Massive layoffs at Disney game unit, as 700 people lose their jobs

UPDATE: Disney's video game and Internet division lays off around 26 percent of its global staff; Disney Infinity and developer Avalanche Software unaffected.

[UPDATE] Following the publication of this story, a Disney representative told GameSpot that today's Disney Interactive layoffs have no effect on Disney Infinity or the development team at Avalanche Software. Disney will continue to invest and grow the Disney Infinity business, the representative said.

The original story is below.

As previously rumored, today Disney announced massive layoffs at its video game and Internet division Disney Interactive. The New York Times reports that around 700 people--or 26 percent of Disney Interactive's global staff--were laid off today as part of a sweeping reorganization.

"These are large-scale changes as we focus not just on getting to profitability but sustained profitability and scalability," Disney Interactive president James A. Pitaro said.

The layoffs came as a result of Disney's move to combine its mobile game business and its social game business. It is not clear if any developers at Disney Infinity creator Avalanche Software were affected by today's cuts. We've reached out for comment.

Disney Infinity has been a bright spot for Disney Interactive, helping the business unit turn a profit for two straight quarters. Disney Infinity has sold more than 3 million Starter Packs to date.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

119 comments
kalpesh_78
kalpesh_78

Hey disney. how about getting into serious gaming instead of laying off good people? Interactive, social and mobile gaming needs to go a notch higher.

nerdman67
nerdman67

I still have hoped for a next gen disney infinity. Infinity was amazingly fun

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Most games they make are shovelware anyways.

Optimist_Pryme
Optimist_Pryme

Disney should make a newer updated ToonTown... sort of a ToonTown 2.0, where you can be human or toon... make it tie into Kingdom Hearts and showcase Disney characters and Final Fantasy characters... then they could have a reason to keep those people and give them something to work on that would be guaranteed to sell! ^_^

wildamnesia
wildamnesia

Mr Disney will be spinning in his Cryo Tube.

dalepickstock
dalepickstock

Hate to say it but Disneys business model especially for the mobile market is appalling. I get that mobile gaming with microtransactions are alas here to stay but were talking a huge well known and loved brand with gaming aimed at 3-6year olds stuffed full of the bloody things.

This would be fine if they were managed well but they make it almost imposible for a child not to click on an advert that takes you to an internet site or the appstore to download some rubbish or worst yet agree to spend a lot of cash on pointless things.

I have a young daughter and yes I know how to say no and ive also the safeguards in place; but bottom line there are a lot of stupid people out there and Disney mobile games are absolutely preying on them.

Im glad that the business model is failing though do feel for those now out of work.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

Why the hell did they had this much of employees in the first place? They didn't even make any major games other than Infinity.

Lord_Python1049
Lord_Python1049

:( good luck to the devs...


Disney games could be great... Disney just needs to invest more in this unit.

Spartan-1657
Spartan-1657

I just recently had my son. I can't wait for him to be able to join me in this game. I hope they support it for a long time. Real bad news about the job losses though. How unfortunate.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Yes, Disney, one of the biggest companies of all time.  Owners of Marvel and Star Wars can't pay 700 people to work...


Greedy little bastards.

DARKSPACE
DARKSPACE

Guess Mickey Mouse turned out to be Mickey Rat..

Pheonix985
Pheonix985

Note to self:  When starting a game developing company, be the boss or don't be anybody.  

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

Dang.  That's almost enough people to make an Assassins Creed game, but not quite.

deviant74
deviant74

I have a PG13 mickey mouse in door white water raft ride in my head.  I'm just waiting for Disney to say they are richer than god and have $200 million to throw away.  I guest I have longer to wait.

blutosan
blutosan

I guess Disney has a lot of people making video games. 700 people was only 26% of its global staff.

Crossel777
Crossel777

As much as I hate to see people losing their jobs.   Freeing your ties to these greedy corporate companies could be considered a good thing.   You never know, that might be what some of these developers actually want.

macaque12
macaque12

That is really sad, hope those people manage to find some better work

deadpen
deadpen

I always thought numbers this big related to Disney would have the word "Holocaust" in the title.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

At this rate no one will be in an employment to afford the sorts of commodities Disney puts out.

Kunasha
Kunasha

That's a lot of people producing a lot of crap.

While it's sad to see people losing their jobs, I certainly won't be missing any of the games coming out of them.

