Los Angeles-based mobile game developer Jam City is taking over operations of Disney’s Glendale Games Studio, the group that created the popular Disney Emoji Blitz game, as part a multi-year agreement that also gives it rights to develop mobile games based on popular Pixar and Disney animated characters.
Employees of the Glendale Games Studio will join Jam City, where they’ll continue their work on Emoji Blitz, as well their development of a new mobile game based on the coming sequel to the animated film Frozen.
“We’re hard at work on that game,” said Jam City CEO Chris DeWolf in an interview with Deadline. “What’s really important to us was not only to acquire the great IP, but veterans that have been making games around Disney IP for many many years, and have Disney running through their blood. They’re going to get it right in a mobile experience.”
The announcement signals Disney’s return to a strategy of licensing game development to third party developers, something Kyle Laughlin, the company’s the senior vice president of games and interactive experiences, alluded to in a statement accompanying the deal.
“While our licensing business for Disney Animation and Pixar games has grown over the last year and we have several top developers creating Disney games,” Laughlin said. “This deal with Jam City represents a significant long-term opportunity for our games business and for the future slate of Disney and Pixar games.”
The Disney partnership gives Jam City games based in Disney and Pixar characters with global appeal, to augment its original mobile game franchises such as Cookie Jam and Panda Pop.
“There’s a lot of IP that plays well in the U.S. or the Western world, but Disney IP plays really well all over the globe,” said DeWolf.
In the game Disney Emoji Blitz, players can collect hundreds of Disney Animation, Pixar and Star Wars emojis. The game’s players earn prizes, complete missions and discover new emoji characters from Disney Animation’s Wreck-It Ralph, Mickey Mouse & Friends, Disney Villains, Pixar’s Toy Story and more.
The free-to-play game is available through the App Store and Google Play.