Disney Studio All Access Finally Launching This Month? (Introducing Disney Everywhere’s Movie Cloud)
Now that Disney (NYSE:DIS) has finally gotten its ‘TV Everywhere’ initiative off the ground, as we first reported earlier this month — with even more networks such as ABC Family on the way, along with cable providers beyond Comcast — the focus now shifts to Disney’s extensive film collection.
An announcement made last week on Disney Movies Online has raised some eyebrows, causing some to ponder if DSAA/Keychest’s time has finally arrived. Certainly the changes coming to DMO on June 27 are worth the contemplation: accounts for those under 13 not permitted; accounts only for United States users; and a slew of films that won’t be available for viewing online for the foreseeable future.
More curiously, however, and perhaps more to the point, are the following domain names very recently registered by the company: DISNEYANYWHERE.COM, DISNEYEVERYWHERE.COM, DISNEYMOVIECLOUD.COM, DISNEYMOVIESANYWHERE.COM, DISNEYMOVIESEVERYWHERE.COM.
While it’s possible Disney Studio All Access may finally reveal itself to the world this summer (see our sneak peek for more details), what we’re more likely to see is an interim phase in which Disney Movies Online simply goes mobile on Apple iOS and Android devices.
As far as DSAA is concerned, Disney has officially been maintaining a ‘wait and see’ attitude, monitoring the successes and failures of UltraViolet, the only competing service. UltraViolet has managed to rack up more than 3 million accounts since its debut, most of which as a result of a push campaign by Walmart this year, but continues to confuse and disappoint its customer base.
You may not be able to watch and play Flash content on your Apple iPhone and iPad devices, but thanks to an innovative app from Disney, you can now use your iDevice to control one. The free app, titled Brave Utility, allows players to use the amenities of their Apple iOS device to play a game on Disney’s website that runs on a desktop browser, effectively replacing the mouse.
The game, titled Disney/Pixar’s Brave Ultimate Target Challenge allows the player to virtually shoot arrows at targets, racking up as many points as possible within the allotted time period. The player first chooses their character from the film, each with their own respective stats, then takes the field, selecting one of several different types of arrows to shoot at the targets. Each type of arrow has its own properties and the number of each type of arrow is in limited supply.
While the game can use the mouse to aim and shoot the arrows (and quite well at that), Brave Utility allows players to use the accelerometer to aim and swipe to choose arrows and subsequently shoot them.
An ingenious idea and noble effort to be sure, but certainly not without its challenges. When launching the app (which is designed for iPhone, but works just as well at x2 on the iPad), the player is prompted to enter a code that’s provided by the web game. Unfortunately it took me embarassingly too long to realize that the reason why I could not see a code was because the web app uses ports 843 and 9700 and they were being blocked by my computer’s firewall. Once I temporarily disabled the firewall, however, the app worked as expected. At least up until that point.
The app, using a WiFi connection, seemed amazingly in sync with the Flash game on my PC, but as soon as I would go to fire an arrow, the app would go automatically into pause mode with no way to escape out of it. Unfortunately there was nothing to do until the round ended, leaving me with 0 points. After several attempts, however, I was able to actually play the game using the iPad, only to find the aiming via accelerometer slow and clumsy at best.
The few reviews that have been posted for the app on iTunes seem to have had more successes with it than I, so it’s probably worth trying out and surely your mileage may vary.
For more information on Brave Utility, visit the App Store.
The Disney/Pixar Brave edition of Temple Run from Imangi Studios and Disney Mobile is now available for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices, ahead of the official June 14 release date. The app is priced at $.99 but includes 2500 ‘free’ coins (coincidentally, a $.99 value).
The Brave edition shares many qualities of the original game that inspired it as you assume the role of Merida, running through the forest and being chased by Mor’du, the demon bear. While all of the same goals and bonuses are available as the original, the game also adds the ability to partake in archery challenges in which Merida takes aim at targets as she runs, simply by tapping on them.
