Disney Shutters Propaganda Games in Shift Away From Console Gaming

Vancouver development studio closed as industry shifts to mobile and social gaming platforms.

TORONTO – It’s a sign of the times: Disney has shuttered Propaganda Games, the studio's Vancouver-based development studio.

The move comes hot on the heels of Disney releasing its Tron: Evolution video game, but also follows a decision to gradually shift away from in-house development of console games to more on social and mobile gaming development.

Between 75 and 100 jobs have been lost as Propaganda Games closes, but follows a cull last year when the Pirates of the Caribbean game was scrapped.

Disney isn’t alone among North American game developers slowly moving to the social and mobile space. Lance Davis, CFO of Slant Six Games, based in Vancouver, pointed to a similar focus away from packaged media games for publishers and studios to more online game development and self-publishing. “We can’t exploit all those spaces, but we can go into social and mobile gaming, and will go forward cautiously,” he explained.

Hank Howie, CEO of Blue Fang Games, pointed to growing demand for Facebook game development, but added the real market opportunity was in social game play and selling premium games online.

Elsewhere, Behaviour Interactive, Canada’s biggest indie game developer, has also produced a more balanced portfolio of game product across multiple digital platforms to mitigate risk. “More and more we’ll do original titles. And we’re not going to go after EA and Ubisoft. We will build small and beautiful games for connected devices,” Remi Racine, president and CEO of Montreal-based Behaviour, said.