Disney Dumps THQ, Teams with Activision for Wreck-It Ralph Game
After a few failed attempts at developing and publishing its own games, Disney (NYSE: DIS) has announced a partnership with Activision (NASDAQ: ATVI) that will bring Wreck-It Ralph to three Nintendo (NTDOY) game devices.
Based on the upcoming animated film of the same name, Wreck-It Ralph is being developed for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo DS. The game will be a "collaboration" between Disney and Activision, both of which will "produce and distribute a Wreck-It Ralph video game."
"Wreck-It Ralph, as a brand entity, is perfectly suited for video game stardom," David Oxford, Executive Vice President of Activision Publishing, said in a company release. "With the fantastic characters and creative atmosphere envisioned by Walt Disney Animation Studios, we know fans are going to love seeing their newfound favorite characters embark on an all-new side scrolling adventure."
This is Disney's first major partnership since it quietly ended a multi-year venture with THQ (NASDAQ: THQI), which was responsible for publishing several games based on Disney and Pixar properties, including Up, Wall-E, and The Incredibles. THQ commissioned outside developers to produce these games, resulting in a big win for the Cars franchise, which sold more than six million copies across multiple platforms. THQ was unable to sustain that success, however. While the company sold more than 4.6 million copies of the Wall-E video game, later releases -- including Up and Cars: Race-o-Rama -- did not sell nearly as well.
THQ's decline coincided with several acquisitions at Disney Interactive Studios, which was trying to expand its presence in the game industry. Instead of licensing its movie properties to THQ, Disney decided to start publishing its own games, starting with the release of Toy Story 3, which sold 4.7 million copies. But Cars 2 (which Disney also published) was somewhat of a flop, selling less than two million units.
In January, THQ removed any hope that it may renew its partnership with Disney after telling VentureBeat that it would no longer work on licensed entertainment properties for kids.
Meanwhile, Disney had already formed an unofficial alliance with Activision through its acquisition of Marvel. For more than 10 years, Activision has been publishing games based on Marvel properties.
Now that partnership has come full circle with today's announcement that Disney and Activision have joined forces to produce the upcoming Wreck-It Ralph game.
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