Like the original, there is a store which allows you to activate and increase special bonuses as well as supporting in-app purchases so you can pad your coin stash. A note of caution though: while it may be tempting to add to the virtual bank to unlock the three wallpapers, they are the same as previously released graphics which you can find online for free. Still, providing Merida an in-game change of clothing would be certainly tempting to any fan and understandably so.
For more information or to purchase Temple Run: Brave, click here.
In an industry first, Disney introduced today Disney AppMATes™ Mobile Application Toys, a new toy line that comes to life digitally when used with an Apple iPad by allowing kids to use the tablet’s screen as a virtual play mat. Developed in collaboration between Disney Consumer Products (DCP) and Disney Mobile and featuring patent-pending technology, the Appmates toy line features miniature Disney·Pixar Cars 2 vehicles with sensors on the base of each toy that are recognized as a unique footprint by an app with no cable or Bluetooth connection required. Simply download the free Cars 2 Appmates app from the iTunes app store, place your favorite Appmates toy character on the screen and play.
“We have cracked the technology code in changing the way kids play with their toys,” said Sunny Lauridsen, director of digital toys for DCP. “Kids will always use toys to play out their favorite Disney stories, but Disney Appmates now allows them to include technology which has become a way of life for them through a beautifully rich app.”
The magic begins when kids place their vehicle on the iPad and begin to explore the world of Cars. Available for download in early to mid-October Cars 2 Appmates app is a free app created by Disney exclusively for use with Appmates toys. By guiding the Appmates vehicle on the screen, the iPad becomes a virtual play mat where kids can experience the world of Radiator Springs.
“We believe iPad is becoming a critical canvas for the next generation of storytelling, and with Appmates we’re bringing Disney characters to life in a way never previously imagined,” said Bart Decrem, general manager of Disney Mobile.
Cars 2 Appmates features include:
- Exploration — Drive around the world of Radiator Springs to discover landscapes and hidden secrets by simply placing the Cars toy character on the screen and turning it in any direction. Drive through mud and up ramps, visit friends at Flo’s V8 Café or check out your Car’s reflection, showing off your latest gear and gadgets.
- Directed Game Play — Perform missions unique to each character. Completed missions — like helping bring a tow hook back to Mater — gain hubcaps, the virtual currency. Collect enough hubcaps to personalize each car with special features like a unique horn sound, customized tire tracks, and cool gear like a rocket launcher or spy vision goggles.
- Racing — Rev up the action by racing against World Grand Prix opponents and your Radiator Springs friends. Five racetracks are available at launch. Race around Willy’s Butte, jump off Carburetor Mesa and roar through downtown Radiator Springs earning hubcaps in day or night races.
Each toy unlocks different features and content within the app specific to the character, allowing kids to come back over and over to enjoy an imaginative, open-ended play experience using the Appmates toys. Fans can download and test the app by simply using their fingers to drive a virtual car through the world, but the play experience is optimized to come to life with the Appmates toy vehicles.
Created in collaboration with Spin Master, Disney Appmates toys launch Oct. 1 at national retailers, Apple Store, Apple Store online, Disney Store and DisneyStore.com with vehicle two-packs (SRP $19.99) featuring four characters including Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, Finn McMissile, and Holley Shiftwell. Two additional characters — Francesco Bernoulli and Shu Todoroki — will launch in November and be available exclusively through Apple Store and Apple Store online.
With dominant market share, the Apple iPad has become the leading tablet and a shared family device. Just in time for the holiday season, DCP will also introduce an expanded line of ‘appcessory’ products to engage and inspire creativity with kids using the iPad. Products include a durable and protective iPad case featuring a Disney·Pixar Cars design (SRP $49.99); Disney Pix Camera that allows kids to take their own pictures and connect them back to the iPad to personalize photos and create albums (SRP $79.99); and Disney Spotlight mic that gives kids a fun way to sing along — karaoke style — with their favorite Disney music (SRP $59.99 wired mic, $99.99 wireless)
The iconic PC classic game of logic is back, this time exclusively for the iPad. At E3, Disney Mobile announced it’s bringing ‘The Incredible Machine’ to the iPad this month. Originally released for the PC in 1993 and named one of the Top 150 games by Computer Gaming World magazine, ‘The Incredible Machine’ challenges players to solve puzzles by building comically-engineered contraptions to accomplish simple objectives. With straightforward touch controls, Retina Display graphics, original music, and great sound effects, ‘The Incredible Machine’ inspires the imagination with mind-bending invention, physics and hours of fun.
