SAN DIEGO -- Walt Disney Co. is looking to expand its video game business with some help from an old strategy that did the same for its film and TV divisions.
Last week, Disney Interactive Studios drafted the Touchstone label for the release of "Turok," which is based on the Classic Media comic-book license.
Gamers accustomed to brand extensions of Disney's roster of kid-friendly franchises will see something quite different this time out: "Turok" is a hardcore gamer's game, filled with plenty of guns, knives, battles and, yes, beautifully rendered blood that warrants its mature rating.
Well aware that it's unlikely to appeal to its usual target audience, Disney Interactive decided to bring it out on the Touchstone label as a way of separating "Turok" from the family-friendly fare the studio has made a specialty.
It's a move the parent company used successfully in film and TV with Touchstone Pictures and Touchstone Television. While Touchstone TV was rebranded last year as ABC Studios, the studio still uses Touchstone Pictures on occasion for more mature releases, although it currently emphasizes the Disney brand label for its movies.
Using Touchstone for "Turok" is also a sign Disney realizes that diversifying its video-game strategy is necessary for fueling continued growth in the sector.
"Touchstone has always been a bit of a stepchild at Disney because it doesn't always focus on family values," noted Michael Goodman, an analyst with Yankee Group. "But it's always had some interesting properties there that appeal to a different portion of the market, so there is potential there when is comes to games."
Disney Interactive wouldn't comment directly on the Touchstone strategy, but a spokeswoman for the company explained that the division has flexibility with its label branding.
"We have the option of publishing under three consumer-facing brands: Disney, Touchstone and ABC," she said. "While each brand has its own attributes, one studio is not beholden to a specific brand."