日前，迪士尼互动娱乐媒体集团（Disney Interactive Media Group）总裁史蒂夫·沃兹沃思（Steve Wadsworth）宣布辞职，他在上周四给员工的一封内部邮件中写道，“我怀着复杂的心情做出这个决定，尽管难以舍弃这家伟大的公司、前途无限的事业以及才华横溢的同事，但经过再三思索，我更难放弃对其他领域的追求和渴望，因此不得不做出这一抉择。”
史蒂夫·沃兹沃思在迪士尼任职已达11年之久，主要执掌游戏开发工作室、手机平台以及包括Club Penguin、World of Cars Online项目在内的虚拟世界等业务。
曾为诺维斯特风险投资公司（Norwest Venture Partner）投资Playdom公司牵线的蒂姆·张（Tim Chang）表示，“从我与约翰·普莱曾在Playdom公司共事的经历来看，他是一个世界级的数码媒体专业人士，也是游戏行业执行总裁的出色人选……在这个多变的全球社交游戏市场上，相信没有谁比他更胜任这一职位了。”
据悉，Playdom于今年7月被迪士尼互动娱乐媒体集团收编，曾为Facebook及其他社交网站开发过不少游戏产品；此外，迪士尼今年夏季还收购了主要开发手机游戏和应用的Tapulous公司，并公开World of Cars Online这一最新的虚拟世界项目。
迪士尼公司首席执行官罗伯特·艾格（Robert A. Iger, 也称Bob Iger）曾在7月份与行业分析家的一次会议上表示，迪士尼看好游戏行业的发展前景，并相信在这一行业的投资必将获得回报。
游戏行业分析家约翰G·泰勒（John G. Taylor）则表示，因为笃定游戏行业赢利丰厚，迪士尼开始对游戏领域的投资出手阔绰，意欲从出售实体产品转向在线游戏及苹果iPod Touch等为代表的便携式娱乐体验。他认为，“少儿市场的确非同已往，游戏发行商THQ数年前曾试图笼络儿童游戏群体，但最终告败的一幕现在也开始在迪士尼身上重演。”
事实上，迪士尼向在线游戏扩张的计划早在2007年就已初现端倪，当时迪士尼耗资3.5亿收购了Club Penguin公司。但投资者对迪士尼向新媒体领域频频出手的发展战略颇为不满，Cowen & Co公司的媒体分析家道格·克鲁兹（Doug Creutz）表示，迪士尼动辄大手笔挥霍，只告诉大家投资必定有回报，但实际上这种交互股已经渐渐显出亏损的迹象。
Steve Wadsworth, president of Disney Interactive Media, resigns
Wadsworth, who oversaw online and game-development ventures, had struggled to make the division profitable. Speculation on a successor is focused on John Pleasants, an executive with Disney’s Playdom unit.
The Walt Disney Co. executive who oversaw a vast expansion of the studio’s online and gaming ventures, but struggled to achieve profitability, is leaving the company.
Steve Wadsworth, president of Disney Interactive Media Group, sent an e-mail to his staff late Thursday, saying he had decided to leave after 11 years. He gained broad oversight of the media giant’s sprawling digital operations in a 2008 reorganization, which combined the games group with the company’s online operations.
His responsibilities extended from the game development studio and mobile platforms to a growing number of virtual worlds, including Club Penguin and World of Cars Online. “It is with mixed emotions that I announce my decision and plan to resign,” Wadsworth wrote to his staff, adding, “I have been thinking about this for quite some time, and while it is difficult to leave a great company, an exciting business and a wonderful group of people, my desire and excitement to pursue other opportunities is too great to ignore.”
No successor has been named, although speculation is focused on John Pleasants, executive vice president of social gaming company Playdom Inc., which is owned by Disney. He was formerly with Electronic Arts Inc. and Ticketmaster and is well regarded by analysts.
“All I can say is he is a rock star and a world-class digital media and gaming 2.0 executive from my experience working with him at Playdom,” said Tim Chang, who led Norwest Venture Partners’ investment in the company. Chang said of Pleasants that there was “nobody better suited to lead a large or small organization in this rapidly changing global market of social gaming.”
In July, Disney Interactive added social gaming to its portfolio with the acquisition of Playdom, which creates games that run on Facebook and other networks. It was one of several recent developments in the division. During the summer it also acquired Tapulous, a developer that specializes in mobile games and applications, and it unveiled World of Cars Online, the latest in a growing number of virtual worlds.
But the group, under Wadsworth, posted losses. In Disney’s most recent quarter, the Interactive Media division had an operating loss of $65 million on revenue of $197 million.
“We believe fully in the space, obviously, given our investments,” Chief Executive Bob Iger said in July in a conference call with analysts. “And we believe that overall games will be profitable for us and particularly social games will be profitable, and we’re not giving you a timeline as to when we’ll achieve that.”
John G. Taylor, a game industry analyst with Arcadia Investment Corp., said Disney began ramping up its investment in packaged games just as the industry was undergoing a titanic shift from selling goods on shelves to delivering experiences online and on portable devices such as Apple Inc.’s iPod Touch.
“The kids market really changed,” Taylor said. “The problems that [game publisher] THQ has been having for the last couple of years in finding large audiences for kids’ properties started to plague Disney as well.”
Disney Interactive had a 1.7% share of the money spent on video games in 2009 in the U.S., according to research firm NPD Group.
Disney’s game group’s expansion into online started with its 2007 acquisition of Club Penguin for $350 million. But investors have grown impatient with Disney’s continued investment in new-media initiatives that have yet to translate to the bottom line.
“The Playdom acquisition brought it into sharp focus, given what they spent on it,” said Doug Creutz, media analyst with Cowen & Co. “You’re spending a lot of money that you’re telling us is going to pay off down the line. But this interact unit continues to show losses.”
Iger issued a statement Friday morning, crediting Wadsworth with transforming Disney’s digital business.
“I’ve been fortunate to work with Steve for many years and am thankful for his dedication and countless contributions to our company,” Iger said. “He leaves with only our best wishes for continued success in whatever challenge he takes on next.”
Wadsworth will remain on the job until a successor is named.（source:latimes)