaming that it's no longer quite that pure. The one company that is still focused on pure gaming is the most maligned at the moment, which is a quite a thing in light of Microsoft and their X-Box One needing a consistent connection to Kinect and the (possibly) paranoid view towards it. Sony SEEMS to be back on the rise but even they are more multimedia than pure gaming oriented, and while I think Nintendo is being maligned unfairly, it isn't as though they haven't been draconian in some of their own practices in the past both towards denying consumers what they wanted and by having very strict standards for their third party devs. Here I am wishing Sega hadn't totally screwed themselves over with horrible decisions in the 90s. 

MVan86
MVan86

Oh I am SO very sorry for Disney that they have to adapt to the fact that they've tried to start up something big just as the 7th Console Generation ends. 

Let's all band together and tell Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony not to give us 8th Gen Consoles for something like another year so Disney don't have to deal with the challenges presented by this...

osxgp
osxgp

The problem with mobile games is that they are crap. Angry Birds is a game but not what I would consider a real game. Do I have it on my phone? Sure. Would I buy it for my console? Ummmm NO. It is a game to pass the time. Games on phones are not meant to replace real games. Try controlling a real game using a touch screen and you realize why a controller is so much better.

Lamesy
Lamesy

I think the rise of the hardcore/casual dichotomy hit Disney especially hard. The 90s games produced by Capcom had dual appeal with iconic characters plus tight, refined gameplay. Now that gamers care about self-identifying as hardcore, Disney would have to again pair with a respectable core gaming studio to produce something that non-casuals will even consider touching.

FlakeyCrust
FlakeyCrust

Disney is becoming a dinosaur. They can't keep up with the changes being made by indie developers on popular devices. They can't own the theaters like they did back in the day, and with their resorts and amusement parks and merch which feed the D-Beast, the digital markets are breaking free from that kind of control, and the money is like someone exploded a bag of marbles and they can't pick them up fast enough because they've gotten too big and fat. So now this dude whines about how "bad" it is. Well, not for the little guys who are nailing big returns on original apps that can be sold cheap through iTunes and Google, etc. Thank God Disney doesn't own the internet or else we would see them throttling these pioneers who can't be owned because technology has liberated the artist from the confines of the sweatshop. /soapbox.

BradBurns
BradBurns

Cool story but lose the Brave pic, that move was terrible. 

blkgto
blkgto

Well it is when you have no creative writers.

Sndewey
Sndewey

In 2005 the Xbox 360 came out bringing with it the expansive world of HD gaming just next year came the release of the wii with "advanced Motion controls" and the PS3. and now it the most ''disruptive" time in the industry because we have smart phone! Dude the only reason so many people play games on phones is because half the shit is free and the majority of the other half is less than $5.

xeoneex66
xeoneex66

Disney and intelligent in the same sentence?  I don't think so...

blackothh
blackothh

you neglected to mention Disney shutting down LucusArts.

Holy-Rapture
Holy-Rapture

Planes looks awful, worse than Cars lol but it will probably sell

luqmanr
luqmanr

Phineas and Ferb, and Kingdom Hearts is still good for me.

TrueGB
TrueGB

Smart bets...basically mainstreamed stuff based on their movie franchises. Yeah, safe bets.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

If he's in the industry 19 years, you'd think he'd have seen more than one console changeover.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

dafuq is he talking about disruptive?

hardeman
hardeman

disney is the one causing the disruption

Xanitra
Xanitra

Bill Roper<3, Hellgate London was the best Diablo 2 clone EVER... too bad it got the bad reception that it did. If only Bill Roper had been hired back in Blizzard, maybe then Diablo 3 wouldn't be as bad as it is today. Ah well, good luck in your further projects Bill.

RossRichard
RossRichard

So this is where Bill Roper ended up after failing horribly in Hellgate London and Champions Online.

hadlee73
hadlee73

Yes, competition in the marketplace is so disruptive, lol

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

After what Disney did to Propaganda and Black Rock, can we even say they have a Games Division?

ded2me
ded2me

I wish Disney would stop with the Cussing and the anti-family business.  I trusted Disney for years so my family could enjoy a nice film.  Now all I see is violence and sexisms. WTF DISNEY!!!

aboki808
aboki808

@Gamer-Geek they'll make a quick buck and whittle away, ie Zynga.  Only the developers who are passionate about their work stays with us... or they get bought out by EA/Ubisoft and gets screwed.

grbolivar
grbolivar

@osxgp Give me Borderlands 2 over all of the mobile "games" any day. Mobile craps will never replace gaming as we know it.

dman123_1
dman123_1

@osxgp But more and more games are having controller inputs now

blackothh
blackothh

@Xanitra when hellgate shut its servers off, i was extremely disappointed. But at least you could still play all you wanted to offline. I dont understand why people did not receive it well.

DuaIFace
DuaIFace

@ded2me Maybe you didn't know this, but---it's 2013---Disney is just rolling with the times, expanding their market (movies/games), as anyone would expect, naturally. It's not 1960 when Walt was still around. 

karin_2049
karin_2049

@WTF1555 @blackothh Meh, nothing good came out of there (during this generation),... the most decent thing was probably Force Unleashed, and it was not that good. So, it wasn't that bad :P

hardeman
hardeman

@luqmanr @hardeman 

one example is star wars 1313, that was an eagerly awaited title by fans alike, disney comes in, shuts down lucasarts and cancels the game, all i know is they stop development on the new battlefront and shits going to get real

Gamer-Geek
Gamer-Geek

@blackothh @Xanitra  

I kind of liked it. My main problems were: the lack of polish (not as in the ethnicity -.-) and general gameplay nags.

Xanitra
Xanitra

@Helios_Sun @Xanitra It's not bad no. It is complete and utter garbage. If Diablo 3 was called for example "Angry Devil" instead, the game would be "not bad" as you put it. But the game title IS IN FACT Diablo 3.. what a shame. Throw it in the bin and please remember to recycle.

Cappuccin0
Cappuccin0

@S0loMANgrundy I don't agree... but even if I did, it doesn't matter. Disney got rid of Epic Mickey's studio as well.

breakitapart
breakitapart

It's a darn shame Disney doesn't have a Walt around to keep the brand intact.

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

@Helios_Sun @PETERAKO @Xanitra  

yes, but this is diablo we're talking for. simply being not bad is not enough. couple that with DRM, real money auction house and no modding and you have a bad example.