Disney (NYSE:DIS) is still struggling with its movie business, as evidenced by the company's latest lackluster outing, Valiant. That's OK, though -- there are other businesses to keep in mind when talking about this diversified conglomerate. So what's its latest initiative? The red-hot world of video games.

Mickey Mouse is hooking up with Sony (NYSE:SNE) in an effort to widen the distribution for Disney's Toontown Online, which is Mickey's massively multiplayer online role-playing game (say that five times fast). I've never played it, but it seems players inhabit a world full of good-guy Toons and bad-guy Cogs.

These Cogs, according to the game's mythology, are "humorless business robots who are attempting to turn the colorful, happy world of Toontown into a dark metropolis of corporate monotony." (Michael Eisner's adversaries must regard such a statement with laughing-out-loud irony.) There are all kinds of fun trouble a user can get into while inhabiting this "alternate" universe.

The subscription-based service wants to get more users in on the frivolity, so Buena Vista Games partnered up with Sony Online Entertainment's Platform Publishing unit to get Toontown into retail locations. Sometime in the fall, interested users will be able to head to a local store and pick up a CD-ROM of the game for about twenty bucks. Buyers will also get a free two-month introduction to Disney's online game.

Disney is smart to get more aggressive in its efforts concerning the marketing/distribution of Toontown. Not only is this sector an important one from a revenue perspective, but one must also keep in mind that the long-term success of this property will help to further spread the magic of the Disney brand.

Currently, this audience is highly susceptible to capture from competition like Viacom's (NYSE:VIA) Nickelodeon portfolio. So far, the service seems to have a good reputation -- the release states that Toontown has been the recipient of a few awards in its time, such as the 2003 Parent's Choice Award. Granted, this is a promotional release, and such awards may or may not mean a whole heck of a lot. Still, it tells me (a Disney shareholder) that the company looks to be on the right track with this game.

There also exists the possibility that Sony's Platform Publishing label will produce a version of the game for consoles. The announcement states that a license has been granted for this, but the subheadline indicates that nothing is definite yet. Although the consoles being considered weren't specified, I'd have to presume, very speculatively of course, that it would be for PlayStation 2 or 3 (maybe even both). Either way, a family-ready online game for a console would be a great boost for parents who are always concerned with the rough, teenager-targeted content currently saturating most systems. And that's good for both Mickey and his shareholders.

For more Foolish talk on the King of Toons, tweak these mouse ears:

Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Disney. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.