GDC 2011: The latest from Disney Mobile
Disney's mobile gaming division had a table claimed in the company's hotel suit during GDC 2011, and I stopped by to see Disney's Jeff Nuzzi and check out the company's latest offerings. There were a few titles on display to be revealed later this year, but the current focus was on JellyCar 3, the latest in Disney Mobile's most popular line of casual gaming apps. The game (the original version of which was designed by a Disney developer in his spare time) is due for an update very soon, which will add new cars, the ability to import your own pictures for cars and a new level pack called "Time and Space" to play around with.
Nuzzi also talked to me about the Tron app (released with the movie last year) and how the company's general strategy around iOS apps is going. Read on for more.
The two Tron apps Disney released for the movie performed "in line with the franchise overall," Nuzzi said. They didn't do badly -- the free app reached up into the App Store's top 25, and both apps fulfilled their purpose of promoting and supporting the movie. But at the same time, Nuzzi said that Disney could learn a lot from those releases. The free app was a little cluttered, and "the in-app purchases were a little clumsy," so they didn't sell through quite as well as they could have.
Still, neither app was a failure, and Disney is seeing a lot of success in mobile via Tapulous, its purchase from last year (we heard all about that acquisition from Bart Decrem himself). Tapulous' Tap Tap Revolution 4 has seen 9.5 million downloads so far, which is a huge number, and it's so big that the company is bringing the app over to the Android platform. That version will even be connected to the iOS version, so players on both will be able to interact cross-platform.
Finally, Nuzzi said that Disney was really appreciating the iPhone and the iOS platform. "This platform," he told me, "allows us to do experiments," like releasing small branded apps or building up a franchise outside of the traditional Disney branding (like JellyCar). We'll see a lot more from Disney Mobile in the coming months -- stay tuned.
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