Photo: The Associated Press
Disney has acquired gaming startup Rocket Pack for $10-$20 million, TechCrunch Europe reports.Rocket Pack doesn’t make its own games but instead makes a gaming engine based on HTML5. They call themselves “Google Docs for making games.”
This is an obvious play to sidestep Apple‘s platform which takes a 30% cut of transactions. Disney got into mobile/social/casual gaming in a big way when they acquired Facebook games maker Playdom for almost $1 billion. These types of social games make a lot of sense on mobile platforms, which are huge for gaming, and lend themselves well to the “snack”-like gameplay that dominates on these devices.
You can make a lot of money on mobile through app sales or in-app purchases even giving Apple a 30% cut but it’s even better if you don’t have to. Building games on the web that are as good or almost as good as apps through HTML5 can help Disney accomplish that.
The problem is that there’s a reason why so many developers don’t try to sidestep Apple. One is that HTML5 isn’t as good as apps anymore, but that will only get better. A bigger one is that because Apple already has your credit card number on file and has a great one-click purchasing process, it’s much easier to get people to pay there. Maybe Disney will try to get people to sign up for a “Disney ID” with their credit cards or something, but many, many companies have found that very hard to do.