It often seems as though Disney releases a new Web-based or mobile-app game every week or more.
After all, every time a new Disney movie hits the big screen, the movie’s official website usually has a promotional tie-in game of some kind, even if it is just a simplified mouse and target game on a website or puzzle games for the younger Disney fans. Then there are mobile game apps that play off film titles, too, such as the recent summer releases of games associated with “Thor” and “Captain America.”
And even Disney’s smaller-screen productions usually tout a game, as well, such as Disney Channel shows “A.N.T. Farm” and the new Debby Ryan comedy show “Jessie.”
With so many games, it’s often hard not to meet them with more than a cynical yawn sometimes. (A” Spooky Buddies” scavenger hunt game, huh? Oh, joy.)
Yet one of Disney’s latest iOS game offerings is a little different in its creation and, perhaps, in its goal for the House of Mouse. The new game “Where’s My Water?” isn’t a promotional device being released by Disney, and the game’s main character is a newly created one that has no Disney back story from film, TV or otherwise.
The “Where’s My Water?” game was created as an iPhone and iPad-optimized game. Featuring the newly created character of Swampy the alligator, the game’s goal is to have players send water through a big city’s underground waterworks in order to fill Swampy’s bathtub and have him avoid his enemies, who are trying to keep him from staying clean.
Cute? Yes, of course. And, judging from initial user reaction, the game is fun and popular, too. It already has been featured as an Apple game of the week, according to gaming site AppAdvice.com.
Aside from its popularity, though, the game is noteworthy in how it came to be created. According to a recent Associated Press report about the game, Disney officials admitted that the title was a deliberate attempt to move from money-draining console gaming releases, such as ones created for Xbox 360 and PlayStation3, and a fresh dive into mobile gaming, where the creation costs are much lower.
Plus, according to the report, Disney also saw a new game title designed solely for iOS use as a way to reach out to younger gamers who, according to various analyses, see iOS platforms as more affordable, accessible and often more popular than console gaming and, accordingly, more central to their lives. Hence, Disney is reaching new customers with whom it can grow a gaming relationship, and it’s doing so at reduced costs.
Bart Decrem, general manager of Disney Mobile, told The Associated Press that “it's really critical for the success of the company that we be there and telling stories and introducing characters to a new generation of kids."
Disney’s interactive unit even goes as far as to think that a new iOS-centric focus on games can possibly lead to profitability in several years. That optimistic outlook comes as Disney has lost millions on console gaming recently. Its interactive unit lost $86 million in the last quarter and has lost money in every quarter since at least 2008, according to the AP.
So, with Disney’s new focus on iOS gaming, it appears that we might see more similar efforts in the future. Given, of course, if Swampy can fill his bathtub with water and Disney can fill its balance sheets with black numbers, not red.
The game sells for 99 cents and is available in the Apple Game Center.
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun