Disney is betting big on games.
By taking a big risk on a game with a big star.
In this exclusive interview, Disney CEO Bob Iger talks with The Globe and Mail about Disney’s plans for video games and the company’s plans to grow its core business, including the potential for a new game that will help make up for a $500 million loss in its stock.
(Adobe stock images)By the end of the year, Disney will be worth more than $70 billion, up from about $57 billion a year ago.
Disney expects that this year’s earnings will beat forecasts by more than 4 per cent, though analysts have projected a loss of 3 per cent.
Disney has been betting big for video game technology, especially in the wake of the financial crisis.
The company has a $2 billion research and development lab in Silicon Valley and plans to invest $300 million in a new company called BioWare, which it hopes will create a “new generation of games” to rival EA’s big-name titles like Mass Effect and Dragon Age.
Disney is betting that games like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and BioWare will be the “bigger” games of the future, Iger says.
In a bid to boost its games, Disney bought a small company called Gamestop last year.
Its CEO, Peter Moore, is an early investor in Blizzard, Blizzard’s game publisher, and was instrumental in convincing Disney to purchase the company.
Disney wants to bring a gaming experience to the home that’s fun and exciting.
Its biggest priority is games that are both accessible to the entire family, and games that cater to younger gamers, such as an MMO that could be a game for children between the ages of 7 and 12.
The company is also making a push into VR, with plans to build a virtual reality headset for children.
Iger describes the virtual reality gaming industry as a “giant leap forward” and predicts that “there will be a new era of games.”
Iger believes Disney will see virtual reality headsets become a “major consumer product” and he hopes they will soon become “a standard part of a family’s entertainment system.”
Iger says the company will invest more in the games industry to create a better gaming experience for kids.
The first VR headsets will be “fully immersive, with immersive cameras,” he says, and “we will build the first games that allow a player to control their own avatar and have the ability to see other people in their world.”
Disney has already begun to look at virtual reality and how to deliver games that have immersive elements.
It’s looking at the technology behind Star Wars: Battlefront 2, a game that allows players to control a virtual Star Wars character and “use their head movements to create your own custom game.”
Igers says Disney has already received some early feedback from the developer on the technology.
Igers has been a big fan of the VR technology, so it’s not surprising he has a good grasp of it.
In order to make games that can appeal to kids, Disney needs to create games that will appeal to both older gamers and young ones.
The next big game Disney wants to create is a game to help kids learn to “play games like Minecraft,” Iger explains.
It will be something like “a new, immersive experience where players can take control of an avatar and learn how to create their own game.”
This will be an experience that can be enjoyed by both young and old, the Disney CEO says.
I’m very excited about this new way to bring people together, and it will be truly transformational for our industry.
Disney says the next generation of gaming will be powered by technology that is “the next generation” of video games.
I have no doubt that we will see a lot of different kinds of games, but this new generation of video gaming is going to be a gaming platform, and we are focused on making it great for everybody, says Iger.
“This is where we want to be.”
For more, check out The Globe’s interactive video series on the gaming industry.