So there you have it– Lord Vader and the galactic empire that is Disney (ABC, ESPN, Miramax, Pixar, THQ, everything) has agreed to buyout the publisher of the comic-book nerdvana, Marvel. In addition to all of the classic comics and characters (Spider-man, X-men, Avengers, Hulk, Iron-Man) we’re talking about thousands and thousands of characters over the company’s 70-year history, they get all the other stuff too like videogame licensing. The deal agreed-upon was estimated at (pinky finger to mouth please) $4 billion dollars. Yeah that’s a lot. So what does that mean for the gaming world? Many things.
Disney already has a stamp in the gaming marketplace with Disney Interactive Studios and while they’re no behemoth when it comes to impressive titles, they clearly have the capital and marketing power to push any title worthy of their marketing steamroller into the stratosphere. We’re talking about a company whose own cable channel has no advertising on there other than it’s own. Now couple that with the fact that Marvel has been licensing stuff to folks like Activision and THQ over the years and this was only going to increase with more videogame tie-ins to movies (Wolverine, Iron-Man) and you now have a mega corporation having access to, as Emperor Palpatine would say, unlimited power.
Does this mean we’ll see Magneto showing up on an episode of the Wizards of Waverly Place or Space Mountain including a trip to the cosmic storm that wigged out the Fantastic Four? Come up with all kinds of crossovers you want but the ramifications in the videogame marketing world are that you have a monster marketing machine behind movie tie-ins and original and franchise games set to use all of their might to sell these games to the googleplex fan base. It’s even conceivable that a trip to Disney next year will include kiosks for comic books, toys and games from Marvel’s massive catalog. That plus the chance to coop the existing theme parks and tap into that huge cash cow means that they could start printing Captain America dollars.
Before everyone gets too worked though up this deal isn’t official until Marvel and the government say it’s okay but more than likely this won’t be an issue. Soon enough, we’ll be seeing that Disney stamp after the Marvel flip book at the beginning of their comic book movies. While Marvel already has outstanding deals with folks like Fox and Sony these are not super-long contracts so that means for sure that Disney will reign all that in and keep everything from the videogames, films and characters under the mouse banner.
They’ve already starting retooling some Marvel stuff — “Spider-man, Spider-man Does Whatever Disney Says He Can.”