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Disney Takes Aim at Movie Based MMOGs 67

eldavojohn writes "Disney has announced plans to launch more movie-based Massively Multiplayer Online Games. With plans already on the table for a "Pirates of the Caribbean" title, additional properties are apparently now under consideration for a similar treatment. They are aiming at teens more than the older crowd, and don't seem to be interested in fighting for players from World of Warcraft or Second Life." From the article: 'We plan to build more virtual worlds like "Pirates" based on a broad range of our properties,' Iger told attendees of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas ... 'You can imagine living in Buzz and Woody's toy universe,' he added, recalling Disney Pixar's computer animated hit feature film 'Toy Story'."
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Disney Takes Aim at Movie Based MMOGs

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  • This is hilarious (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Killjoy_NL ( 719667 ) <slashdot@remco.palli . n l> on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @08:07PM (#17548992)
    They really think they can make more money like this?
    The only good "Disney" games are the Kingdom Hearts series (in my opinion)

    For this, I predict a 100% failure, unless there are no subscription fees like in Guild Wars.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      When I took my niece to Lilo and Stitch in the theaters several years ago I thought that there was an opportunity for someone to make an interesting MMO based on something similar to this. My thought was that being able to 'create' a character from scratch and their choices would impact gameplay (say having 4 arms alows you to quad wield but you waste so many 'creation points' you can't have massive strength), in a science fiction setting with many (Vastly different) planets.

      The problem is most companies ar
      • > say having 4 arms alows you to quad wield
        • Hi! Welcome to Lilo and Stitch's World of Online Adventures!

          Fluffy Bunny says: Hi! I'm Fluffy Bunny! My real name is Butters, though. I was just lookin' here at this cute little rabbit hole. Where do you think it goes?

          You chug Rage powerup.
          You chug Rage powerup.
          You chug Rage powerup.
          You chug Rage powerup.
          You chug Rage powerup.
          **You quad-attack Fluffy Bunny for 47, 47, 47, 46 damage!**

          **Fluffy Bunny dies**

          Fluffy Bunny says: God **** it!
    • I remember taking a survey on Square's website about a game where would team up with various disney and final fantasy characters. You would then go throughout various worlds doing something with hearts and have a special key sword. Of course my first instinct was to the extreme negative, so That is what I rated/said in the various questions. I get a chance to play Kingdom Hearts, who's premise was oddly familiar and smack my head in disbelief that such a game was actually good.
    • Re:This is hilarious (Score:4, Informative)

      by Fozzyuw ( 950608 ) on Thursday January 11, 2007 @01:19AM (#17552352)
      The only good "Disney" games are the Kingdom Hearts series (in my opinion)

      I guess you must be too young to remember all the 'classic' games published by Disney, such as...

      These games where well received by critics and sold very well, besides all the fond memories they bring back. =) There was also a Gargoyles video game [] some time ago, and I only vaguely recall enjoying it, and it had some interesting game play, but I cannot recall if it sold well.

      Of course, people just hear 'Disney' and think 'kids' and probably expect lame, cheesy, and easy games, however, once upon a time, they had some pretty good fanfare and even set the bar for some game play. Though, having to keep it 'kid friendly', I would expect an MMO to be like Disney's other MMO ToonTown Online [], where the only chatting you can do is with pre-selected text, which would probably keep out plenty of people. However, I suspect that they might go for the 14-18 crowd, so chatting will be a normal thing, but game play will be a little bit easier or less 'grinding' and more social interaction.


      • Well being 27 and starting gaming early in life, I do remember all those games, but they were ok, not great (imho)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Mmm, two points.
      1. Guild Wars is not an MMO. It is an RPG that allows you to play with other people, called a CORPG (co-op role-playing game)
      2. The lack of a subscription fee is not what makes Guild Wars pwn; it's the bait. I refuse to pay monthly for games, and that's what got me to buy GW. However, it is all the other things that have made me stay. (ask if you really want a list)
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If they are aiming for the kid market, then they may be planning to run it more like Webkinz ( []). This is a kid-safe, no subscription MMO of sorts. My 3 kids all love it. You buy one of the stuffed animals, then get a free year on the service. Just like other MMOs, you farm for money & spend it on virtual goods and play games with you online friends. Only difference here is you can't chat freely and the games are short and kid-oriented.

