The Walt Disney Co announced some changes yesterday; John Pleasants, co-president of the interactive unit (responsible for things like video games) will be leaving his current role, and the video game and media groups will be consolidated under Jimmy Pitaro – Pleasants’ ex-co-president.
Pleasants came to Disney Interactive in 2010, after Disney acquired Playdom, of which he was then CEO. Playdom, you may recall, was responsible for such memorable Facebook and Myspace applications as (Lil) Green Patch, Mobsters, and Marvel: Avengers Alliance. On a side note, I have a $25 Facebook gift card I’ll give to anyone who can justify how playing Marvel: Avengers Alliance, and posting constant updates on your wall asking me to join up is a worthwhile use of your time. Sound off in the comments.
At the time it was assumed Disney was hungry to take on Zynga in the social gaming market. Then people realized money made selling Farmville pumpkins wasn’t real money, and that market started drying up (the Facebook gift card offer does not apply to justifying Farmville. No one can justify Farmville).
Pleasants’ biggest contribution to Disney Interactive was spearheading his division during the development and launch of Disney Infinity. Infinity is Disney’s attempt at a Skylanders style franchise: mixing games and toys to create money… lots and lots of money. Although Infinity launched to strong numbers, many feel it’s true success or failure won’t be apparent until after the 2013 Christmas season.
I can’t help but think that this move might be a sign that Disney is worried about the direction their franchise has taken so far. Infinity is a money printing machine, but until Disney is able to integrate all of it’s properties into the Infinity Universe (Marvel, Star Wars, etc…), it’s leaving that money squarely on the table. Speaking of money squarely on the table, seriously, will someone take this Facebook Gift Card off my hands?