Marvel/Disney - How It Will Affect Marvel's Videogames?

10 Questions About Marvel/Disney

The potential implications of Disney's $4 billion dollar acquisition of Marvel Entertainment are vast and varied, and perhaps the biggest question marks stem from Marvel's licensing of their Intellectual Property to third-parties, particularly in light of the companies recent strategy to self-finance big screen adaptations and become their own de facto movie studio. 

One such arena with a potential for significant change is the development of Marvel-themed video games.

"Marvel Ultimate Alliance" franchise, and Activision also recently published a "Wolverine" game based on and released alongside this summer big screen adventure from Fox. They also have developed and published all the recent "Spider-Man" games.

THQ is developing a game based on Marvel's upcoming new "Super Hero Squad" kids' animated show, and SEGA has the license for games based on/released with the "Iron Man" movies, along with last year's "Incredible Hulk" and the upcoming Marvel Studios releases featuring Thor and Captain America.

What does the Disney-Marvel marriage mean to them? While Newsarama was unable to secure comment from THQ at press time and Activision had no official statement yet, sources inside that company said they did not know about the deal, and were surprised when they heard the news Monday morning.

SEGA meanwhile gave us this official statement from Mike Hayes, President & COO, SEGA of Europe and SEGA America:

"We congratulate Disney on its acquisition of Marvel and look forward to working with both companies on future ventures. At this time, there are no changes to SEGA's existing licensing agreement for the Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America video game titles.  We're hard at work on the Iron Man 2 game and committed to making all three of these titles hugely successful working right alongside the combined forces at Disney and Marvel."

In the investor's conference call earlier this week following the announcement of the deal, Disney President and CEO Bob Iger said that Mouseworks appreciates the licensing deals Marvel currently has, but is also looking to bring some of the properties into Disney Interactive. He noted as well that each deal with third party developers/publishers would be re-evaluated when the current deals expired.

In the short term, gamers who are fans of Marvel properties likely see no major changes. The games currently in development will apparently not be affected by this deal.

In the long term, the most likely outcome will be a combination of Marvel games being developed and published "in-house" by Disney and licensed to third party developers.

Marvel's chief competitor in the comic book Intellectual Property market, DC Comics, has corporate ownership in Time Warner, but many DC-related video games are developed and published by outside companies, despite TIme Warner having their own games division, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE). "Batman: Arkham Asylum" was developed by Rocksteady and co-published by Eidos Interactive and WBIE. And the upcoming DC-themed Online Role Playing Game, "DCU Online" is being developed by Sony Online Entertainment.

In addition, Disney already has established a history of working with partners to release games. The aforementioned THQ this year released Disney/Pixar's "UP" game, and previously released games based on "Cars", "The Incredibles", and "Disney Princesses". Square Enix, now the parent company of Eidos, has developed multiple games in the "Kingdom Hearts" series, featuring a mixture of Disney's characters and their own.

With the ever-expanding games industry, a Marvel-Disney deal likely means one thing for certain: more games based on Marvel IP. With Disney's history of playing well with other companies within the gaming vertical and their recent internal expansion of Disney Interactive, gamers can probably look forward to plenty of Marvel properties on their favored platform in the immediate future, by a variety of developers.

More on Marvel/Disney

<li> <a href=>10 QUESTIONS the Marvel/Disney Acquisition Raises</a>

<li> <a href=>Comic Industry Insiders See Plus for Marvel in Disney Merger</a>

<li> <a href=>STAN "the Man" LEE Calls Marvel/Disney Deal "Perfect"</a>

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