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.


Disney Infinity
Fantasia: Music Evolved

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.

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"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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