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New Disney Online Team

Disney Online, part of the Walt Disney Internet Group, announced Tuesday the creation of a new team that will focus on building, operating and publishing an expansive line-up of games, virtual worlds and online social communities: Disney Online Studios.

Steve Parkis, a Disney Online veteran, has been promoted to senior vice president and will lead the newly-formed group.

He will report to Paul Yanover, executive vice president and managing director for Disney Online.

The formation of Disney Online Studios combines the talents of Disney Online's pioneering Internet teams in order to speed up development of new online entertainment.

Among the groups joining the team are the creators of the award-winning XD (, a highly interactive broadband destination that combines games, video and community elements.

The newly formed group will also include Disney Online's Virtual Reality Studio, a group that started in Disney's Imagineering division before moving online to create ground-breaking virtual worlds including Disney's Toontown Online ( and recently-launched Pirates of the Caribbean Online (

In addition to the existing resources, there will also be a significant expansion of the development, community, operations and publishing teams to more fully address growing opportunities in the online games and community space

In addition to expanding and growing Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online, Pirates of the Caribbean Online and Toontown, Disney Online Studios has previously announced development on virtual worlds built around the Disney Fairies franchise, which will be launched later this year, and the animated film CARS.

Disney's portfolio of Virtual Worlds also includes Club Penguin, which was acquired in August 2007.