Have you noticed that Disney (NYSE: DIS ) has recently been creeping its way into the Top 25 section of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iOS App Store?
Even now, the No. 1 paid app is Disney's Where's My Water? Game, which is selling at the standard price point of $0.99 and boasts a coveted five-star rating.
Mobile gaming is the next big thing in video games, and Disney has recognized this and has been aggressively pursuing mobile gamers. Too bad Nintendo and Sony (NYSE: SNE ) still haven't gotten that memo, as they continue to pursue proprietary hardware. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS ) is with it after picking up PopCap Games, maker of the habit-forming Plants vs. Zombies.
Last year, the iconic media company picked up social and mobile gamers Playdom and Tapulous. The latter actually developed Where's My Water? but apps now get published under Disney's timeless brand name.
Yesterday, AllThingsD reported that Disney was finalizing its purchase of Indiagames, a leading developer based out of Mumbai. Disney already had a sizable stake in the company, so it's just taking it a step further and picking up the remaining shares that it doesn't already have from the likes of Adobe (Nasdasq: ADBE) and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) , which also own a stake in the company . Indiagames is valued between $80 million and $100 million.
All of these recent game acquisitions fall under Disney's Interactive Media segment, which is the only unprofitable division. Last quarter, the division generated an operating loss of $86 million, slightly higher than the $65 million loss a year earlier. The company is hoping to make the segment profitable by 2013.
The Indiagames acquisitions is a twofer, since in addition to the mobile-game exposure, it gives Disney a foothold in India, as the company has expressed interest in expanding its presence into other countries. Mobile content is becoming an incredibly effective tool for brand distribution. Disney's brand is irreplaceable, and the company's mobile moves are just in time.
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