The Walt Disney Company has cut 250 employees, with many of those cuts coming from the digital media side of their operations according to a report by Variety. Half of the layoffs are related to the company's continuing move away from internal game development towards a licensing-only model.
Many of the employees affected by these layoffs worked in Disney Interactive's Bellevue, Washington studio and worked on the Marvel: Avengers Alliance browser and mobile titles. Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2 was released in March of this year and didn't find the success that Disney was looking for. Earlier this month, the company decided to shut down Marvel: Avengers Alliance and Marvel: Avengers Alliance 2, with an end-of-life date of September 30, 2016.
This follows Disney cutting the entire staff behind the Disney Infinity games. At the time, the company stated that it would write down a $147 million charge in relation to the discontinuation of the toys-to-life product. As I said then, the game development business didn't make sense for Disney, given the success of licensed games like Star Wars: Battlefront, Marvel: Contest of Champions, and Marvel: Future Fight. Disney wants games based on its properties out there, but it sees little reason to make those games in-house.
This is essentially part of the death throes of Disney's gaming division. The Washington studio joins a long line of shuttered studios, including Avalanche Software, Wideload Games, Junction Point Studios, Black Rock Studio, and Propaganda Games.
We here at USgamer hope those affected find new employment soon.