Can Disney's Playdom stay in the ring with Zynga and EA's Playfish?

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Can Playdom still play Rock'Em Sock'Em?
Surprisingly, Playdom has had quite the rough time since it was bought out by Disney last summer for a huge $563 million. And according to the Los Angeles Times, financial and media analysts foresee the developer facing a steep uphill battle to play again in the big leagues. Playdom's monthly player base dropped from its 40 million peak to just 25 million today since the Mickey Mouse money machine took over, according to AppData. That was thanks to a five-month drought of new games in 2010 as the company evaluated quality and boosted technical capacity. Now, after Disney Interactive posted over $915 million in losses over the past four years, analysts are voicing concerns.

In fact, analysts don't expect Disney's game division to show profits until 2013, according to the LA Times. In the insanely rapid world of social games, in which Zynga sits at the top with EA and its Playfish at a distant second, that does not bode well. Regardless, Disney CEO Robert Iger remains optimistic.

"The opportunity for growth on the social games side - at least at this point of our entry - is probably greater than it had been when we entered the space on the console side," Iger told the LA Times. However, when Zynga has a stranglehold on nearly 250 million social gamers, is there truly room to grow? EA, one of the most massive game veterans in the world, can't even come close to the new kid on the block's numbers with just 33 million players total.

Gardens of Time
Though Playdom has arguably struck gold with Gardens of Time (pictured), an impressive hidden-object game that sits with the top 20 Facebook games, thanks to over 10 million monthly players and 2.4 million daily fans. Unfortunately, for Disney and Playdom to get out of this financial rut, they'll have to rise to investor expectations rather quickly.

In July, Facebook will begin to take a 30 percent cut of all virtual goods transactions made through games on the network, which will hurt even the mightiest of social game companies let alone the fifth place developer. Media analyst Doug Creutz told the LA Times that "Disney has a lot of work to do" if it wants to make up for its losses. But with July just over a month away, Disney might need Tinkerbell's help to make this comeback a reality. Or, the company could start making Facebook games using its immense properties already--was that not the point of this purchase in the first place?

[Image Credit: The Mudflats]

How do you think Disney and Playdom come rise from this decline? Is it even possible under the shadow of Zynga? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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