While Disney has been increasing their in-house video game development, the company doesn't feel a need to take over all Marvel game development in the future, company spokesmen told investors this morning.
"On the video game front, (Marvel) have some smart licensing agreements with some of the best video game manufacturers in the business," said Bob Iger, Disney's CEO. "While we have been steadily moving in the direction of video game integration, we don't rule out the blend of licensing and self-produced and distributed video games.
"As these licensing deals expire we have the luxury of considering what's best for the company and the products."
Earlier today, Disney announced that they were buying Marvel for $4 billion in cash and stock. The deal would give Disney ownership of Marvel's 5,000 characters. Currently both Activision and Sega publish games based on Marvel properties.
Under current deals with Marvel, Activision, Sega, Gazillion and THQ all have different licensing deals to make video games based on the comic company's characters.
Activision's deal with Marvel, which includes the Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Wolverine games, expires in 2017. Gazillion Entertainment's deal with Marvel, which includes several massively multiplayer online games, expires in 2019. Sega's deal with Marvel, which includes games based on Marvel movies, is described multi-year. The same is true of THQ's deal with Marvel, which includes video games based on Marvel's Super Hero Squad.
While video games are certainly an important part of Disney's acquisition of Marvel, there are plenty of other opportunities for both companies, including comics, toys and movies.
Speaking more generally Tom Staggs, Disney's senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, noted that Disney is well aware of Marvel's great potential and that Disney is looking into future potential characters that can be turned into other things, including movies and video games.
"As the current agreements in place sunset we will look to exploit the library of characters more broadly," Staggs said. "This is a big library of properties and we think there is real opportunity.We plan to evaluate where those opportunities are greatest and how we can leverage those across both Marvel and Disney."
Does that mean we're going to see future video games with Marvel and Disney characters in one title? I suspect not, with perhaps one major exception. But would involve getting Square Enix on board as well.
We have calls into all of the publishers with licensing contracts with Disney and will update as we hear back.
What games would you love or hate to see come out of this deal?