Disney, Warner, Viacom pose "serious threat" to publishers

Five big media firms have already spent $3 billion gaining foothold in games, says Screen Digest

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.

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Latest comments (5)

Michael Foster Studying Computer & Video Game Design, University of Salford12 years ago
Wait... does this mean we'll see another 'Castle of Illusion' Mickey game?

Seriously though, its interesting to see these big companies havin' a go at a lil' transmedia; bringing their current modern franchise such as Marvel and DC to the videogame industry as well old school IP products like classical Disney franchise and maybe WB sign from Warner.

The only downside to havin' a bit of fresh blood in the industry by this move is the threat to smaller publishers; as pleasant and colourful the companies in question franchises' are, I doubt their business models and takeover manoeuvres are as equally child friendly.
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Shiraj Coenraad IT Audit Consultant, Woolworths Pty Ltd (South Africa)12 years ago
Seems like a lot of big money moves and industry consolidation taking place. Interesting to watch the videogames publishing space over the next few years. How many traditional gaming publishers etc would be subsidiaries of another industry player and how many key gaming ip will be in the hands of another industry player???
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.12 years ago
Sony, anyone?

Kinda ironic to fear the incoming surge of big media into the industry when one of the 3 first party companies themselves is big media.
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Raphael Dominguez Data & Knowledge Manager / Assistant Producer, Ubisoft12 years ago
I hope they will focus on social media games more that "regular" games...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Raphael Dominguez on 11th February 2010 4:40pm

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Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member 12 years ago
Maybe they will lead the push towards a universal gaming console, one that plays everything.

I hope the indie scene continues to grow through Steam, XBL, PSN, and WiiWare. So long as those kinds of games stay around I'm fine with big media coming into the picture.
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