Media companies Disney, Warner Bros. and Viacom pose a "serious threat" to traditional games publishers, and are likely to command a significant portion of the market by 2013.
That's according to a new report by Screen Digest which notes that the three companies, along with News Corp and NBC Universal, have already spent over $3 billion on gaining a foothold in the games business in the last five years.
"Big media’s current games market push is the latest in a succession of attempts that date back over 30 years and which have almost uniformly resulted in failure and a retreat from the sector," commented Nick Gibson, author of the report.
"This time, however, it has largely adopted a more diversified and sensible strategy, spreading its investment and risk in a way that it hadn’t been able to in the past. As a result, it looks like big media is here and here to stay."
Disney's recent purchase of Marvel Entertainment combined with its own intellectual property will help the company's long term growth, while Warner's reduction of external licensing and focus on its own properties – Batman, Lord of the Rings and the DC Comics portfolio – can help the company reach its own target to become a $1 billion games business.
Viacom has invested $937 million in games companies, including Harmonix, Neopets and Xfire, which Screen Digest notes is a good indication of how seriously it is taking the games market. The report also suggests IGN owner News Corp could make further games acquisitions in the sector, and NBC Universal has begun self-financing games – a sign of future directions despite having the least-developed games strategy out of the companies mentioned.