Disney has been on a bit of a buying spree recently. First it made one of its largest acquisitions in history when it bought Marvel last week for $4 billion, and today it announced a tuck in acquisition of Wideload games, a small producer and developer of video games, based in Chicago.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company did confirm that Wideload CEO Alexander Seropian will join Disney Interactive as Vice President of Creative, a newly created role, while President Tom Kang will continue to run the company’s operations.
Wideload takes a somewhat different approach to game development. Instead of carrying large teams of full-time developers and producers, it employs small creative teams (about 25 employees currently) that develop game protoypes, and then outsource much of the product development work globally.
Of course, Disney is likely buying the studio mostly for its founder and CEO Seropian, who has a strong track record in the gaming industry. Seropian’s original gaming company Bungie Software was bought by Microsoft in 2000. Seropian then went on to launch the popular game Halo: Combat Evolved, which became the launch title for Microsoft’s Xbox console. At Wideload Seropian oversaw the development of Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse, Hail to the Chimp,Texas Cheat ‘Em, and Cyclomite.
Though Wideload said it was developing an original family console game to be released for Disney in 2010, Disney likely won’t be able to exploit Wideload’s intellectual property across its massive multi-platform distribution base as it can with Marvel’s characters.
When it acquired Marvel the company said it would seek to exploit its library of 5,000-plus characters across all of its properties (which include movie production, broadcast and cable channels, and theme parks).