Disney has announced new mobile gaming products in news that highlights just how profitable mobile gaming spinoffs have become for creative and media franchises. Quoted in GigaOm and elsewhere, Disney Interactive president James Pitaro claimed that Disney is now the world’s sixth largest mobile gaming company, and looking at an over 50 percent rise in users since the same period last year, with players spending 75 percent more time on the games. Pitaro also claimed that the Disney mobile-based Club Penguin platform was the most popular virtual world for children, and that total usage hours of the Frozen Free Fall app exceed the hours that audiences spent watching the movie in cinemas.
The Star Wars: Commander mobile game, meanwhile, has been downloaded more than 32 million times since its August launch and has become such a hit that analysts are quoting it as a significant potential earner for Disney as a whole. As reported in the New York Times, Disney Interactive, the company’s gaming division, achieved a full fiscal year of profitability, recording $116 million in operating income for fiscal 2014, after several years of losses and a loss of $87 million in the preceding year.
For writers, publishers, and other content creators, mobile video games are obviously going to be a key revenue and exposure driver in future. Something to think about when looking at contract terms or the potential to develop a franchise.