In one of the biggest staff cuts in my recent memory, Disney Interactive has laid off nearly 700 employees today. The company has been laying off employees for years now and cutting studios in the process, including Propaganda Games, Black Rock Studio, and Junction Point Studios, but no one expected anything of this caliber. The New York Times reports that the cuts are part of a major restructuring within the company.
"These are large-scale changes as we focus not just on getting to profitability but sustained profitability and scalability," Disney Interactive president James Pitaro told the NYT.
"We're not exiting any businesses, and we will pursue licensing partnerships in which we retain a lot of creative input. But this is a doubling down on mobile and an effort to focus much more intently on a core set of priorities."
Disney will be combining its mobile and social game divisions, and has decided to scale down its internal development operations. This is similar to what happened in the console game side of the division, leading to the previously-mentioned studio closures. Avalanche Software, the team behind Disney Infinity, remain unaffected, as that game led the division to a profit last quarter.
Mobile will be getting a bigger push within Disney Interactive, especially in regions like Japan, where mobile is strong. The division recently released Tsumu Tsumu for mobile platforms in Japan and the game is the #1 app in the region with more than 8 million downloads.
"At the same time we are reducing our focus in some areas, we are making strategic investments in others, and the Japan business is one," Pitaro said.
We here at USgamer hope all those affected find new employment soon.