- INCREDIBLE FUN: Developed by the original designer of the PC game, ‘The Incredible Machine’ features 60 puzzling levels to test your skills.Packs include Newton’s Playground, Pipeworks, The Cast and more, with new puzzles that will be available to download shortly after launch!
- INCREDIBLE ITEMS: Pipes, balls, belts, ropes, rockets, lasers and more —more than 90 creative items to build with!
- INCREDIBLE COMPETITION: Connect to Game Center and compete with your friends and other players for the most stars earned.
Below are a few screenshots from ‘The Incredible Machine’ provided to us by Disney Mobile
‘The Incredible Machine’ retails for $2.99 and is now available on iTunes.
ABC News today launched the ABC Video Bookstore App for iPad, available free on the App Store. The free app will turn the page on a new generation of storytelling, creating an interactive experience for users that enables them to delve deeper into the most compelling stories of our time.
The ABC Video Bookstore debuts with two titles, A MODERN FAIRY TALE: William, Kate and Three Generations of Royal Love by Jane Green and THE AMANDA KNOX STORY: A Murder in Perugia by ABC News. Both will be available for $7.99 through the app and wherever eBooks are sold, or as a $5.99 text and photo-based version for e-readers that don’t support video. Additional titles will be released throughout the year.
Each title in the ABC Video Bookstore App will draw on ABC News’ vast video archive and digital expertise to create an entirely new user experience, with stories updated in-depth as they continue to develop and interactive maps and timelines. Sister-company Hyperion will engage its distinguished list of best-selling authors to help create this new generation of stories. The eBook market has grown dramatically in the last year, with publishers expecting digital sales to jump 50% or more in 2011.
“The ABC Video Bookstore App enables ABC News to extend storytelling and our content in a whole new way,” said ABC News President Ben Sherwood. “Working with our colleagues at Hyperion, we are uniquely positioned to give readers access to history in a vibrant eBook form – from political campaigns and human drama to the triumphs and tragedies that grip the world.”
“With the combined resources of Disney/ABC Television properties, we are able to create innovative and entertaining eBooks that combines vivid writing and exciting video in a compelling package for consumers. Rare video and photography bring extraordinary dimension to the words on each page. This venture with ABC News is a tremendous opportunity to take the most valuable assets at our company to build a product that truly offers a new way to experience historic events like the Royal Wedding,” said Ellen Archer, President and Publisher of Hyperion.
The titles in the ABC Video Bookstore are being powered by the technology and functionality of Vook, a leading publisher of enhanced eBooks. Vook has been on the cutting edge of efforts to mesh text, video and interactivity to create a unique user experience.
Available just prior to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, A MODERN FAIRY TALE: William, Kate, and Three Generations of Royal Love is enhanced with 20 top-quality videos and 50 photographs of the young couple and from past Royal Weddings from the ABC News Archives and an original video foreword by Barbara Walters. In addition, it will be updated with moments from Prince William’s and Kate’s wedding day. The text and archival video and photography work together to create a unique 360-degree storytelling experience.
THE AMANDA KNOX STORY: A Murder in Perugia takes readers inside the fascinating case of an American student accused of killing her roommate in Italy. The video book is packed with rarely seen video, photos and documents, including Amanda’s hand-written prison diary, and a video foreword from Elizabeth Vargas. The Amanda Knox case is currently on appeal, and this eBook will be updated with new information as the case moves forward.
The launch of enhanced eBooks is the latest example of innovation from the Disney/ABC Television Group. DATG was the first to bring full episode video to the iTunes store. Last April, in conjunction with the debut of Apple’s iPad, DATG delivered ad-supported video to iPad via the acclaimed ABC Player App. The app has proven to be a tremendous success, with over 1.9 million downloads and more than 26 million episodes. Last year DATG created an ABC News App for iPad that has been downloaded more than 840,000 times to date. In the first two months of 2011, DATG continues to bring new innovative offerings to consumers with the launch of the Grey’s Anatomy Media Sync App for iPad, and most recently the critically-acclaimed Oscar Backstage Pass App, which offered a “second-screen” companion viewing experience for fans while they watched the 83rd Academy Awards on ABC.