Leria
Leria

Eh.... I didn't like most stuff coming from Disney in the past few years for PC. Too overly DRM'd (those damned install quotas) and the games themselves just were not A-class games like I was expecting from the makers of Epic Mickey.

Disney Infinity....... Tried it and I honestly, truly could not care less about it. Removed it from my computer after trying the Windows 8 Modern UI app version of it and finding that it sucked unless you were willing to 'put out' for the add-ons.

In fact, the only Disney games I liked that were based on movies are the Wall-E game and the Tangled game.

bayernfan
bayernfan

Hopefully Disney offers these people chances for outplacement. Sadly, publishers are messing up with the talent, in my opinion. they buy other developers or publishers (Lucas Arts anyone?) and then, after "investing" in the "most important assest" (meaning people) they just cut thier wings for profitability...

Are publishers really having a plan based on what the market really wants and fostering creativity? Developers are subjugated to publishers and publishers don't seem to really care about the market or creativity. Result: layoffs, bad games, reused games, reapeated clichés, and bugs....lots of bugs.And the worst thing is that we gamers still buy games from EA, Disney, Ubisoft, SEGA expecting that the videogame  industry is going to be fixed with a patch

And then they come up with things like the trend is mobile games... 

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

Eh, these people should thank their respective deities for having a good way out of working on Disney games... now they can try and find work somewhere better within the industry, and at least they have some EI to help them with their transition, much better than quitting or being fired...


Of course everyone is acting like a layoff is the worst thing that can happen...there are much worse things that can happen at your job or with your career than a simple layoff from one company.


Also what the F have these people (and the other 2100 or so still employed), even been working on!?  It's clearly not a great place to work if you actually want people to see your ideas...

rasterror
rasterror

Man that truly sucks. I hate hearing when people get laid off. Keep your head people and I hope you find something soon.

Sefrix
Sefrix moderator moderator

Well that really sucks for the employees. This industry is so volatile it's insane. I can't imagine how worried you'd be having a family to take care of and working in this industry.

dpclark
dpclark

Maybe Disney should hold a Boy Scout jamboree in Frontier Land.  Perhaps they could find common ground after all.  What goes around comes around, Disney.

ghost59
ghost59

cool. now they will make indie studios or one massive indie studio 

kalpesh_78
kalpesh_78

@Bumblebee1138 infinity was fun only for a couple of days. no re playability value at all. got bored of it pretty quickly.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@DrKill09  Ignorance is strong with this one. If there's no need of  their workforce why the hell should they keep paying them; give them money for doing....nothing?

schosmosis
schosmosis

@DrKill09 This is a rather stupid sentiment.  While it's never good when someone loses their job, these businesses don't exist to give people jobs.  Businesses are not charities, their goal is to make money.  You don't just leave staff on hand if you no longer need them.

lostn
lostn

@PlatinumPaladin All games will be indies except CoD, Blizzard franchises and some EA franchises. That's if AAA development continues to remain as expensive as it is, and they don't sell the 10 million units they hope for.

DrKill09
DrKill09

@Kunasha  Yeah, Disney made nothing but shit.  I guess that's why Pure and Split/Second were so highly praised.

Leria
Leria

@Sefrix  


Good point, Sefrix. If they are going to have the really good programmers and stuff enter the video game industry, they are going to have to make it a little more 'stable'.

Video gaming is a growth industry, there is TONS of room for people to break into the market. However, you cannot just push out a 'crap' game. You have to actually take some real time, plan your game out and make sure that it plays well for the average person it is targeted at.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@Sefrix  some dont get paid as much as people think either. Some on $30'000-$40'000 a year.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

@Sefrix  On the plus side, we're seeing a lot more indie games lately.  Many of which are actually worth playing.


I definitely don't want all indie games or all AAA titles.  Industry needs to find a good balance that doesn't involve constant layoffs.

SoreBastard
SoreBastard

@woodyfr   
$34.3 MILLION!? Add a 1 and 2 zeroes to that and you've got yourself a deal!

Llama345
Llama345

@woodyfr  And even though that number is insane, just think about everything free he gets. He probably doesn't pay for his car(s), entertainment, or cell phone. 

elitedemo
elitedemo

@woodyfr If all 700 people each made 50k a year then at least Iger could get a small bump up to 35 million, we don't want him starving now...

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@Vidpci @Bumblebee1138  This is the video games and internet division. Dressing up like Mickey and such things are done by other employees  in another unit.