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RealTime IT News

T&E Soft, Disney Ally for Online Gaming

[Nagoya, Japan] Nagoya-based game software maker T&E Soft Inc. will join with two Walt Disney Co. affiliates to develop and market Disney-branded online games.

T&E Soft will work with Disney Interactive Inc. and Walt Disney Internet Group to create family-oriented, multi-platform online games and educational software featuring popular Disney characters.

T&E Soft will license the use of Disney characters for online software in Japan and Asia, including an interactive site (tentatively called Disney Game World) that will be targeted at children ages 3 to 10.

The company reportedly plans to charge online game subscribers a monthly fee of 500 to 1,000 yen (US$4.20 to 8.40), and is targeting Asia-wide sales of 100 billion yen (US$845 million) within five years.

Although no detailed plans have been announced, it is expected that T&E Soft will develop online games playable on PlayStation 2 and XBox systems as well as personal computers.

To launch the tie-up, on February 2, T&E Soft will issue 7.5 billion yen (US$63.5 million) in convertible bonds.

Disney affiliate DI Holdings will purchase 5.5 billion yen (US$46.6 million) of the bonds, equivalent to a 37.6 percent stake in T&E Soft.

Japanese online game site developer Square Co., which will assistance the venture in setting up the necessary infrastructure, will buy 1 billion yen (US$8.4 million) of the bonds.

Masafumi Miyamoto, top shareholder of both T&E Soft and Square, will purchase the remaining 1 billion yen of bonds.

Disney Interactive president Jan Smith said that through this capital alliance, T&E Soft "will transition into a Disney entertainment developer and publisher for all major platforms and for a broad pan-Asia market."

Disney reportedly has obtained the right to purchase up to 50.1 percent of T&E Soft within five years.

T&E Soft said it will launch its Disney games and services in early 2002.

The company initially will market the products in China, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan as well as in Japan.