ESPN announced today its flagship network ESPN as well as ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com are now available to Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS TV subscribers via the new ‘WatchESPN’ App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, now available on the App Store.
In time for the early rounds of the Masters, the NBA Playoffs and the beginning of the Major League Baseball season, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS TV subscribers who receive the linear networks as part of their video subscription can now watch the channels from the convenience of their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.
“Innovation continues to drive ESPN,” said George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports. “When we launched in 1979, nobody envisioned a day when people would carry ESPN in their pockets. But here we are. And we’ve reached this watershed moment for the industry through tremendous collaboration with forward-thinking partners.”
The free WatchESPN App includes a simple user interface that takes the current online viewing experience to the high-resolution, Multi-Touch displays of iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Once a user downloads WatchESPN from the App Store, they will receive instructions to enter their cable subscriber credentials and access their favorite ESPN content on their device. A version of the application optimized for the Apple iPad will be available free to download in May.
Added Sean Bratches, executive vice president, sales and marketing for ESPN, “This represents the culmination of our efforts over the last five years. We strive to serve the sports fan wherever they consume sports, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than making our networks available to fans whenever and wherever they might be.”
The company first launched an online-accessible authenticated version of ESPN in October, 2010. Authenticated versions of ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line launched in January, 2011. Consumers can access the channels through a centralized website, ESPNnetworks.com.
The WatchESPN App is available for free from the iTunes App Store.
The App will be available on other smartphones and tablets in the near future.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has provided us with these first look demo screens of the Second Screen technology for the Blu-ray/DVD release of TRON: Legacy, available to own on April 5, 2011. The technology, recently debuted alongside Bambi,allows viewers to use their iPad or computer to experience additional and relevant information, videos, photos, concept art and more synchronized with the film itself.
In addition, TRON: Legacy director Joe Kosinksi and TRON director and creator Steven Lisberger will be appearing at the Best Buy in West Hollywood, California to sign copies of the films on Disney Blu-ray and DVD. The event begins at 7:30 pm PT.
TRON: Legacy is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), a rebellious 27-year-old, is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin Flynn (Oscar®- and Golden Globe®-winner Jeff Bridges), a man once known as the world’s leading video-game developer. When Sam investigates a strange signal sent from the old Flynn’s Arcade—a signal that could only come from his father—he finds himself pulled into a digital world where Kevin has been trapped for 20 years. With the help of the fearless warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe—a universe created by Kevin himself that has become far more advanced with never-before-imagined vehicles, weapons, landscapes and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to prevent their escape.
Disney Publishing Worldwide has released the ‘Epic Mickey’ universal iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch app to support the release of the upcoming game. The free app includes the first of six DigiComics with the rest offered as an in-app purchase bundle for $2.99. The official description is as follows:
Welcome to Wasteland! Visit directly on your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad the world where long-forgotten Disney icons of animation can find new life inspired by the Disney Epic Mickey videogame.
Select one of the six Disney Epic Mickey – Tales of Wasteland Digicomics and discover Disney Epic Mickey’s world in a prequel to the videogame storyline. Read it on autoplay or tap into the panels to move throughout the page. Downloading the Disney Epic Mickey app, costumers will in plus have the chance to take a look at the map of Wasteland, the trailer of the videogame and the character files.
~ Includes the 6 Disney Epic Mickey – Tales of Wasteland digicomics: 1 digicomics for free and 5 digicomics bundle for just 2.99$
~ Read your digicomics, bookmark them and share them with your friends
~ Discover the characters section and read about Disney Epic Mickey’s main icons
~ Offers also the map of Wasteland, the character files and the videogame trailer
~ To be updated with additional amazing contents
TRON, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Muppets and Epic Mickey were the topics of discussion today during the Disney Publishing Worldwide panel at the 5th annual New York Comic-Con which kicked off today in New York City.