      I could see Disney tying in time on the game t
      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        The other smart thing they could do is create cross-movie interaction. Let your TOYS character go visit your friend's CARS character world.

        Of course they would have to completely ignore the scales involved unless they want that to turn into a game of Frogger.
  • Please Disney (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @08:10PM (#17549036)
    Please over-saturate this heavily over-done market as quickly as possible so that game developers might move on to making games that are actually entertaining instead of vain attempts to quickly garner monthly service fees from helplessly addicted users.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TeraCo ( 410407 )
      I expect we'll eventually reach the point where all games are MMO or MMOlike. Simply because with MMO style games, developers and publishers don't have to worry about piracy. They know for a fact that 100% of their customer base not only paid for the game, but are doing so over and over again.
    • well if they can still make a profit, it's obviously not that over saturated.

      ilreguardless of what format the game is - people will get addicted, it's just life.
      • ilreguardless
        Good Lord, what type of mutant monster is that?
        • ilreguardless adj Without any guards due to the mind control spell "Imagined Pepperment Schnapps Queasiness", because the guards have run away, after it has worn off, and before they have had time to return to their posts. Pewbieville was ilreguardless for thirteen minutes after the deflected but nearly catastrophic attack by the Necromuffdevourers Consortium.
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @08:19PM (#17549132) Homepage Journal

    It seems that every company that wants to get into the MMORPG game makes the same predictable mistakes. Thankfully, most of these never make it to the final "go live" moment. Some can limp along for a while but are nowhere near the leaders of the pack. It's just a waste of time when companies can't learn the mistakes they watch their competitors make.

    In this case, it's making the fatal assumption that "great character-based story will make great MMO franchise." MMORPGs are about the players, not about a few trademarked names that served as the ensemble core of a story. To entertain the players, they must feel like the star of their personal story, and if the premise is about the key personalities in that world, there's a big disconnect there. Find mythical worlds which don't rely on the obvious few characters, where everyone has a chance at being great in an original way. The pre-authored content should be about the settings, the mythos, the backstories, not about the "main characters."

    Example: don't make an MMORPG about Harry Potter's world. There's a huge castle, a wonderful surrounding countryside, four great built-in guilds, and more magic spells than you can shake a stick at (literally). But you're also going to have five thousand people who can't succeed without a ragged scar on their forehead in an entirely predictable way.

    Example: don't make an MMORPG about Cap'n Jack Sparrow's world. There's a huge ship, a great collection of ports of call and legendary treasure to plunder. But you're also going to have five thousand people who can't succeed without swaggering around drunk on sun and rum in an entirely predictable way.

    I could cut and paste a few more examples, but you could just look down the NetFlix Top 100 and the Amazon Top 100 for a lot of the ideas that are being discussed in MMORPG board rooms today.

    • by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @08:44PM (#17549502)
      It seems to me like a Pirates of the Caribbean MMORPG would just end up as a title tacked on to a game set in the era of the Spanish Main. There's not a whole lot of unique content or mythology in the movies, and therefore not many constraints. The possibilities are essentially the same as a MMO version of Sid Meier's Pirates!
      • It's been in the works for a while now (longer than Spore!), it's called "Pirates of the Burning Sea". Maybe they will hurry up and release the game, if there is some pirate MMO competition. []
      • There's not a whole lot of unique content or mythology in the movies>

        It may have been blind chance. But introducing supernatural elements into the traditional swashbuckler works very well in the films. It should work in a game. It did work for "Monkey Island" when that franchise was in its prime.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Protonk ( 599901 )
      This is an excellent point.

      I figure the same arguments are going to be dredged up about how Disney can't succeed in the MMO field:

      1. The market is too crowded.

      2. Disney won't make a successful MMO until the master "X" esoteric element of the genre (e.g. economy, novel server design, etc.)

