Today, The Walt Disney Company has announced that it has agreed to acquire Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in stock and cash. Yes, Marvel, the comic book folks. That Marvel.
The deal means that Disney is now the proud owner of Marvel's 5,000 some-odd characters. Wolverine, Spider-Man, The Punisher... maybe even Fat Momma.
"This is an unparalleled opportuinty for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney's tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world," said Marvel's CEO, Ike Perlmutter, in a press release today.
Tremendous indeed, including its own videogame publishing arm, Disney Interactive Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. How this will affect in the long run current Marvel game licenses, which are spread all over the industry from Activision to THQ to Sega, remains to be seen.
But we have wonder: How long will it be before Spider-Man appears in a Kindgom Hearts game?
[Update: In a conference call with investors discussing the detail today, Disney's senior vice president of investor relations, Lowell Singer, directly addressed the videogame issue. He mentioned Marvel's "smart licensing agreements with some of the best videogame manufacturers in the business" before adding that they're not rulling out "the blend of licensing and self-produced and distributed videogames."
"As these licensing deals expire, we have the luxury of considering what's best for the company and the products," he mentioned, referring to the previously mentioned deals with THQ, Activision, and Sega, as well as Gazillion, many of which won't expire until nearly 2020. If changes are coming, it's likely we won't see them for quite some time.]