Briefly touching upon TRON, preview pages of the prequel graphic novel TRON: Betrayal and The Art of TRON: Legacy were shared. Since the titles themselves as well as many of the other TRON: Legacy titles (mostly geared towards tweens) were made available to browse through at the Disney Publishing Worldwide booth, there wasn’t much more needing to be mentioned on the topic.
More juicy news could be found in the discussion regarding Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Chanties. With a cover by Eric Powell of The Goon and the writing talents including those such as Bryan Q. Miller and Rob Kidd (author of the Young Jack Sparrow series), the described graphic novel anthology will consist of one main story and six short stories. Currently slated to be released on April 19, 2011, the graphic novel will serve as a prequel to not only Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but will include stories going back as far as pre-dating the first film. Although it’s still early in development, stories are said to include dueling Jacks (Sparrow and the monkey that is), Barbossa and the skeleton curse. In preparation for the movie, Blackbeard and other yet-known characters will also be included in the stories.
Next on the docket was the multi-platform integration of books and the digital world. Going forward, it’s reasonable to expect that at least all of Disney’s original graphic novel properties will include some digital aspect. The first one talked about, whose introduction arrived in the way of a sample video, was the Muppets motion comic, debuting this fall. Based on Roger Langridge’s Meet the Muppets for BOOM! Studios, the Muppets motion comic will be made available on the Apple iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, Microsoft Xbox Live, Amazon Video Store, Sony PSN and DVD. The sample video included a Muppet News Flash with the Newsman, a commentary by Statler and Waldorf and a brief appearance by Kermit the Frog.
Epic Mickey was the property on which most time was spent and it was here that it was first announced that there would be an Epic Mickey app for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, which is expected to be released next week. Although it was previously announced that Peter David would be creating a 64 page graphic novel prequel for Epic Mickey as well as a digicomics version, the panel spent a great deal of time explaining the details in how the comics will be deployed. The app will be free and will contain some basic content such as the game’s trailer, character bios and the first of the six stories in the Tales from the Wasteland, presumably ‘Clocktower Cleaners.’ The remaining five stories can be purchased in-app as a bundle for $2.99. On November 30, with the game launch, the app will be updated to make way for additional items such as the graphic novel itself (in-app purchase for $3.99), motion comics (first free, remaining five for $1.99 each or bundled for $8.99).
Also mentioned and re-confirmed (as Amazon.com had once listed it) is that there will be an Epic Mickey: It’s Your Call book which is Disney’s answer to the Choose Your Own Adventure type books of yore. Don’t expect to see it anytime soon though, I was told it won’t be released until summer 2011. Also coming in summer, although I don’t believe it was mentioned at the panel, but was told to me later, is The Art of Epic Mickey which will be done in the same vein as the existing ‘Art of’ titles.
Lastly, but by no means least, was the re-announcement that Disney Publishing has teamed up with Fantagraphics to produce a series of the ‘definitive’ collection of Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse comic strips. Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: Race to Death Valley is the first title which is set to be released on May 18, 2011. In an effort to maintain the integrity of the original comics, the teams have gone to the Walt Disney Studio Archives and are ‘restoring’ the artwork to ensure that the integrity of the original colors and vision of the comics is maintained.
At the Disney Interactive Booth on the New York Comic-Con floor, both TRON: Evolution and Epic Mickey were offered as playable demos. I had the opportunity to play some of the Gremlin Village Ticket Booth level of Epic Mickey, which bears a remarkable resemblance to the Disneyland model’s Fantasyland. Not too much to report on that, other than it is pretty fun and forgiving to play and I learned that in the full game, there’s a full ride inside ‘it’s a small world’ available. Unfortunately in the demo mode, playing inside the attraction just ended the demo, so I’ll have to wait until November 30 for that one. I also received confirmation from a developer of the game that something mentioned during the Disney Publishing Worldwide panel was true. According to them, the endgame cinematic is very emotional and — if I heard things correctly — it’s even said to make Warren Spector shed a tear.
Make sure to read our coverage of the NYCC Epic Mickey panel here.