      3. It won't work because Disney is for kids, and so on.

      The real limitations here aren't those above, and they aren't the story, exactly. The pretense of strong and powerful game world characters can do serious damage to
    • ..five thousand people who can't succeed without a ragged scar on their forehead ... you're also going to have five thousand people ... swaggering around drunk on sun

      Reminds me of this [].

      And this []


    • > Example: don't make an MMORPG about Harry're also going to
      > have five thousand people who can't succeed without a ragged scar on
      > their forehead in an entirely predictable way

      Nah, that's for teh l4m3rz. I'm thinking a 16 year old Hermyohmyione with the Dumblemelon slider all the way to Pumpkin.
  • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @08:29PM (#17549242)
    Nobody wants players from Second Life. That's why they are playing Second Life in the first place.
  • Tron? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrpA ( 691294 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @08:47PM (#17549542)
    You know, as much as I think a POTC MMORPG conversion would probably suck, Disney has the ultimate MMORPG ready to go... In their TRON universe.

    The TRON2.0 game was pretty enjoyable, and Disney could build an entire universe around the premises in TRON and the later game without even trying. Even the game engine is ready to go. How much tweaking would it need to convert the Tron2.0 game into a MMORPG?

    And if you could enter your world as a "User" or otherwise have your "Program" running around according to it's own script when you weren't in control, it would be pretty cool. Having your program search for interesting items / escape routes etc, and emailing you back in the real world when it found them, allowing you to control the game either from the command line or email and then using a full client when you wanted to roam around.

    Probably the era of the MCP would be the ideal time.... As you recall, the MCP controlled all the NPCs while the programs were essentially independant reflections of their users... Better still if you could download a basic bitmap of your size/features as parameters, your program could even look like you... (Not that difficult to send along with co-ordinate information if well thought out).

    And you could develop your "User" powers over time, gain access to Tanks, Recognisers and Lightcycles to move through a massive world inside the computer. Even set up your own hard drive file area to store them :) Gain more resources (primitives) and even design your own transport or accomodation.

    As much as the thought of a Disney MMORPG bothers me, I (and I imagine other programmers) could probably really get into and enjoy something like this. Kinda like Second Life but with Neon... :)


    • by troff ( 529250 )
      The first thing I thought on reading the headline was "call me back when there's a TRON MMOG... and not before". Let's be honest, whatever shortcomings an MMOG might have in modelling the physical world, how's there going to be any problem modelling a world like TRON's?

      And if you could enter your world as a "User" or otherwise have your "Program" running around according to it's own script when you weren't in control, it would be pretty cool.

      The first problem with that is the Jedi problem. Every Player a

      • > why couldn't we fly against (even a moddable?) Yuuzhan Vong coralskipper?

        Because fewer than one in one hundred thousand Star Wars fans even knows what that is. If Macs, at 1/10 the PC market size, can only generate enough to warrant only the hugest games be ported, how much less for lesser things from the bookworld?

        > The first problem with that is the Jedi problem. Every Player and its
        > freaking dog would want to be a User. I wanted to suggest that the
        > User could be a reachable rank, but the
      • Well, you all beat me to the punch - but when I saw this headline this afternoon, the first thing that popped into my mind was a TRON MMORPG :) I agree, the developers would need to tread carefully on this one; if only to avoid the massive outcry and subscription cancellations that occurred when they implemented that "awesome" NGE crapola. I was immediately sucked into SWG when it initially launched, and luckily I was able to tear myself away from it after realizing that the only way I would EVER become a J
      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        I'd say PC programs could be called clients. In Tron you could call the servers servers without hurting the RP, after all. You could even have the server load influence the game and make events deliberately lag players.

        But I'm really not sure if it should be allowed to kill system critical components, it IS pretty ridiculous to delete the kernel or even the entire OS (sorry, MCP) and having the system still run (especially if killing a harmless program caused you to die of segfaulting in 2.0). Maybe instanc
    • This is an awesome idea... and it fits in really well. - Every customer is a user, operating their program-construct while they play, and allowing actions to occur while the player isn't online. - The construct backups periodically, but the player continues (explaining why there is ongoing knowledge, and how toons keep popping back from the dead. - A variety of different vehicles and tools to use - Combat for sport or as a representative of security - huge range of potential talents, all of which actually m
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
      Even the game engine is ready to go. How much tweaking would it need to convert the Tron2.0 game into a MMORPG?

