Disney, DeNA Form Partnership to Develop Social Games

Walt Disney Co. (DIS), the world’s largest entertainment company, will team up with DeNA Co. (2432) to offer social games featuring the U.S. company’s characters.

The games will be introduced globally through DeNA’s Mobage social-gaming platform, Burbank, California-based Disney’s Japan unit and Tokyo-based DeNA said in a statement today. The first game, called Disney Party, was introduced in Japan this week, they said.

Disney is trying to expand in Japan and began offering its Disney Mobile service using NTT DoCoMo Inc. (9437)’s network in February, after starting a similar service with Softbank Corp. (9984) in 2008. Disney and DeNA will introduce the game Disney Fantasy Quest in Japan in April and a title based on Marvel Comics characters this summer, the companies said in today’s statement.

Localized versions of the three games will be introduced as smartphone apps on Mobage networks in North America, Europe, China and South Korea after July, and the two companies are considering developing additional titles for the worldwide market, they said. They also plan to extend the partnership beyond games to Disney movies, TV shows and smartphone apps, the companies said.

Mobage has more than 35 million users in Japan, according to today’s statement. DeNA generated sales of more than $1.3 billion in the year ended March 2011, according to the company.

DeNA, Japan’s biggest social-network website operator, fell 2 percent to 2,293 yen at the close in Tokyo trading before the announcement. The stock has declined 0.7 percent this year compared with the 17 percent gain in the Topix Index.

To contact the reporters on this story: Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net; Takashi Amano in Tokyo at tamano6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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