Disney splashes $20m on Finnish studio swoop

Disney splashes $20m on Finnish studio swoop
Michael French

By Michael French

March 4th 2011 at 3:14PM

HTML5 engine pioneer Rocket Pack now a subsidiary of Hollywood entertainment giant

Disney is taking its evolution from a boxed product publisher into a digital games firm very seriously; it's just snapped up a Finnish start-up focused on HTML5 games.

The entertainment giant has bought Helsinki-based Rocket Pack, a start-up which grabbed headlines for its work on a 'Google Docs for games' engine that lets users quickly build web and smartphone games.

Rocket Pack had already published a game of its own using the technology - Warimals.

Disney paid up to $20m for the firm, TechCrunch claims.

It's not clear what Disney's intentions are - it may still allow Rocket Pack to sell licences for the tech, as originally planned, effectively putting Disney in the middleware business.

Alternatively, Disney could be looking for a proprietary technology that can help speed-up its transition to online games.

Earlier this year, the firm cut studios and reorganised staff across the Disney Interactive Studios business as it confessed it would be moving away from boxed games to online ones.

John Pleasants, the former boss of social games Playdom, which Disney bought last year, even stepped up to become head of Disney's games business.

Disney also bought iPhone music game firm Tapulous last summer.

"We can confirm that The Walt Disney Company has acquired Rocketpack, an integrated solution for plugin-free browser game development," a statement said.

"Through a merger agreement, Rocketpack is now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company reporting into Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG).”