Disney Buys South Korean Game Developer Studio Ex for Push Into Asia

Disney is acquiring South Korean game developer Studio Ex to push aggressively into the Asian market with free-to-play multiplayer games.

Disney confirmed the acquisition, but would not disclose terms. However, Studio Ex has yet to officially launch any games, so this is pretty much a grab for the talent, which includes David Moon, the former director of game services at NHN, one of the largest gaming destinations in Asia.

“The Walt Disney Company has acquired Studio Ex, a games development studio in Korea that focuses on multiplayer, free-to-play online and mobile games,” Disney said, in a statement. “Through a stock purchase agreement, Studio Ex is now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company reporting into Disney Interactive.”

The game studio will focus on developing free-to-play games for the Asian market based on new brands or existing Disney properties. The games will be developed for both online and mobile.

Prior to the acquisition, Disney announced a partnership with Korean firm Smilegate to develop a game based on Marvel’s iconic heroes, also targeting the Asian market. It also formed a  partnership with Korean game developer Zipi Studio, which, along with other partners, will launch Zipi Racing, a massively multiplayer online racing game featuring characters from “Toy Story” and “Cars.”

Much of Disney’s entrance into gaming has been through acquisitions. Over the past few years, it has purchased Club Penguin, the online multiplayer game aimed at children; Playdom, which is focused on making social games for Facebook; and Tapulous, the mobile game maker.


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