Disney launches Web site with video games for adults

Alex Armitage Bloomberg News
Posted December 1, 2005

Walt Disney Co., the No. 2 U.S. media company, expanded its online game business by starting a Web site with titles tailored for adults.

The site, disneysgamecafe.com, features 20 downloadable games intended to appeal to adults aged 25 to 45, the company said Wednesday.

Disney, which plans to double its video-game spending to $100 million in fiscal 2006, includes the games Cubis 2 Gold and Diner Dash on the new site.

Chief executive Robert Iger has made at least four acquisitions this year in the video-game industry, including this month's purchase of European publisher Living Mobile.

"All of these individual initiatives add up," said Ken Goldstein, the managing director of Disney Online.

Disney's Game Cafe will be "break even to modestly profitable" in the next 12 months, Goldstein said.

Games can be downloaded from Disney's Game Cafe for $9.95 to $19.95. The company plans to add more games to the site.

About 43 percent of all people who play video games are between 18 and 49 years old, according to the Entertainment Software Association, which cites data from Peter D. Hart Research Associates.

Shares of Disney fell 15 cents to close at $24.93 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have fallen 10 percent this year.

As part of Disney's video-game expansion, the company will also begin testing a new online gaming service called "Playhouse Preschool," Goldstein said.

Disney.com is the top kids and family entertainment site on the Internet, Disney said, citing tracker Media Metrix data.

Disney and other media companies, including News Corp., are expanding their offerings in the video-game market.

In September, News Corp. agreed to buy IGN Entertainment Inc., which runs Web sites for video-game fans. Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone controls video-game maker Midway Games Inc.

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