Disney buys Marvel, current game developers may have to share

The Marvel Universe has just been annexed by the Magic Kingdom. Friday on the NYSE, Disney acquired Marvel for $50 a share, which totals out at about $4 billion. Under the deal, a roster of about 5,000 Marvel characters will be owned by Disney to be used in movies, toys, and possibly videogames.

The gaming part of the deal is where it gets a little complicated.  Disney has had increasing interest in self-publication and distribution of videogames and this will eventually intersect with this new corporate acquirement. But Activision, Sega, Gazillion and THQ all currently have multi-year licensing deals with Marvel for making games with their characters. According to Kotaku, Disney is continuing those licensing deals for now and will decide later whether to renew them or go fully in-house with game production. “As the current agreements in place sunset we will look to exploit the library of characters more broadly,” said Disney CFO and Senior VP Tom Staggs, “This is a big library of properties and we think there is real opportunity. We plan to evaluate where those opportunities are greatest and how we can leverage those across both Marvel and Disney.”

What does this mean? There’s the chance that we’ll see a Spider-Man animated musical composed by Tim Rice or maybe even Wolverine as a party character in Kingdom Hearts 4. I really doubt those will happen, but when you wish upon a star…