The gaming arm of Disney has added some substantial muscle.
Alex Seropian, the founder of Bungie Software and co-creator of the "Halo" franchise has joined the company to oversee creative development across Disney’s in-house video game development teams.
"We're really trying to be a magnet in this industry for talent, as we are in so many other parts of the entertainment world," says Graham Hopper, executive vice president and general manager of Disney Interactive Studios. "Having someone of Alex's caliber join us is a tribute to the great people we have here already."
Disney is in the midst of tripling its investment in video games. The studio has 1,200 employees working on games, which is notably bigger than Microsoft's internal game-building team.
As a publisher, though, the company has been firmly stuck in a mid-level position, lacking a breakout hit beyond the studio's core products (such as "Hannah Montana," which come with a built-in audience).
The addition of Seropian (as well as 2007's recruitment of industry veteran Warren Spector) helps put Disney on the radar of core gamers, which could help it expand its gaming interests.
"We want to be bigger than what we are today – a lot bigger than what we are today," says Hopper. "We don't have the ambition of trying to unseat the top players in the industry, because we don't have the market share goal. What we want to do is build up and introduce new [properties] to the game industry - and to Disney - and expose the company in a new way to consumers."
As part of the agreement, Disney Interactive Studios has also acquired Wideload Games, the development house Seropian founded after leaving Bungie. The companies declined to disclose the purchase price.