This week Disney rolled out its new YouTube network, the Disney Digital Network, with an eye towards presenting a more unified front on the platform.
Game devs should note that the DDN includes Maker Studios, which includes a lot of high-profile video game YouTubers. Maker was bought by Disney in 2014 for nearly $1 billion, then allowed to operate relatively independent of the Disney brand -- until now.
Of course, a few months back Disney took public notice of (and subsequently cut ties with) Maker superstar Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg for publishing videos containing anti-Semitic messages. Shortly thereafter Disney reportedly laid off 80+ people in an effort to pare back Maker Studios and focus on working with high-value, "family friendly" YouTubers.
Disney exec Andrew Sugerman (who now has oversight of Maiker) recently told Variety that Maker YouTubers will be "curated" to ensure they're a good fit for the Disney brand.
"We’re going to infuse Maker into the Disney pieces, and Disney will be infused more into Maker," he said. "We are definitely looking to identify the influencers and creators who have the greatest appeal to [Disney’s target Gen Z and millennial] audience."
Going forward, Maker Studios is expected to operate as Polaris from Maker, one of the six brands within the Disney Digital Network and the only one explicitly focused on video games.