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Disney: We're in the market for new acquisitions

Europe's head of DIS reveals development spending to double to $350 million

Disney Interactive Studios is planning to double its annual videogame development spend to USD 350 million in the next 4 to 5 years, and talk of a further studio acquisition is "definitely a fair assumption".

That's according to Thierry Braille, head of DIS in the EMEA region, who spoke to recently at Games Convention in Leipzig.

"Well I think there is a number that we're quoting from time to time, which is that the growth we're projecting for our development investments," he explained. "This year we're spending USD 180 million on development, and we think that in 4 or 5 years from now that should be about USD 350 million.

"So it gives you an idea of the growth path we have in mind. Now if you take this growth path into account, and look at the way to spend money on product development, you could assume that there will be a mix of money spent on internal and external development.

"If we spend more than twice the amount of money, it's fair to assume we cannot exclude a studio acquisition - it's definitely a fair assumption."

Rumours of studio acquisitions have been rife recently, with key sources indicating to that Warner Bros is also set for an imminent swoop for a studio in Europe.

And Braille agrees that the interest shown in videogames is very much a sign that the medium is high up on the agenda for traditional media companies.

"Well, I can't speak for the others, but for this company it's definitely a part of the strategy," he said. "When our key executives meet the analysts, journalists and so on, they systematically mention the videogame investment, results, creations - and I think there's a very strong commitment from the company behind this activity.

"That product development number that I mentioned is a very clear illustration of that commitment."

Meanwhile he also hinted that an announcement could be made at some point about a Disney videogame IP making its transition into film or television - a reversal of the traditional route for key franchises.

"Definitely, there are discussions every time we have a new IP, or franchise, or story created by DIS, there's a debate with the other divisions - there are some good examples that will become apparent I think," he revealed.

"It's something that there's a lot of interest in. Watch this space," he added.

The full interview with Thierry Braille is available now.

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