A strange bit of news wandered into focus today as, on a certain level, Mario and Mickey now appear to be partners in entertainment, as Disney kicked off a sponsorship initiative geared toward helping Nintendo with the promotion of its upcoming Wii U launch November 18.
The promotion calls for interstitial messages featuring the casts of Disney Channel's "Jessie" and Disney XD's show "Kickin' It", competing against each other in a series of match-ups involving Wii U titles. Naturally, there will also be a giveaway portion dubbed the "How U Will Play Next Sweepstakes" in which users can get not only a chance to play some trivia games but also get a chance to play with Debby Ryan
and Leo Howard
Disney has done this sort of thing before, using Selena Gomez
in promotions with the Xbox Kinect. Indeed, Disney and gaming have historically gone together well, between outright franchise title releases like the upcoming Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and the use of Disney figures in promotional efforts, not to mention Disney's recent LucasArts purchase which provides access to a wide array of classic titles and characters. Considering how close together Disney and most video games' target markets are in terms of demographic it makes quite a bit of sense. Sure, there are older gamers out there, and plenty of them, but there are a whole lot of younger gamers out there for whom the Disney Channel is like a second home. Disney also has presences in a variety of media subclasses--television is a big one, of course, but there's also digital ventures and radio to consider.
Plus there's an issue of timing; Disney hawking Wii U just ahead of the holiday season? That sounds like a pretty good recipe for product launch success from here, especially since Nintendo's likely to have holiday shoppers all to themselves in the near future. Down economy or no, Nintendo's likely to have a very good quarter coming up, thanks to a little of that old Disney magic.