      Sounds to me like somebody's never written an MMORPG. Not that I have, of course, but I have read interviews and articles about what goes into the engines used in them. And it's very different from what goes into a "regular" game.
    • I'd sign up for this immediately which is really saying something since the prospect of paying a monthly fee for gaming has never appealed to me. I felt Tron 2.0 was a great game. It just sort of felt "right" while looking at all that neon and blocks. Visually faithful to the movie. In fact, I revisit 2.0 at least once a year.
  • by ObligatoryUserName ( 126027 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @09:09PM (#17549820) Journal
    Most of the posts seem to indicate that people are unaware of Disney's history in the field. They've been running the well regarded Toontown online [] since 2003.

    Also, you can thank this group for the Nintendo Friends code system. To my knowledge Disney designed and developed the first implementation a friends code system with a Barbie diary product years ago. It's the best way developed to prevent young kids from interacting with strangers online, and they shared what they learned with the rest of the industry. (And, yes, it's a pain to everyone else.)

    I'm confident that Disney will do well with their next product, even if it isn't as big as World of Warcraft.
    • Toontown was recently released for the mac and both my 3 year old and 6 year old play it. Unlike the adult mmo's,
      gameplay is easy and light, cooperative and non competitive. You go fishing, play some simple games, and go through
      easy to accomplish missions. The closest equivalent to combat is you play jokes (squirt water, throw pies, etc) at robot
      Cogs, who are robotic businessmen that can't take a joke. It is an MMO game with training wheels. I can see a market for kids that are older
      than the target range o
  • Disney has the reasources and power to make this happen. If they fully go through, the buisness will probably ramp up customers in the 9-14 years old area. Then it will flop. The kids will outgrow it, then it won't be an attractive novelty, and, worst of all, they probably will never profit from it! Try, try and you will suceed - for 10 minutes.
  • by Atrax ( 249401 ) on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @09:34PM (#17550164) Homepage Journal
    Remember the recent Second Life Grey Goo [] incident?

    I see Disney's MMORPG crumbling under a flood of magical fantasia broomsticks []
  • If a Pirates of the Carribean MMO was release, how long would it take for the community to demand insult sword-fighting be implemented?
    • Heh. Cute.

      I'm going to reply to this thread since it's the first that actually speaks positively of the idea. (sorta) A pirate MMORPG? Sure. That could work. There's plenty to do in the Carribean. Disney could easily mangle it, but if not, it could work. And it's not like the standard movie tie-in games are all that grand of a venue to compete with, even if you DO get to play Captain Jack himself doing all his swashbuckling from a close third-person chase camera.

  • Disney MMORPG (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Teppy ( 105859 ) * on Wednesday January 10, 2007 @10:11PM (#17550598) Homepage
    The NDC is long expired on this, so I guess it's OK to talk about it.

    Before A Tale in the Desert [], we proposed an episodic MMORPG to Disney based on A Bug's Life. We built a playable (2D) prototype that was a lot of fun. Characters from the movie were NPCs - for instance, Flick would give you "blueprints" for crazy contraptions, and you'd have to scavenge and make all the parts for each one.

    You could find grain and plant it to grow wheat shoots to use as rubber-bands. You could climb the tree and toss down acorns to other players. They could show them to Flick who would suggest an invention to pry the nut from the cap, and then the cap could be used with glue that came from sap as part of a gear for other contraptions.

    Ultimately you'd build a little ant-sized sailboat/raft to get yourself and trhe others off the island, and that would lead to episode 2. IIRC, the content that we had could be played through in an hour or two by a team of 3-5 people.

