E308: Catching up with Disney Online

Dan O'Halloran
D. O'Halloran|07.17.08

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E308: Catching up with Disney Online

Despite the craziness that is E3, Massively got a chance to talk to Mike Goslin, VP at Disney Online. We spoke to him about Pirates of the Caribbean Online's future, the launch of World of Cars (a virtual world based on Pixar's "Cars") and their plans for consoles as well as Asian markets. Read on for his answers with more after the jump.

What's next for 'Pirates of the Caribbean Online'?

Goslin: We have a lot of really great content in the pipeline for Pirates. One of the big upcoming expansions is Privateering, which allows players to engage in epic sea battles against each other. Players choose a side, either French or Spanish, assemble a crew, and blast away. As part of Privateering we introduced some new islands where pirate lords challenge players with special quests to prove their worth and earn some cool new rewards.

What is the timeline for closed beta on the 'Cars Online' title?

Goslin: The World of Cars virtual world will roll out in 2009. We have not yet announced any specific dates for beta, but we will make sure to let you know when those are confirmed!

Any plans to develop an MMO as a console title?

Goslin: There are currently no plans in the works, but the Disney Interactive Media group will be exploring opportunities on connected consoles for future titles. We're a content company so we ideally want to be wherever our audience is regardless of platforms or technologies.

What new social tools and mobile platforms are you exploring next for your titles?

Goslin: We are really excited about some of the recent developments in social networks and it is inspiring us to try some new things in game-play design for our titles. We also recently announced a plan to link the Pirates MMOG directly with play on the mobile phone. We'll release more details about this soon.

What plans do you have for the expanding Asian MMO market?

Goslin: We aren't ready to discuss in detail but we do hope to roll out some of our existing MMOs globally.

How has the recent merger of all the Disney Interactive studios under one umbrella affected your development and launch schedules?

Goslin: At this point, there is no effect. Both teams remain focused on their respective day-to-day business responsibilities so that we can keep the momentum that Disney Interactive Studios and the Walt Disney Internet Group have built over the past few years. We will be working on integration over the next few months, but we do not foresee at this point any impact on our current product development and launch schedules as a result of the merger, especially as it relates to our virtual worlds offerings.

Are you seeing enough success with PotCO's limited free to play model to pursue that payment model with an upcoming title?

Goslin: Yes, in fact we recently modified our Toontown business model to a similar free to play approach. The plan currently is to extend this to future titles and to continue to refine existing models, while testing new methods as well. We do like the free to play model quite a bit as it allows us to attract a much larger audience which makes our worlds more active and fun to play in.%Gallery-14957%
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