    Unfortunately the project never made it further than the prototype - I think this was all in 1999. But I still think that A Bug's Life is *the* Disney property that needs an MMO.
    • The only problem with this idea is that you've identified 2 hours of gameplay. A successful MMOG has to offer thousands of hours of gameplay to be feasible.
    • by n3tcat ( 664243 )
      I'm not entirely sure this qualifies as an MMOG, as those tend to have persistant universes, yeah? I think this is more of a cooperative online game. otherwise yahoo poker would be an MMOG.
    • I think that a major (if, obvious) difference between Disney in 1999 and Disney today is that Bob Iger is in charge instead of Michael Eisner. To me it is clear that Iger recognizes that there is huge demand for "family-friendly" entertainment product and is directing Disney's resource allocations accordingly. In my opinion, Eisner was more hooked in to the "let the talent produce what they want regardless of whether it is what the market wants" mentality. This fall the animated picture about penguins wa
      • Well, your character is persistent -- the world is not. Nothing you do makes a permanent change. Stuff just respawns. The same guy gets kidnapped again and again, needing rescue.

        It's true there are occasional 1-time events as a world change comes into being, usually part of the release of an expansion pack or new online update, and occasional cyclic events (like the Greatfather Winter crap or the circus in Goldshire junk in WoW, or the Winter Lord and Trick or Treating in CoH). But I can only think of o
    • by The-Bus ( 138060 )
      The property that needs MMO treatment is Disney, not Bug's Life or Pirates or Lion King. Much like their theme parks are nice and compartmentalized, I imagine their MMO would be as well. There's a Caribbean Area for Pirates, etc. If you jump off a boat and start swimming around you might see mermaids or talking fishes a la Nemo. A Fairy Tale Land for princesses, gnomes, dwarves, etc.

      This is the only way I see it working. I don't think something set so narrowly on any one property would work. Just build it a
  • Movie tie in games almost always suck people aren't game people and they certainly don't hire game people. Disney has done way better than anyone in the past with that cuz they at least give it a decent try and umm...Kingdom Hearts rocks lol. But guess what! In 2010 guess what's coming out for movies! Splinter Cell the movie, Devil May Cry the movie, and Onimusha the movie. I kid you not ns/Years/2010/include-titl []
  • It takes only a cursory look at the market to understand why this is silly.

    Firstly, the maintenance on an MMORPG that isn't instance-based like Guild Wars is huge. That means a large cost, hence the monthly fees. Now, to a small extent those monthly fees generate profit, but only to a small extent. If you overblow your fees too much you shrink your potential user base.

    Secondly, it's generally a good idea to focus on one such game at a time. Blizzard has a team that literally spends all their time on WoW, an
  • and don't seem to be interested in fighting for players from World of Warcraft or Second Life

    Did anyone else find it really strange the person even mentioned Second Life? The only thing that game seems good for is generating press. And for some reason, Zonk has to post about 3 articles a day about it. The concept behind Second Life is interesting...sure. But beyond that it really isn't much of a game and it begs for someone to do it a lot better. Second Life doesn't have enough players that anyone wo
  • Base it around puzzles...ya...that's the ticket. Make everything puzzle stuff that you can do. And..and..make it non-fee based, play for free but buy in-game money. Ya. Great idea. After all, its never been done before. [] (sorry, no pop)
  • Unfortunately, it's not just Disney who are throwing their IP at MMO games in an attempt to cash in on the market. There's been a fair few announcements over the last couple months about various groups also developing MMO games. Battlestar Galactica [], Firefly [] and are just someo f the TV shows / movies that are crossing over to become virtual worlds. []

    I'm sure Disney think that, with the success of the current slather of MMO games, they'd be able to get a piece of the action themselves, and what better way
    • by savity ( 1002191 )
      Disney aren't new to a productive MMO - as others have mentioned they have ToonTown Online. At first this looks like a cutesy childish game - fish, play minigames, water plants, keep pets etc. - But it is a rich persistent world with lots and lots of things to do. Defeat enemies by selecting the right attack (in an old school turn based RPG style). Make your strategies complement other players, take more risks to attack higher level enemies for greater reward, build your experience (laffpoints/hitpoints),

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN